Bird Sightings Report, March 1 to March 31, 2014

Written by Roland on March 31, 2014 – 11:59 pm -

March heralds the month of migrants and the beginning of the breeding season for many species.

Species Accounts

Ducks and Geese: Dave Griffin reported the following ducks from the Lordsburg sewage treatment ponds: Gadwalls (4 on 10 March); Mexican Mallards (4 on 31 March); Northern Shovelers (185-350 between 10 – 31 March); Cinnamon Teal (22 on 31 March); and Ruddy Ducks (45 to 80 between 10 – 31 March). A Canada Goose was seen in the Gila Bird Area (1 March). and two more on 19 March.

Grebes: An Eared Grebe was reported from the Lordsburg sewage treatment pond (Dave Griffin, 10 March).

Cormorants: A Double-crested Cormorant was reported by Dave Griffin from the Lordsburg sewage treatment ponds (31 March).

Vultures: Ken Dayer reported a Turkey Vulture from the Tyrone sewage ponds (23 March). Another report from Gene Lewis was for the same date (no location given).

Hawks: Martha Schumann reported two Common Black-Hawks by the Highway 211 Bridge that crosses the Gila River near the town of Gila and two additional Common Black-Hawks at the Lichty Center (14/15 March). Roland Shook reported a Common Black-Hawk from the Gila Bird Area (17 March). An American Kestrel was seen at the Tyrone sewage ponds by Ken Dayer (2 on 16 March and 1 on 23 March). Allison Boyd reported a Northern Goshawk successfully killing a Mourning Dove at her residence (14 March). Dave Griffin reported a Northern Harrier from the Lordsburg sewage treatment ponds (10 March and 31 March).

Photograph by Allison Boyd, Silver City, 14 March, 2014

Sandpipers: A Spotted Sandpiper was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 6 March).

Gulls: The following gulls were seen by Dave Griffin at the Lordsburg sewage treatment ponds: Bonaparte’s Gull (31 March); California Gulls (2 on 10 March); and Ring-billed Gulls (5 on 31 March). Dave Griffin also saw 16 Ring-billed Gulls at the Lordsburg Playa (31 March). Brian Dolton reported a Franklin’s Gull at the Lordsburg sewage treatment ponds (25 March).

Photograph of Bonaparte’s Gull by Dave Griffin, Lordsburg sewage ponds, 31 March, 2014

Photograph of California Gull by Dave Griffin, Lordsburg sewage ponds, 10 March, 2014

Owls: A Great Horned Owl was seen in the Lichty Center (Roland Shook, 27 March).

Nightjars: A Common Poorwill was seen early in the morning on Bill Evans Road (Roland Shook, 28 March).

Hummingbirds: A Broad-tailed Hummingbird was reported by Paul Boucher from the Silver City golf course (29 March). Brian Dolton reported both a Black-chinned and Broad-tailed Hummingbird at his feeder in Indian Hills (26 March).

Woodpeckers: Mary Alice Murphy reported a pair of Acorn Woodpeckers visiting her suet feeders near “W” Mountain  nearly daily (through the month of March). An Acorn Woodpecker was reported near Twin Sisters by Cathy Ramsay (29 March).

Flycatchers: Paul Boucher reported 6 Vermilion Flycatchers at the Silver City golf course (29 March). Roland Shook reported a Vermilion Flycatcher from the Gila Bird Area (19 March).  Three Black Phoebes were reported from the Gila Bird Area where they are now less common than in former years (Roland Shook, 1 March).

Vireos: Brian Dolton  reported 4-5 calling Hutton’s Vireos along Little Cherry Creek Ranch road (18 March). A singing Bell’s Vireo was heard in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 28 March).

Swallows: The following swallows were seen by Dave Griffin at the Lordsburg sewage ponds: Tree Swallows (2 on 31 March); Violet-green Swallows (2 on 31 March); and a Barn Swallow (31 March).

Wrens: A Rock Wren was reported by Ken Dayer at the Tyrone sewage ponds (1 on 16 March and 2 on 23 March).

Thrushes: Ten Mountain Bluebirds were seen at the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 23 March). Three Townsend’s Solitaries were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 1 March).

Pipits: Brian Dolton reported a Sprague’s Pipit along Separ Road (25 March).

Warblers: A Lucy’s Warbler was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 17 March). A Yellow-rumped Warbler was reported by Allison Boyd from her Silver City residence (14 March). Dave Griffin reported a female Common Yellowthroat from the Lordsburg sewage treatment ponds (31 March). Junella Haynes reported a Wilson’s Warbler at her Silver City residence (13 March). Two Yellow Warblers were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 19 March)

Photograph of Lucy’s Warbler by Robert Shantz, Arizona, 2004

Sparrows et al.: The following sparrows were reported by Ken Dayer from the Tyrone sewage ponds: Chipping Sparrows (7 on 16 March); Brewer’s Sparrows (14 on 16 March and 25 on 23 March); Vesper Sparrows (3 on 23 March); and White-crowned Sparrows (35 on 16 March and 17 on 23 March). A Lincoln’s Sparrow was reported by Gene Lewis from his Silver City yard (21 to 31 March). A migrating Song Sparrow was reported from the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (1 March). Green-tailed Towhees were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 5 on 6 March and 6 on 28 March).

Cardinals et al.: Ken Dayer reported a Pyrrhuloxia from the Tyrone sewage ponds (16 March).

Orioles: Cathy Ramsay reported a Scott’s Oriole visiting her feeders in Wind Canyon (22 March).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, February 1 to February 28, 2014

Written by Roland on February 28, 2014 – 11:59 pm -

As one can note in the sightings that follow, early migrants are returning and resident birds are beginning the breeding season.

Species Accounts

Photo by Lauren Ross, near Lake Roberts, 28 January 2014

Quiz Bird Answer: I appreciate all those who sent in an identification for last month’s quiz bird. The bird is a very light Red-tailed Hawk. Notice the hint of a belly band. Lauren Ross who sent in the picture gives the following information, “I also saw it flying and while it was still really light with no markings underneath I did notice its tail was red on the top.” This is a good example of the variation in color and pattern on a familiar bird in our area.

Ducks: Ken Dayer reported the following ducks from the Lordsburg sewage ponds (17 February): a Ruddy Duck; several Northern Shovelers; three to four Cinnamon Teal; a Canvasback; and two Gadwalls. Two male Cinnamon Teal were reported from Mangas Springs by Brian Dolton (27 February).

Photo by Robert Shantz, near Willcox, AZ, 2004

Hawks: Sonnie Sussillo reported a adult Bald Eagle flying over Silver City (9 February). A Northern Harrier was reported by Ken Dayer along Highway 464 on his way to Redrock (17 February). A Peregrine Falcon was seen at the Redrock Wildlife Management Area (Ken Dayer, 17 February). A Sharp-shinned Hawk was reported by Karen Beckenbach from her residence on the northern edge of Silver City on a periodic basis throughout the month of February. Two Ferruginous Hawks were reported between Animas and Cotton City on the 8 February Audubon field trip (Brian Dolton). Lloyd Von Wolff reported two Harris’s Hawks 7 miles south of Deming and two days later saw a Harris’s Hawk on a power pole on Rock Hound road (17 February).

Photo by Robert Shantz, near Willcox, AZ, 2003

Stilts and Avocets: An American Avocet was reported on the 8 February Audubon field trip on the playa at the Animas turn-off from Interstate I-10 (Brian Dolton).

Photo by Robert Shantz, near Willcox, AZ,  2003

Sandpipers: Roland Shook reported a Wilson’s Snipe from the Gila Bird Area (3 February).

Cranes: Ken Dayer reported 110 Sandhill Cranes from the Lordsburg sewage ponds (17 February).

Gulls: A Ring-billed Gull was reported from the Lordsburg sewage ponds by Ken Dayer (17 February).

