Bird Sightings Report April 1 to April 30, 2015

Written by Roland on May 1, 2015 – 12:00 am -

In the Silver City area, Spring Migration begins around 15 March and continues to approximately the end of May. April is a month when many migrants first arrive and begin their breeding season. April also represents a time when many winter visitors leave for other locations.

As a “rule of thumb” Common Black Hawks arrive in our area very close to mid-March, while Lucy’s and Yellow Warblers arrive approximately a week later.

SPECIES ACCOUNTS

Ducks, Geese, Swans: Two Wood Ducks were seen by Christopher Rustay, Kim Score and Michael Shoop at Apache Creek Campground in Catron County (18 April). Canada Geese appear to be increasing in the Middle Gila Valley. Once a very uncommon species it is now becoming relative common. Canada Geese were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook and Linda Moore, six on 14 April; Roland Shook, two on 29 April).

Cormorants: A Neotropical Cormorant was reported from Pecan Park in Deming (Christopher Rustay, Kim Score, and Michael Shoop; 19 April).

N Cormorant R Shultz

 

Photo by R Shantz, Patagonia Lake State Park, AZ, 8 April 2006

Bitterns, Herons: Christopher Rustay, Kim Score and Michael Shoop, reported a Cattle Egret at the Lordsburg Playa on 18 April and a Great Egret at the same location on 19 April.

Ibises, Spoonbills: Paul Boucher reported 20 White-faced Ibis at the Silver City Golf Course on 26 April.

American Vultures: Gene Lewis sent the following note on 29 April, “You may not know of the roosting place for Turkey Vultures right here in town. For many years they roost near where 20thStreet crosses Pinos Altos Creek. Last Sunday, April 26, the storm kept the birds in the tree and I counted about 30 of them. If I happen to be looking out our east window at the right time in the morning I see them leaving and some of them move west and circle right over my house. In the evening I see them wandering toward the roosting tree”.

Kites, Eagles, Hawks: Ken Dayer reported a Zone-tailed Hawk from Little Cherry Creek (19 April).

Cranes: Elaine Halbedel reported a lone Sandhill Crane two miles west of Silver City (22 April).

Sandpipers, Shorebirds: Two Willets were reported from the Lordsburg Sewage Ponds by Christopher Rustay, Kim Score, and Michael Shoop (19 April).

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers: An adult breeding plumage California Gull was reported from the Lordsburg Sewage Ponds (Christopher Rustay, Kim Score and Michael Shoop, 19 April).

Typical Owls: Wendy Shaul reports Great Horned Owls nesting with three youngsters in Tyrone (no specific date in April). Linda Moore reported a vocalizing Western Screech Owl (9 April) and a vocalizing Elf Owl (28 April) at her residence near Bill Evans Lake.

Nightjars: A dawn singing Mexican Whip-poor-will was reported  at Cherry Creek Campground (Sandy Williams, 22 April).

Hummingbirds: Rachelle Bergmann reported a Black-chinned Hummingbird visiting her feeder in Silver City (5 April).

Tyrant Flycatchers: Six pairs of Vermillion Flycatchers have been detected at the Silver City Golf Course beginning 1 April (Paul Boucher). An Ash-throated Flycatcher was reported by Ken Dayer from Little Cherry Creek (19 April). A Brown-crested Flycatcher arrived in the Gila Bird Area on 29 April (Roland Shook)

V Flycatcher R Shantz

Photo by R. Shantz, Tucson, AZ, 10 March 2003

Vireos: Singing Bell’s Vireo were detected in the Gila Bird Area through the month of April with at least 13 detected on 22 April (Roland Shook).

Jays, Magpies, Crows: Teri Matelson and Patricia Taber reported a flock of approximately 150 ravens on Signal Peak Road. Patricia said, “Calls all sounded like Common Raven” (16 April).

Chickadees, Titmice: Ken Dayer reported three Mountain Chickadees from Little Cherry Creek (19 April).

Wrens: Roland Shook reported a migrating House Wren from the Gila Bird Area (14 April).

H Wren R Shantz

Photo by R. Shantz, Apache National Forest, AZ, 5 August, 2007

Thrushes: Sandy Williams reported eight Hermit Thrushes singing at Cherry Creek Campground on the evening and morning of 15 and 16 April. Kate Schilling reported two Swainson’s Thrushes seen in Silver City (approximately 16 April).

Waxwings: Eight Cedar Waxwings were seen in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook and Linda Moore, 14 April). Gene Lewis reported a flock of approximately 60 Cedar Waxwings in Silver City (26 April).

Wood-Warblers: A Black-throated Gray Warbler  was reported from Little Cherry Creek (Ken Dayer, 19 April). Sandy Williams reported approximately five Black-throated Gray Warblers at the Forks Campground on the upper Gila River (1 and 2 April). Five Painted Redstarts and a Virginia Warbler were detected at Little Cherry Creek (Ken Dayer, 19 April). Ken also saw Olive and Grace’s Warblers on Meadow Creek Road and at Cherry Creek Campground (19 April). Ken Dayer reported three Painted Redstarts from Cherry Creek Campground (19 April).  Elaine Halbedel reported an Orange-crowned Warbler in the southern Burro Mountains (specific April date unknown). The number of migrating warblers in our area appears to be greatly reduced this year.

