Bird Sightings Report May 1 to May 31, 2015

Written by Roland on May 31, 2015 – 11:59 pm -

May had been an unusual month for migrating warblers. In four trips to the Gila Bird Area, I saw no warblers with the exception of Lucy’s, Yellow, or Yellow-rumped. The usual migrating Wilson’s, MacGillivray’s, Orange-crowned, and Virginia’s Warblers were not detected in the GBA during the 2015 spring migration.

Quiz Bird

The bird below can, at times be difficult to identify. The answer to the quiz, with some helpful insights from Dale Zimmerman is at the end of this post.

Bendire's 3912-1mod

 Photo by Shelly Jacobs, San Simon, AZ 24 May 2015

Species Account

Ducks, Geese, Swan: A report of six ( 14 May) and two (29 May) from the GBA was received from Roland Shook.

New World Quail: Montezuma Quail crossing Hwy 15 near Mile Marker 22 (24 May) was reported by Brian Dolton.

Bitterns, Herons: The Great Blue Heron rookery in the middle Gila Valley has at least two active nests with young (Denise Friedrick, 18 May).

Ibises, Spoonbills: Linda Moore and Allena Thompson reported approximately 40 White-faced Ibis in a flooded field north of the Highway 180 bridge across the Gila River (20 May).

Kites, Eagles, Hawks: Twenty-two active Common Black Hawk nests have been located in the middle Gila Valley between the water gauge in the north to the Gila Bird Area in the south. Another active Common Black Hawk nest was reported by Linda Moore north of Alma on the San Francisco River. Jarrod Schwackhamer reported an acive Common Black Hawk nest along the San Vicente trail below Silver City. This nest is not too far from the construction on the new Hudson Street bridge. An immature Golden Eagle was seen flying over Sapillo Creek by Brian Dolton (24 May).

Cuckoos, Roadrunners, Anis: On 16 May, Karen Beckenbach reported one or two Yellow-billed Cuckoos vocalizing along San Vicente Creek. Yellow-billed Cuckoos were reported from the middle Gila Valley near the town of Cliff on 28 May (Roland Shook).

Typical Owls: Karen Beckenbach reported an active Great Horned Owl nest along San Vicente Creek (16 May).

Nightjars: A Mexican Whip-poor-will was reported from Railroad Canyon by Patricia Taber (11 and 12 May). Patricia also reported a Common Poorwill from the same location and dates. Roland Shook reported a Common Poorwill on the road into the GBA (8 May). This species is becoming less and less common during weekly trips to the Bird Area.

Woodpeckers: A pair of Hairy Woodpeckers were reported by Rachelle Bergmann from her Silver City residence (21 – 25 May).

Tyrant Flycatchers: Two Greater Pewees and two calling Dusky-capped Flycatchers were reported from Cherry Creek Campground by David Beatty and his niece (7 May). A pair of Greater Pewees calling continuously at Cherry Creek Campground was reported by Brian Dolton (24 May).

Vireos: A Bell’s Vireo was reported from Railroad Canyon (Patricia Taber, 11 and 12 May). Brian Dolton reported a pair of Hutton’s Vireos at Little Cherry Creek Ranch Road (24 May).

Swallows: Brian Dolton reported Purple Matins at Lake Roberts (24 May).

Chickadees, Titmice: Karen Beckenbach reported that a Juniper Titmouse nest at north of Silver City fledged 3 young (ca. 26 May).

20070912Titmouse01N

 

Photo by Robert Shantz, Apache National Forest, 12 September 2007

Wrens: Eleven migrating House Wrens were detected in the GBA by Roland Shook (8 May).

Thrushes: A Hermit Thrush was reported by Patricia Taber from Railroad Canyon (11 and 12 May).

Waxwings: Roland Shook reported eight and ten Cedar Waxwings from the GBA (14 May and 22 May, respectively).

Silky-flycatchers: Rachelle Bergmann reported four Phainopeplas at her Silver City residence (22 May).

