Monday, March 31, 2014

Catching Up

It's been a few months since I posted here.  I've been keeping very busy and there hasn't been a lot of time to go birding.  But here are a few things I've seen over the last three months.

Harris's Sparrow
This Harris's Sparrow has been hanging around a city park here in Tucson since December, a great bird for Pima County.  It was my tenth lifer of 2013, a nice way to end a slow birding year.  I need to go back and try for some updated photos.

In January I made a trip out to Redington Pass between the Catalina and Rincon Mountains in search of Sage Thrasher and Juniper Titmouse.  I missed seeing the titmouse, but picked up a couple of rare county birds.

Sage Thrasher

Townsend's Solitaire
There were plenty of my favorite sparrows and lots of bluebirds too.

Black-throated Sparrow
Western Bluebird
By far the coolest sighting I've had this year was of a Spotted Owl in a mesquite tree!  This is an amazing bird for Tucson.  Unfortunately someone entered the sighting on eBird and pinpointed its exact location, a definite no-no.  They who shall not be named will no doubt feel the wrath of the birding gods who will surely punish them with only bad looks at common birds this spring.  I on the other hand was "invited" to see the owl with the usual disclaimer to act more responsibly than those other people.  Hopefully others acted responsibly too.

Spotted Owl
This weekend I was able to get out birding around town a couple times.  First I looked for the "easy" Sage Thrasher that everyone else has been able to see at a local park.  No luck.  But there were lots of Lucy's Warblers singing away and a couple American Pipits, a first for me in town in spring.

Lucy's Warbler
American Pipit
Yesterday I dragged the wife and crawler to my patch at a nearby park.  The conditions were bad for photos but I couldn't complain about it being 67 degrees.  As I got out of the car I heard more Lucy's Warblers singing here too.  A Red-tailed Hawk swooped down just above us with a twig in its bill.  It seems to be setting up a couple of nests on the ball field lights.

Red-tailed Hawk
A pair of banded Cooper's Hawks were busy trying to start a family in a eucalyptus tree.  Notice the larger female.

Cooper's Hawks
Next we found a female Vermilion Flycatcher that eventually flew to her nest.  This was a first for me, pretty cool!  The nest seemed tiny.  Spring was definitely in the air.

Vermilion Flycatcher
A squeaky male Ladder-backed Woodpecker was a nice addition to the patch list.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Considering the lighting conditions, it's sad that these are my best Yellow-rumped Warbler shots to date.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Hopefully I'll have more to post about after our trip to San Carlos, Mexico in a few weeks.  Happy spring birding!