Black-throated Gray Warbler R Shantz

Photo by R. Shantz, Apache National Forest, AZ, 4 September 2011

Sparrows: A Swamp and White-throated Sparrow was reported at Mangas Springs (Christopher Rustay, Kim Score and Michael Shoop, 18 April). An Abert’s Towhee was singing throughout the month of April in the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook and Linda Moore). Although this species is known to breed farther up the Gila River near the towns of Cliff and Gila, this appears to be the first known breeding attempt in the Gila Bird Area where this species is rarely detected.

Tanagers, Cardinals, Grosbeaks: Rachelle Bergmann reported a Summer Tanager feeding on a suet cake in her Silver City yard (26 April). The season’s  first reported Summer Tanager from the Gila Bird Area was detected by Roland Shook on 8 April.

TanagerFeeder3 Rachelle Bergmann 26 Aprilmod

Photo by Rachelle Bergmann, Silver City, 26 April

Blackbirds, Orioles: Roland Shook and Linda Moore reported three Hooded Orioles in the Gila Bird Area (14 April) and Roland Shook reported three on 29 April. Two Bullock’s Orioles were detected in the Gila Bird Area on 22 April and one on 8 April.

H Oriole R Shantz Steeple Rock

Photo by R. Shantz, Lower Steeple Rock Canyon, NM, 16 April 2004

Finches: Gene Lewis reported 19 Cassin’s Finches from his residence in Silver City (19 April)

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, April 1 to April 30, 2014

Written by Roland on April 30, 2014 – 11:59 pm -

Status of the Tyrone sewage ponds – Ken Dayer writes, “Even though, the Tyrone Ponds have not had enough water for ducks for some time, there were always small pools of water available. By April 14th, all the pools finally dried up and no more water. The Tyrone Property Association plan on removing the dried sewer sludge from the bottom of the ponds, removing the concrete and fencing, and leveling the area out some time before monsoon season.”

eBird – some of the sightings listed below were mined from eBird (eBird.org). Recently Christopher Rustay gave an excellent talk at a recent meeting of the Southwestern Audubon Society on eBird. I would encourage all birders to use this resource both to enter bird sightings and to see what other individuals are reporting in the area. Many local birders report sightings the same day as they are recorded in the field so it is possible to know what birds are found in what locations within a few hours/days of their sightings.

Species Account

Ducks, Geese, Swans: Two Blue-winged Teal were reported from Mangas Springs (Brian Dolton, 26 April).

Pheasants, Grouse, Turkeys: Three groups of gobbling Wild Turkeys were reported in the Gila Bird Area by Martha Schumann (ca. 21 April).

Cormorants: Five unidentified cormorants (probably Double-crested Cormorans) were seen flying along Highway 180 (Martha Schumann, 15 April).

Bitterns, Herons: Brian Dolton reported a Great Egret at the Iron Bridge (26 April).

Photo by Robert Shantz, near Willcox, Az, 21 November 2009

Ibises, Spoonbills: White-faced Ibis was sighted at Mangas Springs (Brian Dolton, one on 17 April and 33 on 26 April).

Kites, Eagles, Hawks: Brian Dolton reported a Mississippi Kite from the Iron Bridge. It appeared to be a first year bird (26 April). A Swainson’s Hawk was seen by Brian Dolton in the Cliff/Gila Valley (9 April). Two Zone-tailed Hawks were reported from the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (17 April). A Zone-tailed Hawk was reported from the Tyrone sewage ponds by Gary Shirk (29 April via eBird).

Rails, Gallinules, Coots: A Virginia Rail was heard at Mangas Springs (Brian Dolton, 11 and 17 April). Also a Sora was reported by Brian Dolton at Mangas Springs (11 and 17 April).

Photo by Robert Shantz, Patagonia Lake State Park, AZ, 5 March 2014

Cranes: Martha Schumann reported a lone, lingering Sandhill Crane in the Cliff/Gila Valley (28 April).

Sandpipers, Shorebirds: A Greater Yellowlegs was seen from the 211 Bridge near Gila by Roland Shook and Brian Dolton (9 April). Two Wilson’s Snipe were seen along an irrigation canal in the Cliff/Gila Valley by Brian Dolton and Roland Shook (9 April).

Pigeons and Doves: Linda Moore reported a Common Ground-Dove from her property on the Gila River near Bill Evans Lake (6 April).

Photo by Linda Moore, near Bill Evans Lake, 6 April 2014

Hummingbirds: Junella Haynes reported four Black-chinned Hummingbirds from her backyard (from 14 April to end of the month).

Kingfishers: Roland Shook and Brian Dolton reported a Belted Kingfisher from the Gila River near the Highway 211 Bridge near Gila (9 April).

