|Total||# in Mohave||Date||Obs.|
|78||0||1 Mar||DVP, LHar|
|31||10||24 Mar||DVP, LHar|
|23||8||5 April||DVP, RA|
Other Greater Scaup reports:
|9||From Take Off Pt.||1 Mar||DVP, LHar|
|14||n. end of L. Havasu||3 Mar||LHar, DVP|
|2||Rotary Park||7 Mar||LHar|
|35||outer Bill Williams Arm||15 Mar||DVP|
|4||Rotary Park||18 Mar||DVP, LHar|
|5||off Pittsburgh Pt||24 Mar||LHar, DVP|
|10||n. end of L. Havasu||2 April||DVP, LHar, m. ob.|
|1||Rotary Park||13 April||DVP|
|1||n. end of L. Havasu||20 April||DVP|
|10||n. end of L. Havasu||29 April||DVP|
|1||n. end of L. Havasu||4 May||LHar|
The two wintering female Black Scoters in the BWD continued until 5 Apr (m. obs.). A Long-tailed Duck that spent its time on the La Paz Co. side of the BWD made a brief foray into Mohave Co. waters 1 Mar (DVP, LHar, JWe). Lingering Buffleheads, casual after mid-April, included nine at the n. end of L. Havasu 26 Apr (DVP) with five there 29 Apr (DVP). Different individuals still migrating through the n. end of L. Havasu included singles 8 May, 10 May, and 17 May, and six 11 May (all DVP). One at Rotary Park 3 May (LHar) was the only other May report. With no April records for Hooded Merganser in Rosenberg et al. a male at the n. end of L. Havasu 2 Apr (DVP, LHar, m. obs.) and a female at Rotary Park 13-14 Apr (ph DVP), were noteworthy. Fairly common but irregular in the LCRV, the largest flock of Red-breasted Mergansers this spring was 120 on 8 Apr at the n. end of L. Havasu (LHar, DVP, m. obs.). Ruddy Duck migration in the LCRV is not well known so an increase in birds in late February at the n. end of L. Havasu with a peak of 130 on 3 Mar (LHar, DVP) was of interest. By 2 Apr only 50 remained (LHar, DVP) after which counts were always below 10 with the last being three on 24 May (DVP). A rare breeder, Ruddy Ducks were also confirmed breeding with an adult with four young 30 May at S. Topock Marsh (DDe). A Wild Turkey at Pipe Springs NM in the Arizona Strip 7 May (SSc), likely wandered from nearby areas of known occurrence. One seen 19 Mar-mid-Apr (JPz, DPi) in the BWR NWR was believed to have been a local escapee.
Up to 12 Common Loons were consistently seen on the Arizona side (often with more on the California side) of L. Havasu until 28 Apr (DVP, LHar). It is not known how many of these were lingering wintering birds as opposed to migrants passing through. Three on L Havasu, 11 May (DVP), may attempt to summer or were late migrants while two at Telephone Cove, L. Mohave 3 May (JPar) were likely migrants. Wintering Horned Grebes continued into March on both L. Havasu and L. Mohave with the latest being 11 Mar when four were seen on the Arizona side of L. Havasu (LHar, DVP). One at the n. end of L. Havasu 9 Apr (DVP, LHar) was in alternate plumage and a likely migrant. Eared Grebe is a fairly common migrant on L. Havasu, sometimes in large flocks in late April or early May. Surprisingly large numbers outside of this period were 310 on 8 Apr at the n end of L Havasu (DVP, LHar), 800 off Rotary Park on 14 Apr (LHar). 100 birds at this location 11 May (DVP) were noteworthy. This and previous reports suggest a more protracted migration period than previously recognized. These numbers were surpassed by a record high count of 6300 on L. Havasu 16 Apr (DVP). Away from L. Havasu large flocks are rarely reported, so one comprised of 160 on S. Topock Marsh (DDe) was of interest. On occasion Eared Grebes in alternate plumage will linger through the summer though as of yet there have been no signs of breeding. This was again true with eight at the northern end of L. Havasu and one at Rotary Park that continued to the end of the season (both DVP), as well as five at Catfish Paradise 30 May (DDe). Continuing the recent trend of rare but regular, single Neotropic Cormorants were at the Island STP, LHC 11 Mar – 13 Apr (ph DVP) and at the BWD 28 Apr-4 May (DVP). A Double-crested Cormorant rookery, first discovered in January near Catfish Paradise HNWR, increased to nine occupied nests with an additional two nests under construction 16 Apr (DDe). Three juveniles and at least 29 adults were seen in and around the site. On 22 May only two nests were observed (JWe), and on 30 May four nests with adults were seen, although no juveniles were in evidence (DDe). Uncommon as a spring migrant in the LCRV American White