Wood-Warblers: A Wilson’s Warbler was reported from Indian Hills by Paul Boucher (5 May). David Beatty and his niece reported multiple Red-faced Warblers and at least half a dozen Painted Redstarts from Cherry Creek Campground (7 May). Patricia Taber reported both a Red-faced Warbler and a Townsend’s Warblers at Railroad Canyon (11 and 12 May).

Sparrows: Paul Boucher reported a Black-chinned Sparrow from Indian Hills (5 May). On 9 May, Karen Beckenbach reported fully fledged Dark-eyed Junco young at Cherry Creek Campground. An Abert’s Towhee was still present in the GBA (8 May and 22 May). This species likely nested in the GBA this year. Rachelle Bergmann reported three White-crowned Sparrows at her Silver City residence (3 May).

Tanagers, Cardinals, Grosbeaks: A Western Tanager was reported by Patricia Taber from Railroad Canyon (11 and 12 May). Carrie Johannes reported a pair of Hepatic Tanagers visiting her feeders in Indian Hills for several days (approximately 7 to 16 May). A male (3 May) and a female (29 May) Black-headed Grosbeak were reported by Rachelle Bergmann from her Silver City residence. Linda Zatopek reported a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the Axle Canyon Ecological Preserve in the Burro Mountains (30 May).

Grosbeak Rachelle Bergmannmod

Photo by Rochelle Bergmann, Silver City, 29 May 2015

Blackbirds, Orioles: Irene Mossburg reported a pair of Bullock’s Orioles at her birdbath (4 May). Gene Lewis reported a Bronze Cowbird visiting his Silver City feeder (9 May to 25 May).  A reported  Scott’s Oriole  visited the Axle Canyon Ecological Preserve in the Burro Mountains (Linda Zatopek) throughout the month of May.

David Griffin submitted the following lists for his trips on the lower Gila River 16, 17 May.

Virden Bridge at the Gila River, 16 May
Zone-tailed Hawk Delete
Lesser Nighthawk
Gila Woodpecker
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Vermilion Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher 3 were in fruiting mulberry trees northeast of bridge
Bell’s Vireo
Lucy’s Warbler 13
Yellow Warbler 4
Yellow-breasted Chat 3
Abert’s Towhee 3
White-crowned Sparrow 35
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Pyrrhuloxia
Blue Grosbeak
Virden Bridge at the Gila River, 16 May
Zone-tailed Hawk Delete
Lesser Nighthawk
Gila Woodpecker
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Vermilion Flycatcher
Brown-crested Flycatcher 3 were in fruiting mulberry trees northeast of bridge
Bell’s Vireo
Lucy’s Warbler 13
Yellow Warbler 4
Yellow-breasted Chat 3
Abert’s Towhee 3
White-crowned Sparrow 35
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Pyrrhuloxia
Blue Grosbeak
Gila Lower Box Canyon ACEC – Nichols Canyon area, 17 May
Wild Turkey 3
Common Black Hawk
Zone-tailed Hawk
Gila Woodpecker 7
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Greater Pewee Delete
Western Wood-Pewee 85(!)  Many, many, migrating pewees here.
Willow Flycatcher 9
Hammond’s Flycatcher
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Vermilion Flycatcher 20
Brown-crested Flycatcher Nesting in woodpecker cavity about 5 meters from Ash-throated Flycatcher nest
Bell’s Vireo 20
Warbling Vireo Delete
Purple Martin 1 Foraging in Nichols Canyon with flock of Violet-green Swallows
White-breasted Nuthatch (Interior West) 4 This bird is hard to find here; pair feeding nestlings. One other pair observed
Lucy’s Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler 68(!) So many yellow warblers at this location. 3 observations of female feeding recent fledglings
Wilson’s Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Abert’s Towhee 6
Song Sparrow Heard singing only; also heard what sounded like begging calls from nestlings or recently-fledged young near one known breeding site.
Summer Tanager
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting 1 singing male (photo)
Hooded Oriole
Bullock’s Oriole
Pine Siskin 2
Turkey Vulture and Zone-tailed Hawk_Nichols Canyon GLBC_17 May 2015_P1070224mod
Photo by David Griffin, Nichols Canyon, 17 May 2015
Dunagan Crossing (Animas valley), 26 May 
Botteri’s Sparrow 2 – (previously found May 10th by Narca Moore-Craig); male singing and calling (photos)
Botteri's Sparrow_Dunagan Crossing Animas Valley_26 May 2015_P1070457Mod

Photo by Dave Griffin, Dunagan Crossing, 26 May 2015

Ken Dayer submitted the following extensive lists from his trips to Little Cherry Creek 23, 25 and 30 May.