Woodpeckers: Mary Alice Murphy reports Acorn Woodpeckers feeding on suet at her residence near “W” mountain (daily at least through 5 April). Ken Dayer reported a female Williamson’s Sapsucker and two female Downy Woodpeckers along Highway 15 from Pinos Altos to Cherry Creek Campground (20 April). An Acorn Woodpecker and two Gila Woodpeckers were reported from the Cliff/Gila Valley by Brian Dolton and Roland Shook (9 April). A Gila Woodpecker was reported from the Gila Bird Area  by Roland Shook and Linda Moore (15 April) and an additional one on 21 April. BarbaraAnne Rich reported a Downy Woodpecker from McMillen Campground and another at Cherry Creek Campground (23 April via eBird).

Caracaras, Falcons: Three American Kestrels were reported from the Cliff/Gila Valley by Brian Dolton and Roland Shook (9 April). An American Kestrel was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 17 April).

Tyrant Flycatchers: An Ash-throated Flycatcher was reported by Patricia Taber at her Silver City residence (25 April). Brian Dolton reported a Willow Flycatcher at Mangas Springs (26 April). Two Gray Flycatchers were reported near the stock tank on the road to Jack’s Peak (Brian Dolton, 24 April).

Shrikes: A Loggerhead Shrike was reported by Ken Dayer from the Tyrone sewage ponds (13 April).

Vireos: Two Cassin’s Vireos were reported along Highway 15 from Pinos Altos to Cherry Creek Campground (Ken Dayer, 20 April). A Cassin’s Vireo was reported by BarbaraAnne Rich at Cherry Creek Campground (23 April via eBird).

Swallows: Brian Dolton reported a Tree Swallow from the Iron Bridge (26 April).

Nuthatches: A Pygmy Nuthatch was reported by Ken Dayer along Highway 15 from Pinos Altos to Cherry Creek Campground (20 April).

Creepers: Ken Dayer reported two Brown Creepers along Highway 15 between Pinos Altos and Cherry Creek Campground (20 April).

Wrens: Two migrating House Wrens and a resident Canyon Wren were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 4 April and 17 April)).

Gnatcatchers: A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was reported by Brian Dolton from his Indian Hills residence (ca.20 April). Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were reported from the Gila Bird Area by Roland Shook (two on  17 April and one on 21 April).

Photo by Robert Shantz, Whiskey Creek, Grant Co., NM, 11 September 2007

Wood-Warblers: Patricia Taber reported a Wilson’s Warbler at her Silver City residence (25 April). Yellow- rumped Warblers, Grace’s Warblers, seven Red-faced Warblers, eight Painted Redstarts, and three Black-throated Gray Warblers were seen by Ken Dayer along Highway 15 from Pinos Altos to Cherry Creek Campground (20 April). An Orange-crowned Warbler and a MacGillvray’s Warbler were seen by Ken Dayer at his Silver City residence (20-30 April). A Grace’s Warbler was seen near the stock tank on the road to Jack’s Peak (Brian Dolton, 24 April). A Black-throated Gray Warbler was reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook, 4 April). Lesa Andree reported two Painted Redstarts and two Red-faced Warblers at McMillen Campground (23 April via eBird).

Sparrows: Teri Matelson reported two White-throated Sparrows at her Silver City residence during the last week of April. Ken Dayer reported two Lark Sparrows from the Tyrone sewage ponds (19 April). Two Yellow-eyed Juncos were seen from the top of Jack’s Peak (Brian Dolton, 26 April). An Abert’s Towhee was heard in the Cliff/Gila Valley by Brian Dolton and Roland Shook (9 April). Three Green-tailed Towhees were reported from the Gila Bird Area (Roland Shook and Linda Moore, 15 April).

Tanagers, Cardinals, Grosbeaks: Kim Muller reported a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at her feeders on the north end of Redrock Road in the Burro Mountains (21 April). Bob Barnes reported a bird from his yard (Hillsboro, Sierra County, New Mexico, 30 April).  It appears to me to be a hybrid Western x Summer Tanager.  It comports well with the images at: http://www.azfo.net/gallery/2009/html1/Hybrid_Western_X_Summer_Tanager_RRSP_Gatlin_20090525.html. Ken Dayer reported a Pyrrhuloxia from the Tyrone sewage ponds (19 April).  Junella Haynes reports approximately eight Black-headed Grosbeaks and two Summer Tanagers from her backyard (from 14 April to end of the month). A Hepatic Tanager was reported from the top of Jack’s Peak (Brian Dolton, 24 April). A Western Tanager was seen from the Iron Bridge on 26 April (Brian Dolton).

Photo by Kim Muller, Burro Mountains, 21 April 2014

Photo by Bob Barnes, Hillsboro, 30 April 2014

Photo by Bob Barnes, Hillsboro, 30 April 2014

Blackbirds, Orioles: Two Hooded Orioles and four Bullock’s Orioles were reported by Junella Haynes from her backyard (from 14 April to end of the month).

Finches: Numerous Pine Siskins were were seen by Ken Dayer at his Silver City residence (20-30 April). Junella Haynes reported House Finches feeding chicks in her backyard (from 14 April to end of the month.

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.