Pigeons and Doves: A Band-tailed Pigeon was reported by Karen Beckenbach from her residence on the northern edge of Silver City (26 February).

Owls: A Barn Owl was seen by Ken Dayer at the Redrock Wildlife Management Area (17 February). A Western Screech-Owl was reported at Karen Beckenbach’s residence on the northern edge of Silver City (19 February).

Woodpeckers: Peggy Spofford reported a pair of Northern Flickers drinking at her Silver City pond (6 February). Ken Dayer reported a Gila Woodpecker at the Redrock Wildlife Management Area (17 February). Kathy Cassell reported a Lewis’s Woodpecker from her Indian Hills neighborhood (7 February). Eight to twelve Northern Flickers were reported by Karen Beckenbach visiting her residence on the northern edge of Silver City on a daily basis throughout the month of February. Steve London reported a female Williamson’s Sapsucker east of Silver City on his property (8 February).

Photo by Robert Shantz, Chiricahua Mountains, AZ, 2003

Falcons: An American Kestrel was reported by Ken Dayer from the Tyrone sewage ponds (2 February and 16 February).

Flycatchers: A Black Phoebe was reported at the Gila River Bridge in Redrock (Ken Dayer, 17 February). Two male Vermilion Flycatchers were reported from Mangas Springs (Brian Dolton, 27 February).

Shrikes: Ken Dayer reported a Loggerhead Shrike along Highway 464 and one at the Redrock Wildlife Management Area (17 February).

Jays: Karen Beckenbach reported 8-20 Steller’s Jays visiting her Silver City residence on a daily basis in February. Karen also reported 50-250 Pinyon Jays visiting her residence on a periodic basis throughout the month of February. Steve London reports eight Steller’s Jays visiting his property east of Silver City everyday in February.

Larks: Thirty to forty Horned Larks were seen by Ken Dayer along Separ Road south of Silver City (28 February).

Chickadees: Mountain Chickadees (no number) were seen by Ken Dayer at Little Cherry Creek (22 February). Karen Beckenbach reported two Bridled Titmice visiting her feeders on the northern edge of Silver City on a daily basis throughout the month of February.

Creepers: A Brown Creeper was seen by Ken Dayer at Little Cherry Creek (22 February).

Verdin: A Verdin was seen north of Cotton City on the Audubon field trip (Brian Dolton, 8 February).

Nuthatches: Kathy Cassell reported three Red-breasted Nuthatches from the Little Walnut Picnic area (14 February). Two Red-breasted Nuthatches were reported visiting Karen Beckenbach feeders on the northern edge of Silver City on a daily basis throughout the month of February.

Wrens: A Cactus Wren was reported along Highway 464 by Ken Dayer (17 February). A pair of Cactus Wrens were seen on the Audubon field trip north of Cotton City (Brian Dolton, 8 February). Brian Dolton reported “at least a half dozen” Marsh Wrens at Mangas Springs (27 February). Four Bewick’s Wrens were heard singing in the Gila Bird Area, spring is coming! (Roland Shook, 3 February and throughout the month).

Photo by Robert Shantz, Whiskey Creek, Steeple Rock District, Grant County, NM, September 2007

Thrushes: Linda Zatopek reported a Townsend’s Solitaire at Axle Canyon Preserve in the Burro Mountains (27 February). Kathy Cassell also reported a Townsend’s Solitaire from her Indian Hills neighborhood (16 February). Townsend’s Solitaires were also reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 3 February; 8 February; and four on 19 February). Linda Zatopek also reported numerous American Robins at the Axle Canyon Preserve throughout the month of February. Patricia Taber and Teri Matelson reported a Hermit Thrush along the San Vicente Cienega trail (19 February). Two Mountain Bluebirds were reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 23 February). Brian Dolton reported an Eastern Bluebird at Mangas Springs (27 February). Two Mountain Bluebirds seen on the Audubon field trip north of Cotton City were reported by Brian Dolton (8 February). A dozen Mountain Bluebirds were reported along Separ Road (Brian Dolton, toward the middle of February).

Olive Warbler: A male Olive Warbler was reported by Ken Dayer on the trail to Tadpole Ridge (15 February).

Warblers: A wintering Yellow-rumped Warbler was seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 8 February).

Emberizids: Ken Dayer reported Lark Buntings (no specific number) along Highway 464 on his way to Redrock (17 February). Ken Dayer also saw Chipping, Sagebrush, Brewer, Vesper and White-crowned Sparrows along Highway 464 (17 February). Five Abert’s Towhees were reported by Ken Dayer from the Redrock Wildlife Management Area (17 February). Ken Dayer reported Savannah Sparrows from the Tyrone sewage ponds (two on 2 February, two on 16 February and one on 23 February). Lincoln’s Sparrows were seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, one on 3 February; two on 15 February; and one on 19 February). Three Green-tailed Towhees were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 8 February and five more on 19 February). A Song Sparrow was seen on 15 February in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, and another in the same location on 19 February).

Photo by Robert Shantz, near Animas, NM, 15 April, 2005

Cardinals: A Northern Cardinal was reported from the Axle Canyon Preserve in the Burro Mountain (Linda Zatopek, 27 February).

Finches: Ken Dayer reported 12-15 Cassin’s Finches (2 males and he rest females) at Little Cherry Creek (22 February). Karen Beckenbach reported 200-300 Pine Siskins daily at her feeders on the north edge of Silver City. Steve London reported Pine Siskins (no specific number) at his watering trough east of Silver City (28 February).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Gila River Christmas Bird Count, 4 January 2014

Written by Roland on February 10, 2014 – 8:25 am -

A special thanks to all who helped collect these data. For a historical look at count data from this specific area, go to the link http://birds.audubon.org/christmas-bird-count, then on the right-hand column click on “Results, data, research.”  Then click on “Results, current and historical.” Then att the top of the page on the far-right you can click on “Historical.” You can select a state, then a count circle, then the years you are interested in. Toward the bottom of the resultant species table, you can see the total number of species and participants for each year.

The total number of species seen this year was 96. The number of individual birds reported this year was 5939. The 20 participants spent 51.5 total hours in the field and covered by foot and car a total of 128.8 miles.