May 23 – Little Cherry Creek

Turkey Vulture – 4
American Robin – 7
Ravens – 4
Canyon Wren – 8
Acorn Woodpecker – 1
Hairy Woodpecker – 1
Northern Flicker – 2
Spotted Towhee – 13
White-breasted Nuthatch – 10
Black-headed Grosbeak – 2
Western Tanager – 3
Mountain Chickadee – 3
Mexican Jay – 4
Steller’s Jay – 1
Brown Creeper – 2
Pygmy Nuthatch – 2
Bridled Titmouse – 3
Broad-tailed Hummingbird – 4
Black-chinned Hummingbird – 3
Hermit Thrush – 2
Bushtit – 7
Dark-eyed Junco – 6
Grace’s Warbler – 1
Virginia’s Warbler – 1
Painted Redstart – 5
Yellow-rumoed Warbler – 2
Black-throated Gray Warbler – 1
Red-faced Warbler – 4
Plumbeous Vireo – 7
Hutton’s Vireo – 2
Western Wood Pewee – 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher – 3

May 25 – Little Cherry Creek

Turkey Vulture – 3
American Robin – 5
Ravens – 2
Canyon Wren – 11
Hairy Woodpecker – 2
Spotted Towhee – 14
White-breasted Nuthatch – 7
Black-headed Grosbeak – 4
Western Tanager – 4
Mountain Chickadee – 5
Mexican Jay – 1
Steller’s Jay – 1
Brown Creeper – 1
Pygmy Nuthatch – 1
Broad-tailed Hummingbird – 2
Black-chinned Hummingbird – 1
Hermit Thrush – 2
Bushtit – 1
Dark-eyed Junco – 4
Olive Warbler – 1
Virginia’s Warbler – 1
Painted Redstart – 11
Black-throated Gray Warbler –1
Red-faced Warbler – 10
Plumbeous Vireo – 11
Warbling Vireo – 4
Western Wood Pewee – 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher – 2
Mourning Dove – 2
Violet Green Swallow – 1

May 30 – Little Cherry Creek

Turkey Vulture – 1
American Robin – 10
Ravens – 3
Canyon Wren – 4
Hairy Woodpecker – 3
Northern Flicker – 3
Spotted Towhee – 7
White-breasted Nuthatch – 4
Black-headed Grosbeak – 5
Western Tanager – 1
Mountain Chickadee – 8
Western Scrub Jay – 1
Steller’s Jay – 11
Broad-tailed Hummingbird – 1
Hermit Thrush – 5
Bushtit – 4
Dark-eyed Junco – 13
Olive Warbler – 1
Painted Redstart – 5
Black-throated Gray Warbler – 1
Red-faced Warbler – 13
Plumbeous Vireo – 10
Warbling Vireo – 1
Western Wood Pewee – 1
Cordilleran Flycatcher – 9
Montezuma Quail – 2
House Wren – 1
Bridled Titmouse – 1
Cassin’s Finch – 1

 

Answer to Quiz Bird

Bendire's Thrashermod

Photo by Shelly Jacobs, San Simon, AZ, 24 May 2015

Dale Zimmerman writes: “It shows a Bendire’s Thrasher. Note the shape of the small, often triangular breast spots, that point upward. The eye is clear yellow, not yellow-orange.  The gonys is quite straight.  I cannot detect the color of the mandibular ramus.  Too bad the observer didn’t report on vocalizations.  – DAZ

Young Curve-billed Thrashers are often mistaken for this species. In the field when views are often fleeting, this species can be difficult to positively identify.

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, 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.