Pelicans were seen several times including three at the n. end of Topock Marsh 3 Mar (DDe), 235 flying over S. Topock Marsh 11 Mar (DDe), four in the BWD 18 Mar (KB), ~100 over Pintail Slough HNWR on 7 Apr (DDe, KN), a flock of 160 flying high n. over L Havasu on 26 Apr (DVP, LHar), and one on Topock Marsh 3 May (DVP). The only known Great Blue Herons nesting within the Big Sandy R. watershed are cliff-nesting birds near Burro Creek Campground. Five nests with nestlings were noted there 28 May (LBH). Cattle Egrets are rare north of Parker in the LCRV; this spring reports included one at Rotary Park 8 Apr (DVP), one at the n end of L. Havasu 20 Apr (DVP), 10 at Rotary Park 5 May (DVP), and two at the Island STP, LHC 9 May (DVP).
With no prior evidence of nesting in the LCRV an Osprey carrying sticks 9 Apr over Beal L., HNWR (LHar, DVP), and two circling together over S. Topock Marsh, HNWR 19 Apr (DDe) was tantalizing evidence, but nesting was not confirmed. A casual migrant in the LCRV, a Common Black-Hawk was at North Burn, BWR NWR 23 Mar (V. Kuczynski, A. McDonnel), whereas one at Cougar Pt. BWR NWR (both La Paz and Mohave counties) 12 Apr (DVP) was likely a returning bird summering. A Harris’s Hawk east of Yucca 4 May (ph. SKi) was northwest of previous records for the state. Apparently a family group has been visiting this location for the past couple of years. Small numbers of Swainson’s Hawks move through the LCRV each spring. Three were recorded this year: one 4 Apr at the Bermuda Pasture restoration site, HNWR (m. obs.), one Apr 14 just north of HNWR (N. Behl), and one near the town of Mohave Valley 2 May (DVP). A bird at Pipe Springs NM 8 May (SSc) was in an area where they might breed (Atlas). A Merlin was late 28 Apr at the Island STP, LHC (LHar, DVP). With few April records of Prairie Falcon for the LCRV one 14 Apr over the Island STP, LHC (LHar, DVP) was of interest. The species is rare in May and so individuals 12 May over Rotary Park (LHar) and another at the north end of L. Havasu 18 May (LHar) were of interest. All may have been the same bird, perhaps a nonbreeding bird or one wandering from nearby desert mountains where they nest.
With less habitat for shorebirds in the northern than the southern end of the LCRV, they generally overfly the region in spring. This year, however, there was a good diversity. A Black-bellied Plover, adorned in its alternate finery, graced Rotary Park 8 Apr (CMc) and almost certainly the same bird was at the Island STP, LHC 11-20 Apr (MN, RA; ph. DVP). American Avocets are casual after mid-May so 10 on 23 May at Rotary Park (DVP) were noteworthy. Rare but regular in the LCRV one Solitary Sandpiper at the Island STP, LHC 28 Apr-5 May (LHar) was joined by a second on the latter date (DVP). A third individual was at Pintail Slough, HNWR 7 May (DDe). Greater Yellowlegs are rarely encountered in the LCRV after mid-April so one at the Island STP, LHC 27 Apr- 10 May (DVP) and another at HNWR 7-8 May (JPar, m. obs.) were of note. Lesser Yellowlegs are another rare shorebird in spring; one at the Island STP, LHC 3-5 May (LHar) was joined by a second individual on the later date (DVP). Most spring reports of Whimbrel in the northern half of the LCRV are of birds flying by, and two flying over Bermuda Pasture, HNWR on the early date of 28 Mar (DDe) were no exception. Marbled Godwit is regular in small numbers in the LCRV but 84 was a recent high count Apr 9 at Rotary Park (LHar, DVP). Casual to rare in the LCRV in spring two Sanderlings made a brief appearance at Rotary Park, LHC 27 Apr (DVP). Least Sandpipers are rare in the LCRV after the third week of April so 14 at the Island STP, LHC and seven at Rotary Park 28 Apr (DVP) were noteworthy. The species continued to be seen into May with seven 3 May (LHar) and 10 on 5 May at the Island STP, LHC (DVP). Even later, four on 13 May and six on 14 May at Pintail Slough (DDe) were record late dates for the LCRV. Another casual spring migrant, a Dunlin stopped at the Island STP, LHC 26-28 Apr (ph. DVP). A Wilson’s Snipe at the Island STP, LHC 9-12 May (DVP, CMc) was late. While sometimes occurring in large numbers, only four Red-necked Phalaropes were recorded this spring, all on 9 May at the n. end of L. Havasu (DVP, LHar) indicating that it is likely irregular in spring in the LCRV.