Gila River Christmas Bird Count

Species BN LM TB EL KB TH RS Total
Canada Goose 5 60 30 95
Gadwall 4 14 18
American Wigeon 8 9 2 130 12 4 165
Mallard 74 83 130 15 365 20 24 711
Blue-winged Teal 30 30
Northern Shoveler 3 25 28
Green-winged Teal 2 4 23 29
Canvasback 1 1
Ring-necked Duck 2 2
Hooded Merganser 1 1
Common Merganser 1 2 44 47
Gambel’s Quail 10 14 1 30 55
Pied-billed Grebe 1 1
Western Grebe 2 2
Great Blue Heron 1 1 1 1 4
Bald Eagle 1 3 3 1 8
Northern Harrier 1 1 1 3
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1 1 2 4
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1 1 3
Red-tailed Hawk 3 3 5 7 5 2 4 29
Ferruginous Hawk 1 1 2
Golden Eagle 1 3 3 7
American Coot 48 1 49
Sandhill Crane 19 15 14 64 29 36 177
Killdeer 2 3 2 6 2 3 18
Spotted Sandpiper 1 2 2 5
Greater Yellowlegs 1 1
Wilson’s Snipe 2 2 1 4 4 13
Eur. Collared-Dove 10 8 51 8 4 81
White-winged Dove 6 42 1 49
Mourning Dove 57 2 146 7 3 5 220
Great Horned Owl 1 1 2
Belted Kingfisher 1 1 2
Acorn Woodpecker 1 1
Gila Woodpecker 2 1 1 4
Red-naped Sapsucker 1 3 4 1 9
Ladder-backed Wdpker 2 1 2 1 2 8
Hairy Woodpecker 2 3 5
Northern Flicker 3 4 1 4 10 2 24
American Kestrel 1 4 1 1 7
Merlin 1 1
Peregrine Falcon 1 1
Falcon sp. 1 1 1 3
Empidonax sp. 1 1
Black Phoebe 3 1 1 3 3 11
Say’s Phoebe 3 1 2 3 5 14
Vermilion Flycatcher 1 1 2
Western Kingbird 1 1
Loggerhead Shrike 2 2 1 5
Western Scrub Jay 6 6
American Crow 1 5 6
Raven sp. 16 6 15 37 12 1 87
Chihuahuan Raven 22 22
Mountain Chickadee 2 2
Bridled Titmouse 3 1 3 7
Verdin 1 1
White-br. Nuthatch 2 3 3 3 5 16
Rock Wren 1 1 2
Pacific Wren 1 1
Marsh Wren 1 1
Bewick’s Wren 1 4 1 2 8
Cactus Wren 1 1
Ruby-cr. Kinglet 10 6 7 2 9 8 42
Western Bluebird 34 25 14 2 75
Mountain Bluebird 34 34
Townsend’s Solitare 1 1
Hermit Thrush 2 2
Curve-bill. Thrasher 1 1
N. Mockingbird 1 1
European Starling 2 2 77 6 1 88
Phainipepla 1 2 3
Orange-cr. Warbler 1 1
Yellow-rump. Warbler 8 8 2 3 11 5 37
Green-tailed Towhee 4 3 5 12
Spotted Towhee 8 3 5 3 8 6 33
Rufous-cr. Sparrow 3 3
Canyon Towhee 3 1 3 7
Chipping Sparrow 18 65 34 57 1 135 15 325
Brewer’s Sparrow 2 7 53 20 82
Black-chin. Sparrow 1 1
Vesper Sparrow 1 40 41
Black-thr. Sparrow 4 1 5
Savannah Sparrow 1 1 50 52
Song Sparrow 8 29 9 3 16 65
Lincoln’s Sparrow 3 2 5 2 4 16
White-cr. Sparrow 147 67 83 362 27 63 82 831
White-thr. Sparrow 1 1 2
Dark-eyed Junco 9 37 7 5 6 16 4 84
Northern Cardinal 2 1 1 2 10 4 20
Red-wing. Blackbird 100 2 81 200 383
Western Meadowlark 16 16
Meadowlark sp. 4 32 5 30 71
Brewer’s Blackbird 17 200 97 210 803 1327
Great-tailed Grackle 1 1
Brown-head. Cowbird 100 100
House Finch 19 4 2 7 7 39
Lesser Goldfinch 3 1 4
American Goldfinch 7 7
House Sparrow 8 8
Total No. Individuals 633 368 644 1355 1236 477 1226 5939

Route 1 – Bird Mangas Springs and then proceed north and west on Highway 180 until it intersects with the Bill Evans Lake turnoff. Proceed along the Bill Evans Lake road to Bill Evans Lake, include the side canyons. Bird the shores of Bill Evans Lake. Also include the area south of Bill Evans Lake on the east side of the Gila River to Mangas Creek. Bill Norris, Jackie Blurton, Kelly Suberopp.

Route 2 – Begin at the Iron Bridge across the Gila River. Proceed along the east and west bank of the Gila River in a southerly direction until you reach the water gap fence across the Gila. On the west bank of the Gila River bird to the McCauley ranch keeping on the west side of the fence that parallels the Gila River. Also bird along Sycamore Creek. Larry Malone, Barbara Smith, Wendy Shaul, Eddy Raven.

Route 3 – Begin at Highway 180 and Airport Mesa Road. Proceed in a northerly direction until you intersect with Highway 211. Turn right and bird Highway 211 until it intersects with Highway 180. Retrace your path to the junction of Airport Mesa Road and Highway 211. Continue along Highway 211 through Gila and then on the east side of the river to Spar Canyon. Count all birds on the east side of the Gila River to 3/8 miles of the river. Also include Hooker Loop Road. Tom Brake, Duston Hunt

Route 4 – Begin in the town of Cliff. Bird along Highway 211 until the junction with Highway 293. Continue to bird along Highway 293 to Watson Mountain View Rd. Bird the Lichty center, especially the TNC pond. Eugene Lewis, Ken Dayer

Route 5 – Bird on the east side of the Gila River from the Highway 211 Bridge north to TNC Agnew property north of the town of Gila.  If time permits, bird the woods on the Garcia property. Karen Blisard, Denise Friedrick, Diana Cruzan.

Route 6. Begin at Mangas Creek below Bill Evans Lake and bird south to the end of the Bird Area. Trisha Hurley, Mark Cantrell, Jess DeMoss, Allyson, Siwik, Jarod Swackhamer.

Route 7 – Bird Runyan’s property north of the Highway 180 Bridge and continue north along the east side of the river to Highway 211. Roland Shook, Brian Dolton

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, January 1 to January 31, 2014

Written by Roland on January 31, 2014 – 11:59 pm -

For a additional sightings in January, check out the Gila River Christmas Bird Count results posted on the Bird Sightings Report web site.

Species Accounts

Quiz Bird:

The following picture was sent in this month by Lauren Ross. Here is what she said in her email,” I saw the bird Tuesday morning at 9:10 a little over a mile past the General Store in Lake Roberts heading towards Little Toad restaurant.” If you can identify this bird send your answer to tyrannidae@gmail.com. I will report on the responses in the February Bird Sightings Report. Even photos that are less than the very best can prove very valuable for identification purposes.

Unidentified Bird, near Lake Roberts, 28 January 2014

Geese and Ducks: The following ducks were reported at Lake Roberts by Ken Dayer on 1 January: Canvasbacks, Green-winged Teals, Ring-necked Ducks, Mallards, American Wigeons, Hooded Mergansers, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, Common Mergansers, and a Northern Pintail. On 11 January, Ken Dayer reported a Canvasback on Bill Evans Lake (11 January). A Hooded Merganser and several Northern Shovelers were seen at the Lichty Center (Ken Dayer, 11 January). Canada Geese were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 24 January).

Turkeys: Roland Shook reported 15 Wild Turkeys from the Gila Bird Area (10 January).

Grebes: Two Western Grebes and several Pied-billed Grebes were reported from Bill Evans Lake (Ken Dayer, 11 January).

Western Grebe by Robert Shantz, near Safford, Az, November 2011

Cormorants: A Double-crested Cormorant was seen at Lake Roberts (Ken Dayer, 1 January).

Hawks: Ken Dayer reported one to two Bald Eagles at Lake Roberts (1 January). Red-tailed Hawks were from the Tyrone sewage ponds by Ken Dayer (two on 5 January and one on 12 January). Chris Mehling reported a Red-tailed Hawk flying over his property along Truck Bypass Road (several times in January).

Shorebirds: Roland Shook reported three Spotted Sandpipers from the Gila Bird Area (10 January). A Spotted Sandpiper and a Wilson’s Snipe were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 17 January).

Wilson’s Snipe by Robert Shantz, near Willcox, Az, December 2005

Doves: Last month’s bird sightings report mentioned the fact that Mourning Doves are becoming much less common. What I failed to mentioned is that this phenomenon seems to be confined to Silver City and not the surrounding areas. Steve London who lives east of Silver City reports that Mourning Doves are still quite common (19 January).

Owls: Wendy Shaul reported a pair of Great Horned Owls near Tyrone (1 January). A Great Horned Owl was heard vocalizing in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 24 January).

Woodpeckers: A Gila Woodpecker was reported by Ken Dayer from the Lichty Center (11 January). Ken Dayer reported a Williamson’s Sapsucker from Little Walnut Picnic area (18 January) and another Williamson’s Sapsucker was seen by Ken Dayer at Harden Cienega (19 January). Roland Shook reported a Red-naped Sapsucker in the Gila Bird Area (24 January).

Falcons: Peter Riva reported an American Kestrel flying over Bear Creek (18 January). Ken Dayer reported a Prairie Falcon on Bill Evans Lake Road (11 January), and Ken reported an American Kestrel at the Tyrone sewage ponds (25 January). Wendy Shaul reported an American Kestrel near Tyrone (21 January). A large falcon, possibly a Prairie or a Peregrine Falcon,was seen near Tyrone (Wendy Shaul, 2 January).

Flycatchers: A Say’s Phoebe was reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 25 January). An Empidonax sp. flycatcher was seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 24 January).

Jays: Ken Dayer reported at least three, possibly more Clark’s Nutcrackers along Highway 15 near the road to Sheep Corral Canyon (1 January).

Verdins: A Verdin was reported from the campground at the end of Box Canyon Road by Ken Dayer (11 January). This location is the most northern foray on the Gila River for this species that I know of.

Verdin by Robert Shantz, near Verdin, January 2006

Wrens: Two Cactus Wrens were reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 25 January).

Thrushes: Five Western Bluebirds were reported by Regina Vinson at her residence 10 miles south of Tyrone (5 January). A Hermit Thrush was reported by Ken Dayer (Lichty Center, 11 January) and another one or two from the Glenwood Fish Hatchery (Ken Dayer, 19 January). A Townsend’s Solitaire was reported by Ken Dayer from the campground at the end of Box Canyon Road (11 January) and he also reported another one at the Glenwood Fish Hatchery (19 January). Roland Shook reported a Townsend’s Solitaire from the Gila Bird Area (10 January)

Photo of male Western Bluebird by Robert Shantz, near Virden, November 2002

Starlings: A flock of 300 European Starlings was reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 25 January).

Sparrows: Ken Dayer reported numerous Song Sparrows from the Lichty Center (11 January) and at the Glenwood Fish Hatchery (19 January). Several Lincoln’s Sparrows were also reported at the Glenwood Fish Hatchery (Ken Dayer, 19 January) along with two White-throated Sparrows (Ken Dayer, 19 January). Ken Dayer reported two Rufous-crowned Sparrows from the Harden Cienega (19 January) along with two Song Sparrows. Roland Shook reported five Green-tailed Towhees from the Gila Bird Area (10 January) and four Green-tailed Towhees were detected in the same location by Roland Shook (24 January).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, December 1 to December 31, 2013

Written by Roland on December 31, 2013 – 11:59 pm -

December is the month for most winter visitors. Winter sparrows can be most challenging.

Species Accounts

Ducks: Ken Dayer reported the following ducks from the Tyrone sewage ponds: Mallards (2 on 8 December, 1 on 14 December); Blue-winged Teal (2 on 8 December); Northern Shovelers (4 on 14 December and 4 on 29 December); and a Northern Pintail (1 on 14 December). Karen Beckenbach, compiler for the Silver City Christmas bird count centered on the Golf Course reported an all time high of 430 American Wigeons (14 December). At Lake Roberts there were around 500 Common Mergansers on 18 December (Brian Dolton). He wondered whether the lowered lake level from the dam work had caused a heavy concentrations of fish.

Male Blue-winged Teal by Robert Shantz, 10 June 2006, Near Wilcox, AZ

Cormorants: Larry Malone reported three Double-crested Cormorants from Lake Roberts (16 December).

Double-crested Cormorant by Robert Shantz, 24 November 2008, Arizona

Hawks and Eagles: Ken Dayer reported two Bald Eagles at Lake Roberts (7 December) . Larry Malone reported a Bald Eagle from Bear Canyon Reservoir (6 December).  Martha Schumann Cooper reported a Bald Eagle near the Iron Bridge  (10 December). A Northern Goshawk was seen on San Vicente Creek by Sara Boyett, and Ceil and Randy Jones during the Silver City Christmas Bird Count. Two Golden Eagles were reported by Wayne Treers between  Hatch and Deming on Highway 26 (7 December).

Gulls: Two Bonaparte’s Gulls were seen at Lake Roberts (Larry Malone, 6 December).

Winter Bonaparte’s Gull by Robert Shantz, 13 January 2007, Near Wilcox, AZ

Shorebirds: Two Killdeer were reported on 8 December and 2 more on 14 December from the Tyrone sewage pond (Ken Dayer).

Doves: Ken Dayer reported a Mourning Dove on 8 December and 3 Mourning Doves on 13 December from the Tyrone sewage ponds. This species in Silver City has become quite uncommon.

Falcons: Julian Lee reported a Peregrine Falcon perched in a tree along Bill Evans Road (7 December). A Prairie Falcon was reported by Wayne Treers approximately 30 miles west of Las Cruces (7 December) and another two Prairie Falcons between Hatch and Deming on Highway 26 (7 December). Ken Dayer reported 3 and 2 American Kestrels on 14 December and 29 December, respectively from the Tyrone sewage ponds.

Flycatchers: Martha Schumann Cooper reported a Vermilion Flycatcher 17 December at the Gila River Farm. Karen Beckenbach, compiler for the Silver City Christmas bird count centered on the Golf Course, reported a Cassin’s Kingbird, a new species for the count.

Vireos: A late Plumbeous Vireo was reported by Larry Malone 31 December in Deming.

Corvids: Brian Dolton reported a small flock (around half a dozen) of Clark’s Nutcrackers on Hwy 15 (just south of the Sheep Corral Road turnoff) on 18th December. Jim Rogers reported a Steller’s Jay last month which I inadvertently over looked on the November report. The bird was seen 22 November in Hanover, NM

Steller’s Jay by Jim Rogers, 22 November 2013, Hanover, NM

Thrushes: A group of five Western Bluebirds were reported by Regina Vinson visiting a bird bath at her residence near White Signal south of Tyrone (no specific December dates given). A Mountain Bluebird was seen on 1 December in Hidalgo county on Highway 81 at Big Hatch Gap (Larry Malone).

Starlings: Twenty-one and 105 European Starlings were reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds by Ken Dayer on 8 and 14 December, respectively.

Warblers: Karen Beckenback reported three Olive Warblers from Bear Mountain Road (17 December).

Emberizids: Ken Dayer reported the following Emberizids from the Tyrone sewage ponds: Chipping Sparrows (22 on 14 December and 4 on 29 December); and Brewer’s Sparrows (17 on 14 December and 24 on 29 December). Karen Beckenbach, compiler for the Silver City Christmas bird count centered on the Golf Course and conducted on 14 December, reported all time count highs for Chipping Sparrows and Rufous-crowned Sparrows (1481 and 22, respectively). A White-throated Sparrow were seen by Allison Boyde, David Griffin and Charles Britt on  PA Creek during the Silver City Christmas Bird Count (14 December).

White-throated Sparrow by Robert Shantz, 16 January 2006, Paradise, AZ

Blackbirds: Ken Dayer reported 18, 12,and 2 Brewer’s Blackbirds on 8, 14, and 29 December, respectively from the Tyrone sewage ponds. A Common Grackle was seen by Larry Malone on  13 December  in Deming.

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, November 1 to November 30, 2013

Written by Roland on November 30, 2013 – 11:59 pm -

Winter residents are settling for a few months stay. It appears that some mountain jays, such as Clark’s Nutcracker and Stellar’s Jay are going to be more prominent in our area than usual.

Species Accounts

Ducks: Larry Malone reported two Wood Ducks at the Deming Waste Water Plant (8 November). Two Hooded Mergansers were reported from Lake Roberts (Larry Malone, 1 November). Ken Dayer reported the following species from the Tyrone sewage ponds: American Wigeon (13 on 3 November and 6 on 10 November); Mallard (5 on 3 November and 8 on 10 November); Lesser Scaup (4 on 10 November); and Ruddy Duck (3 on 3 November).

Loons: A Common Loon was reported by Brian Dolton from Bill Evans Lake (2 November).

Hawks and Eagles: Larry Malone reported a Bald Eagle at Lake Roberts (1 November). A Bald Eagle was seen flying over Larry Malone’s Deming residence (20 November). Peggy Spofford reported a juvenile Golden Eagle flying north over Silver Acres (23 November). Ken Dayer reported a Cooper’s Hawk and two Red-tailed Hawks from the Tyrone sewage ponds (both species on 3 November). A female Northern Harrier was seen near San Simon, AZ by Becky Nolan-Dees (4 November).

Photo of female Northern Harrier by Robert Shantz, near Wilcox, AZ, 30 December 2011

Pigeons and Doves: Three Inca Doves were seen in Deming (Larry Malone, 8 November).

Photo of Inca Dove by Robert Shantz, Pima Co. Az, 4 November 2013

Roadrunners: Becky Nolan-Dees reported  Greater Roadrunners (1 on 10 November and 2 on 29 November, San Simon, AZ).

Owls: A Western Screech-Owl was reported by Karen Beckenbach at her Silver City residence (27 November).

Photo of Western Screech-Owl by Robert Shantz, Altar Valley, AZ, 30 October 2013

Falcons: A female Merlin was reported by Larry Malone on the east side of the Florida Mountains near Deming (27 November). Ken Dayer reported an American Kestrel from the Tyrone sewage ponds( 10 November), and another American Kestrel was reported from San Simon, AZ (Becky Nolan-Dees, 4 November).

Woodpeckers: A Lewis’s Woodpecker was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Brian Dolton, 2 November). Ken Dayer reported a Red-naped Sapsucker from the Tyrone sewage ponds (3 November).

Flycatchers: A Cassin’s Kingbird was reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 3 November). Two Western Kingbirds were seen by Becky Nolan-Dees at San Simon, AZ (1 November). A female Vermilion Flycatcher was reported from San Simon, AZ by Becky Nolan-Dees (4 and 24 November).

Shrikes: Becky Nolan-Dees reported a Loggerhead Shrike on 3 and 4 November at her home in San Simon, AZ.

Jays: Karen Beckenbach reported a Blue Jay at her feeder on the northern edge of Silver City (11, 12 and 13 November). This eastern species is a very uncommon sight in our area. Karen Beckenbach also reported a Clark’s Nutcracker at her Silver City residence (29 November). Larry Malone reported four Clark’s Nutcrackers from McMillan Campground (1 November). Brian Dolton reported a Clark’s Nutcracker near Gomez Peak just north of Silver City (1 November). Steve London reported 10 Stellar’s Jays at his residence between Hanover and San Lorenzo beginning 13 November through the end of the month.

Photo by Robert Shantz of Clark’s Nutcracker, Sunset Crater Volcano Nat. Monument, 7 September 2008

Wrens: A House Wren was seen at San Simon, AZ by Becky Nolan-Dees (4 November).

Kinglets: A Golden-crowned Kinglet was seen at McMillan Campground by Larry Malone (1 November).

Thrushes: Three Townsend’s Solitaires were seen at Lake Roberts (Larry Malone, 1 November).  A Hermit Thrush was reported by Larry Malone from McMillan Campground (1 November).

Thrashers: Two Crissal Thrashers were reported by Larry Malone from the east side of the Florida Mountains east of Deming (27 November). A Bendire’s Thrasher was reported from San Simon, AZ by Becky Nolan-Dees (5 and 24 November).

Warblers: A Yellow-rumped Warbler was reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 3 November).

Emberizids: Larry Malone reported a Grasshopper Sparrow from the east side of the Florida Mountains east of Deming (27 November). A White-throated Sparrow was seen at Spring Canyon State Park by Larry Malone (25 November). Brian Dolton reported three Rufous-crowned Sparrows from his Indian Hills residence, seen throughout the month of November. The following sparrows were seen by Ken Dayer at the Tyrone sewage ponds: Chipping Sparrow (18 on 3 November and 37 on 10 November); Brewer’s Sparrow (14 on 3  November and 8 on 10 November); Vesper Sparrow (1 on 10 November); Savannah Sparrow (4 on 10 November). Lincoln’s Sparrow (1 on 3 November); and White-crowned Sparrow (15 on 3 November and 33 on 10 November). Two Abert’s Towhee were reported by Becky Nolan-Dees from San Simon, AZ (23 November)

Tanagers, Cardinals, Grosbeaks: Two Pyrrhuloxias were reported from San Simon, AZ (Becky Nolan-Dees, 4 and 24 November).

Photo of male Pyrrhuloxia by Robert Shantz, Steeple Rock Canyon, 27 Bebruary 2007

Icterids: An Eastern Meadowlark and a Meadowlark species were reported at the Tyrone sewage ponds by Ken Dayer (3 November and 10 November, respectively).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, October 1 to October 31, 2013

Written by Roland on October 31, 2013 – 11:29 pm -

October’s sightings indicate that winter visitors are arriving in our area and that migrants are passing through. Note the number of sparrows seen this month.

Species Accounts

Ducks: Ken Dayer reported the following ducks from the Tyrone sewage ponds: Northern Shoveler (149 on 5 October, 36 on 19 October, and 33 on 27 October); Ring-necked Duck (nine on 19 October); and Ruddy Duck (one on 27 October). A Common Merganser was seen in the Gila Bird Area where they are becoming scarce (Roland Shook, 2 Oct).

Grebes: Ken Dayer reported a Pied-billed Grebe and an Eared Grebe at the Tyrone sewage ponds (19 October).

Hawks: Ken Dayer reported American Kestrels at the Tyrone sewage ponds (one on 5 October and two on 27 October). A Common Black-Hawk was seen in the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (9 October). Mid-October is the “rule of thumb” predicting the last Black-Hawk of the season.

Rails: A Sora was reported from Lake Roberts by Larry Malone (18 October).

Cranes: Two Sandhill Cranes (the season’s first at Deming) were reported by Larry Malone (12 October). Steve London reported 10 Sandhill Cranes between Hanover and San Lorenzo (16 October).

Shorebirds: Four Pectoral Sandpipers were seen by Larry Malone at the Deming treatment ponds (5 October). Ken Dayer  reported the following shorebirds at the Tyrone sewage ponds: Killdeer (seven on 5 October, one on 19 October, and nine on 27 October); Wilson’s Snipe (one on 5 October); and Wilson’s Phalarope (nine on 27 October). Roland Shook reported five Spotted Sandpipers from the Gila Bird Area (2 October).

Nightjars: Eleanor Wootten reported a Common Poorwill on Highway 293 north of Cliff near the Lichty Center (12 October).

Hummingbirds: Bill and Henri Hovarter reported a female Rufous Hummingbird and a male Black-chinned Hummingbird visiting their Silver City feeder through the end of October.

Kingfishers: A Belted Kingfisher was reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 5 October).

Belted Kingfisher by Robert Shantz, Pima Co. AZ, 23 October 2013

Woodpeckers: Peggy Spofford reported a Northern Flicker at her Silver Acres residence (14 October). Eleven Northern Flickers were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 9 October). Ken Dayer reported four Red-naped Sapsuckers from the Tyrone sewage ponds (27 October), and Roland Shook reported two Red-naped Sapsuckers from the Gila Bird Area (2 October).

Falcons: Larry Malone reported a Peregrine Falcon from Lake Roberts (18 October).

Flycatchers: The following flycatchers were reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds by Ken Dayer: Say’s Phoebe (two on 19 October); Vermilion Flycatcher (one on 5 October); and Cassin’s Kingbirds (four on 5 October, three on 19 October, and one on 27 October). Five Black Phoebes were detected in the Gila Bird Area where they are becoming scarce (Roland Shook, 2 October). A Western Kingbird and an Empidonax Flycatcher were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 9 October). A “Western” Flycatcher was seen in the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (22 October). In the not too distant past the “Western” Flycatcher was split into Cordilleran and Pacific-slope Flycatcher. During migration these two species are virtually impossible to separate in the field.

Vireos: Two Cassin’s Vireos were reported from the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (22 October).

Shrikes: Ken Dayer reported a Loggerhead Shrike from the Tyrone sewage ponds (19 October).

Loggerhead Shrike by Robert Shantz, Arizona, 26 January, 2008

Jays: A Western Scrub-Jay was reported from Spring Canyon State Park south of Deming (Larry Malone, 21 October).

Wrens: Larry Malone reported three Rock Wrens from the Spring Canyon State Park south of Deming (21 October).

Kinglets: Fourteen Ruby-crowned Kinglets were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 22 October).

Ruby-crowned Kinglet by Robert Shantz, Paradise, AZ, 16 January 2005

Thrushes: Townsend’s Solitaires were detected by Larry Malone in various places from Lake Roberts to Cherry Creek Campground (18 October). A Townsend Solitaire along with a Hermit Thrush were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 2 October). Two Western Bluebirds and a Townsend’s Solitaire were detected in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 22 October).

Townsend’s Solitaire by Robert Shantz, New Mexico, 8 July 2008

Pipits: Five American Pipits were reported from the Deming treatment pond (Larry Malone, 5 October).

Warblers: Ken Dayer reported a MacGillivray’s Warbler (19 October) and three Yellow-rumped Warblers (27 October) from the Tyrone sewage ponds. A Wilson’s Warbler was reported from the Gila Bird Area  (9 October), while three Yellow-rumped Warblers were reported from the same location (22 October) by Roland Shook.

Sparrows: Bill and Henri Hovarter reported three Dark-eyed Juncos at their Silver City  feeder (16 October). Two Chipping sparrows were also reported by Bill and Henri Hovarter at the Silver City feeder (20 October). The following sparrows were reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds by Ken Dayer: Chipping Sparrows (23 on 19 October and 3 on 27 October); Brewer’s Sparrows (2 on 5 October, 2 on 19 October, and 12 on 27 October); Vesper Sparrow (one on 19 October); Song Sparrow (one on 27 October); Lincoln’s Sparrows (one on 5 October, one on 19 October and three on 27 October); and White-crowned Sparrows (10 on 5 October, 24 on 19 October, and 31 on 27 October). Larry Malone reported the following emberizids from Spring Canyon State Park south of Deming: Green-tailed Towhees (8 on 21 October, first in several years); Spotted Towhees (11 on 21 October, most in several years); and Black-chinned Sparrows (two on 21 October, first in several years). Larry Malone also reported a Clay-colored Sparrow in Deming (28 October) and 11 Lincoln’s Sparrows in the Deming area (28 October, the most in several years in the Deming area.). Twelve Green-tailed Towhees were detected in the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (9 October), while 10 more were detected (22 October) at the same location. Seven Brewer’s Sparrows, a Lark Sparrow, two Lincoln’s Sparrows, and three White-crowned Sparrows were also seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 9 October). On 17 October a Chipping Sparrow, six Brewer’s Sparrows, a Song Sparrow and three Lincoln’s Sparrows were reported from the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook. The Gila Bird Area was the site of the detection of 128 Chipping Sparrows, 5 Brewer’s Sparrows, 4 Lark Sparrows, two Black-throated Sparrows, three Lincoln’s Sparrows,  and 36 White-crowned Sparrows (Roland Shook, 22 October).

Brewer’s Sparrow by Robert Shantz, Pima Co. AZ, 23 October 2013

Tanagers, Cardinals, Grosbeaks: Two Summer Tanagers and three Northern Cardinals were detected in the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (2 October). Twelve Blue Grosbeaks were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 9 October).

Blackbirds, Orioles: Steve London reported a Red-winged Blackbird at his feeder located at 7000 feet in pinyon/juniper habitat between Hanover and San Lorenzo (21 October).  Two Scott’s Orioles were reported from Spring Canyon State Park south of Deming by Larry Malone (21 October). Ken Dayer reported Brewer’s Blackbirds at the Tyrone sewage ponds (1 on 5 October, 1 on 19 October and 64 on 27 October). Roland Shook reported a Hooded Oriole from the Gila Bird Area (9 October).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, September 1 to September 30, 2013

Written by Roland on September 30, 2013 – 11:59 pm -

One can predict cooler temperatures and shorter nights as fall migrants move through our area or take up winter residency. Note the migrating warblers and sparrows in this month’s report.

Species Accounts

Herons: Brian Dolton reported a Great Blue Heron flying over his house in Indian Hills (16 September). Gene Lewis reported a White-faced Ibis in juvenal plumage from the Tyrone sewage ponds (5 September), while Ken Dayer reported the same species at the same location on 21 September.

Ospreys: Ken Dayer reported an Osprey from the Tyrone sewage ponds (21 September).

Hawks: Brian Dolton reported a Swainson’s Hawk on Separ Road, as well as, a Sharp-shinned Hawk at the Pitchfork Ranch (19 September). On 22 September Brian observed a Cooper’s Hawk at his Silver City residence, while a Cooper’s Hawk was also seen at the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 21 September). Three Common Black-Hawks were seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook) on 3 September, two on 19 September, and two additional birds on 26 September. The estimated “late date” for this species in our area is approximately 15 October.

Shorebirds: Gene Lewis reported 80 Wilson’s Phalaropes from the Tyrone sewage ponds (5 September). Two Wilson’s Phalaropes were observed at the Lordsburg sewage ponds (Brian Dolton, 19 September).  Ken Dayer reported the following shorebirds from the Tyrone sewage ponds: Killdeer (eight on 21 September, 10 on 29 September); two Spotted Sandpipers (21 September); a Semipalmated Sandpiper (21 September);  four Baird’s Sandpipers (21 September);  and Wilson’s Phalaropes (78 on 21 September, 40 on 29 September).

Roadrunners: Wendy Shaul reported a Greater Roadrunner at the Alum Camp trailhead near the Gila Cliff Dwellings (14 September) and another sighting near the same location (12 September). In the photo below note the dark under feathers. Greater Roadrunners have the ability to let their body temperature drop at night, and then by exposing these dark feathers they can absorb solar radiation during the day in order to raise their body temperature, thus conserving energy. Brian Dolton reported a Greater Roadrunner along the Separ Road south of Silver City (19 September).

Greater Roadrunner by Wendy Shaul, near Gila Cliff Dwellings, 14 September 2013

Nighthawks: Martha Schumann Cooper reported a nighthawk (most likely a Common Nighthawk) along Highway 293 near Cliff (1 September).

Hummingbirds: Brian Dolton reported an adult male Rufous Hummingbird at his Indian Hills feeders in September (no specific date given).

Woodpeckers: Barbara Smith and John Wilson reported two Acorn Woodpeckers from the Little Walnut picnic area (30 September).

Falcons: Several American Kestrels were observed by Brian Dolton along the Separ Road south of Silver City (19 September). Ken Dayer reported two American Kestrels from the Tyrone sewage ponds (21 September). An American Kestrel was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 19 September). Roland Shook reported a Peregrine Falcon from the Gila Bird Area (19 September).

Flycatchers: A Western Kingbird was reported from Fort Bayard (Barbara Smith and John Wilson, 19 September). Ken Dayer reported Cassin’s Kingbirds (two on 21 September, one on 29 September) and a Western Kingbird (21 September) from the Tyrone sewage ponds. Two Empidonax flycatchers were seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 14 September). A Cassin’s Kingbird was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 19 September).

Shrikes: Brian Dolton reported a pair of Loggerhead Shrikes along the Separ Road south of Silver City (19 September). An additional Loggerhead Shrike was reported by Ken Dayer from the Tyrone sewage ponds (21 September).

Vireos: Roland Shook reported five Plumbeous Vireos from the Gila Bird Area (3 September).

Swallows: Ten Violet-green Swallows (29 September) and a Barn Swallow (21 September) were observed at the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer).

Wrens: House Wrens were seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, one on 3 September and 14 September; two on 19 September and three on 26 September). Three Canyon Wrens were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 19 September).

Thrushes: Barbara Smith and John Wilson reported two Hermit Thrushes at the Little Walnut picnic area (30 September). Two Western Bluebirds were also seen by Barbara Smith and John Wilson on 30 September (Little Walnut picnic area) and an additional four Western Bluebirds were seen by the same observers at Fort Bayard (19 September).

Wood-Warblers: Eight Wilson’s Warblers and six Yellow Warblers were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 3 September). A Nashville Warbler and a Wilson’s Warbler were seen in the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (14 September). Additional Wilson’s Warblers were seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, two on 19 September and one on 26 September).

Sparrows, Juncos and Towhees: Two Rufous-crowned Sparrows were reported from Brian Dolton’s residence in Indian Hills (25 September). A pair of Canyon Towhees with fledgling young were seen in Indian Hills by Brian Dolton (25 September). Eight Dark-eyed Juncos were seen at the Little Walnut picnic area by Barbara Smith and John Wilson (30 September). Eight White-crowned Sparrows,  a Lark Sparrow, and a Brewer’s Sparrow were reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 29 September). Green-tailed Towhees were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, one on 14 September and six on 26 September). The Gila Bird Area produced sightings on 11 Chipping Sparrows, two Lincoln’s Sparrows, and four White-crowned Sparrows on 26 September (Roland Shook).

Tanagers, Cardinals, Grosbeaks and Buntings: Barbara Smith and  John Wilson reported a male Hepatic Tanager at the Little Walnut picnic area (30 September), and one at Fort Bayard (19 September). Two Blue Grosbeaks were observed at the Tyrone sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 21 September). Roland Shook reported 19 Blue Grosbeaks from the Gila Bird Area (26 September). Three Lazuli Buntings were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 14 September).

Blackbirds and Orioles: Ken Dayer reported five Yellow-headed Blackbirds (21 September) and two Brewer’s Blackbirds (29 September) from the Tyrone sewage ponds. A Hooded Oriole was observed in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 19 September).

7 September Audubon Field Trip to Mangas Springs – led and reported by Brian Dolton – Vermilion Flycatcher (pair), Summer Tanager (male), Western Tanager (female), MacGillivray’s Warbler, Willow Flycatcher, Great Blue Heron (juvenile, injured – badly broken wing, unlikely to survive), Lincoln’s Sparrow (dead, allowing very careful inspection and demonstration of ID features)!, Northern Cardinal (pair), unidentified Rail (flushed briefly, did not respond to calls), probable Prairie Falcon (large falcon flying across Hwy 180 a couple of miles south of Mangas), Phainopepla (pair).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, August 1 to August 31, 2013

Written by Roland on August 31, 2013 – 11:59 pm -

August is a transitory time for many species between the breeding season and fall migration.

Species Accounts

Ducks: Ken Dayer reported the following ducks at the Tyrone Sewage ponds: Mallard (4 August, 12 adults, six immatures; 10 August, 36 adults, five immatures; 17 August, 24 August, 31 August, 26, 6, 17 adults, respectively); Northern Shovelers (47 on 24 August, 30 on 31 August); a Green-winged Teal (24 and 31 August).

Hawks: A Sharp-shinned Hawk was reported by Karen Beckenbach at her residence on the northern edge of Silver City (25 August). Ken Dayer reported a Cooper’s Hawk from the Tyrone Sewage ponds (24 August) and a Zone-tailed Hawk on 10 August from the same location. Ken also reported an American Kestrel on 10 and 24 August from the Tyrone Sewage ponds. A Zone-tailed Hawk was reported by Roland Shook from the Gila Bird Area (24 August).

Shorebirds: Ken Dayer reported the following shorebirds from the Tyrone Sewage ponds: Killdeer (two, eight, seven, seven, six on 4, 10, 17, 24, 31 August, respectively); Spotted Sandpiper (24 August); two Lesser Yellowlegs (24 August); a Semipalmated Sandpiper (31 August); a Western Sandpiper (24 August); Wilson’s Phalarope (19, 186, 123, 81 on 10, 17, 24, 31 August, respectively). A Spotted Sandpiper was reported from the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (14 August and 24 August).

Wilson’s Phalarope photo by Robert Shantz. August 2006, Willcox, Arizona

Cranes: Martha Schumann Cooper reported a lone Sandhill Crane that summered near the Lichty Center above Cliff, NM.

Pigeons. Two dozen Band-tailed Pigeons are still visiting Karen Beckenbach’s feeders on the northern edge of Silver City (25 August). Kathy Cassell reported a flock of approximately 30 Band-tailed Pigeons in her Indian Hills neighborhood from 10 August through the end of the month. Ken Dayer reported three Eurasian Collared-Doves from the Tyrone Sewage ponds (10 August).

Caprimulgids: Karen Beckenbach reported a Common Poorwill vocalizing from her Silver City residence on the northern edge of Silver City (17 August). John Wilson and Barbara Smith reported six Nighthawks sp. at Fort Bayard (1 August). Martha Schumann Cooper reported nine Nighthawk sp. above the Highway 211 Bridge near Gila (16 August).

Roadrunners: John Wilson and Barbara Smith report an adult Greater Roadrunner and juvenile in Arenas Valley (21 August).

Hummingbirds: Karen Beckenbach reported a male Magnificent Hummingbird at her feeder located on the northern edge of Silver City (17 August). Karen also reported a female Magnificent Hummingbird at her feeder on 22 and 23 August.

Magnificent Hummingbird photo by Robert Shantz.

September 2005, Arizona

Swallows: A Tree Swallow was reported by Ken Dayer from the Tyrone Sewage ponds (10 August). He also reported three Northern Rough-winged Swallows (10 August); nine Cliff Swallows (31 August); and six, six, two, one Barn Swallows (4, 10, 17, 24 August, respectively) all at the Tyrone Sewage ponds. Wendy Shaul reported that Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows were still present at Tyrone throughout the month of August.

Tree Swallow photo by Robert Shantz.

October 2007, Arizona

Wrens: An adult Rock Wren with two immatures was reported from the Tyrone Sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 10 August).

Warblers: A migrating MacGillivray’s Warbler was reported from the Tyrone Sewage ponds by Ken Dayer (24 August). Ken also reported a Yellow Warbler from the same location (24 August). Roland Shook reported a migrating Black-throated Gray Warbler from the Gila Bird Area (24 August) and two migrating Wilson’s Warblers from the same location and date.

Sparrows: Four, eight and one Lark Sparrows were seen at the Tyrone Sewage ponds (Ken Dayer, 10, 17, 31 August, respectively).

Tanagers: A Western Tanager was reported by Ken Dayer from the Tyrone Sewage ponds on 10 August.

Towhees:  Junella Haynes reported a pair of Canyon Towhees with three chicks at her Silver City residence in early August (6 August).

Bluebirds: Six Western Bluebirds were reported from Fort Bayard (John Wilson and Barbara Smith, 1 August).

Western Bluebird photo by Robert Shantz.

November 2009, Hidalgo Co., NM

Blackbirds: Ken Dayer reported two Yellow-headed Blackbirds from the Tyrone Sewage ponds (31 August).

Orioles: A Scott’s Oriole was reported from Indian Hills (Barbara Smith, reported 21 August).

Grosbeaks: Karen Beckenbach reported a few Black-headed Grosbeaks are still at her feeders on the northern edge of Silver City (25 August). Wendy Shaul reported a Black-headed Grosbeak in her Tyrone yard (21 August).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.

Bird Sightings Report, July 1 to July 31, 2013

Written by Roland on July 31, 2013 – 11:59 pm -

For many species in our area, July is a month of transition between the breeding season to the beginning of migration. Mid to late summer is a time to find wandering individuals in unexpected places.

Species Accounts

Geese: Roland Shook, Linda Moore, and Martha Cooper reported three Canada Geese from the Gila Bird Area (19 July).

Ducks: Ken Dayer reported Mallards from the Tyrone sewage ponds (49 on 7 July; and 35 on 21 July)

Cormorants: Christopher Rustay, Nancy Hetrick, and Wyatt Egelhoff reported a Neotropical Cormorant from Pecan Park in Deming (27 July).

Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus

Photo by Robert Shanz, Willcox, Arizona, 2009

Hawks: Karen Beckenbach reported a Northern Goshawk with the following details, “I also have an adult Goshawk coming by occasionally.  I’ve seen it on July 11th, 14th, 16th, and 17th.  I also saw it in June but forgot to report it.  It had chased a Morning Dove into a window, which killed it.  The next hour or so the Goshawk kept coming around, so I put the dead dove on a rock so it would be easily visible and accessible to the Goshawk.  I saw it come down to the ground walk in side steps to the rock, hop up on the dove, secure its grip then fly off with it.  Very cool!” Karen Beckenbach also  reported a Zone-tailed Hawk nest with young at the Little Walnut Picnic grounds (17 July). Christopher Rustay, Nancy Hetrick, and Wyatt Egelhoff reported a Zone-tailed Hawk flying near Little Toad Creek Inn in the vicinity of Lake Roberts (27 July). Christopher Rustay, Nancy Hetrick, and Wyatt Egelhoff reported a Common Black-Hawk from Bear Canyon Lake in the Mimbres River Valley (28 July). A Peregrine Falcon was seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, Martha Cooper, Linda Moore; 19 July). Ken Dayer reported a Swainson’s Hawk at the Tyrone sewage ponds (7 July).

Photo by Robert Shantz, near Virden, New Mexico, 2003

Shorebirds: Ken Dayer reported seven Spotted Sandpipers from the Tyrone sewage ponds (21 July).

Pigeons: Karen Beckenbach reported Band-tailed Pigeons on a daily basis at her residence on the northern edge of Silver City (as of 17 July).

Nighthawks: A Common Nighthawk was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, Linda Moore and Heather Rux; 4 July).

Hummingbirds: Mike Sauber reported a Calliope Hummingbird that is a regular visitor to his hummingbird feeders (26 July). Junella Haynes reported several Rufous Hummingbirds at her Silver City residence since late July. Ken Dayer reported Black-chinnedRufous, Calliope, and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds at his Silver City  feeders during the month of July.

Woodpeckers: Mary Alice Murphy reported frequent visits of a male Acorn Woodpecker at her residence near W Mountain north of Silver City (18 July). Two American Three-toed Woodpeckers were reported from Willow Creek in the Gila National Forest (Roland Shook, Linda Moore; 17 July).

Flycatchers: A report was received from Karen Beckenbach of a pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers daily visiting her residence on the northern edge of Silver City (as of 17 July). Larry Malone reported a Black Phoebe as an early migrant in Deming (12 July). Junella Haynes reported four or five Western Kingbirds at her Silver City residence in early July. Sixteen Cordilleran Flycatchers were detected along Willow Creek in the Gila National Forest (Roland Shook, 10 July).

Ash-throated Flycatcher Myiarchus cinerascens

Photo by Robert Shantz, Greenlee Co., Arizona, 2009

Corvids: Karen Beckenbach reported Pinyon Jays on a daily basis at her residence on the northern edge of Silver City (as of 17 July). Junella Haynes reported a pair of Ravens (most likely Chihuahuan Ravens) in Ponderosa Pines near her Silver City residence. She believes they are nesting nearby and last year produced three young. No sign of chick as of July 31. Roland Shook reported an American Crow in the Cliff-Gila Valley (2 and 3 July).

Wrens: A pair of Bewick’s Wrens produced young in a nest box at Karen Beckenbach’s residence north of Silver City (17 July).

Gnatcatchers: Roland Shook, Linda Moore and Martha Cooper reported a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher from the Gila Bird Area (19 July).

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Polioptila caerulea

Photo by Robert Shantz, near Virden, 11 September 2007

Phainopeplas: Gene Lewis reported a pair of Phainopeplas at his Silver City residence during the month of July. Wendy Shaul  reported a Phainopepla at her Tyrone residence (23 July).

Warblers: Wendy Shaul reported a Painted Redstart and a Yellow-breasted Chat at the Gila Cliff Dwellings (28 July). One Grace’s Warbler, two Red-faced Warblers, and a MacGillivary’s Warbler were reported from Willow Creek in the Gila National Forest (Roland Shook, Linda Moore; 17 July).

Sparrows: A Rufous-crowned Sparrow was visiting Karen Beckenbach’s yard on a daily basis (17 July). Junella Haynes reported a pair of Canyon Towhees and their three chicks at her Silver City residence all during July. Roland Shook reported three Song Sparrows singing in the Cliff-Gila Valley above the Highway 211 Bridge (2 July) and another record of a singing individual 3 July. An Abert’s Towhee was detected in the Cliff-Gila Valley above the Highway 211 Bridge (3 July).

Rufous-crowned Sparrow Aimophila ruficeps

Photo by Robert Shantz, Bill Evans Lake, 28 November 2009

Tanagers: Larry Malone reported an early migrant Western Tanager from Deming (12 July).

Grosbeaks: Mike Sauber reported a Blue Grosbeak new to his home checklist spotted on 21 July in the middle of an Indian Hills neighborhood. Wendy Shaul reported a Blue Grosbeak at her residence in Tyrone (8, 17, and 23 July).

Buntings: Christopher Rustay, Nancy Hetrick, and Wyatt Egelhoff reported a male and female Lazuli Bunting in the vicinity of Little Toad Creek Inn near Lake Roberts (27 July).

Photo by Robert Shantz, Paradise, Arizona, 2006

Cowbirds: Christopher Rustay, Nancy Hetrick, and Wyatt Egelhoff reported Bronze Cowbirds from Pecan Park in Deming (27 July). Gene Lewis reported a Bronzed Cowbird at his residence in Silver City the first two weeks of July.

Orioles: Dennis Beaver reported a Scott’s Oriole at his Silver City residence (16 July). Christopher Rustay, Nancy Hetrick, and Wyatt Egelhoff reported a Hooded Oriole from Pecan Park in Deming (27 July). Wendy Shaul reported a Hooded Oriole at her Tyrone residence (26 July) and a Scott’s Oriole off the Chisolm Trail south of White Signal (25 July). An additional Hooded Oriole was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, Martha Cooper, Linda Moore; 19 July).

Finches: At least 40 Lesser Goldfinches were visiting daily Karen Beckenbach’s residence on the northern edge of Silver City (as of 17 July). Wendy Shaul reported an American Goldfinch from her Tyrone residence (17 July).

I appreciate all who sent in bird reports. Even thought numbers are important, a list of birds seen in the field also has value. I want to encourage everyone to spend as much time as they can enjoying watching and identifying birds. I will give careful  consideration to all reports that I receive, and will try and include as many reports as I can, even if they do not include numbers of a particular species.

I encourage the submission of records and photos. In order to increase the scientific value of your sightings, I encourage you to please include the number, a date and location for each species, as well as, the full name of the observer. Undated sightings, with or without a location or the number observed, are of a lesser value, however, all submissions are welcome. I do not know where many of you live, so a brief description would be much appreciated.  Please send your photos and reports to tyrannidae@gmail.com. Thanks to all who submitted this month and in the past.

All photographs displayed in this Bird Sightings Report remain the sole property of the photographer. Expressed written permission from the photographer is necessary to use any of these photographs.

Photo of Common Mergansers at the top of this page was taken by Robert Shantz.

Please send comments to Roland Shook.