Bonaparte’s Gull is considered casual in spring in the LCRV so a flock of 45 at the n. end of L. Havasu and 44 at Rotary Park for a total of 89 birds 30 Mar (DVP, LHar) came as a surprise and is likely a new high count for the LCRV. The next day 31 Mar only 10 were still present at the end of L. Havasu (LHar, DVP). Other sightings included one on L. Havasu off Pittsburgh Pt. 28 Apr (DVP), two adults at the n. end of L. Havasu on 8 May (DVP), and three birds comprising one adult and two immatures also at the n. end of L. Havasu 9 May (DVP, LHar). In recent years a rare to uncommon migrant, small numbers of Franklin’s Gulls passed through the LCRV this spring: seven 12 Apr at the n. end of L. Havasu (DVP), one at the n. end of L. Havasu 26 Apr (DVP, LHar), a flock of 27 at Rotary Park 3 May (LHar), one on L. Havasu off Pittsburgh Pt. 5 May (DVP), and two at the n. end of L. Havasu on 11 May (DVP). Ring-billed Gull is considered rare in the LCRV after mid-April. In line with this, ~100 of the wintering flock were present until Apr 14 (DVP, LHar) and quickly decreased to 30 by 5 May (DVP). Unprecedented were small flocks of Ring-billed Gulls flying high over Pintail Slough HNWR totaling 130 individuals 5 May (DDe). The only other report away from L. Havasu came from Catfish Paradise where three were seen 22 May (JWe). California Gull has formerly been considered a rare winter visitor away from Bullhead City and to be a fairly common migrant, sometimes in significant numbers, from mid-March through April. However, in recent years it has been found to be regular in May and even into June. Two birds at Rotary Park 2 Mar (LHar) were likely early spring migrants.
Many reports of Ring-billed Gull on L. Havasu after May 5:
|11||Rotary Park||8-9 May||DVP|
|1||N. end of L Havasu||9 May||DVP|
|2||Rotary Park||9 May||LHar|
|3||N.end of L Havasu||11 May||LHar|
|23||Rotary Park||11 May||DVP|
|6||Rotary Park||12 May||LHar|
|1||Mesquite Bay||14 May||CMc|
|4||Rotary Park||15-17 May||DVP, LHar|
|7||Rotary Park||18 May||DVP|
|2||Rotary Park||23-24 May||DVP|
May reports of California Gull on L. Havasu:
|3||Rotary Park||9 May||DVP|
|1||N. end of L Havasu||9 May||DVP, LHar|
|3||Rotary Park||10 May||DVP|
|10||L Havasu||10-11 May||DVP|
|6||Rotary Park||12 May||LHar|
|1||Rotary Park||15 May||DVP|
|4||N. end of L Havasu||17 May||DVP|
|9||Rotary Park||17 May||DVP, LHar|
|1||Rotary Park||18 May||DVP|
|3||N. end of L Havasu||24 May||DVP|
|1||Rotary Park||24 May||DVP|
|1||Rotary Park||26 May||DVP, LHar|
A Herring Gull at Katherine Landing 6 Mar (CG, RT) was the last of the wintering birds reported. Spring migrants included a third cycle bird at Rotary Park 8 Apr (CMc) and a second cycle bird on the late date of 26 Apr at the n. end of L. Havasu (DVP, LHar). Caspian Tern is considered a rare to uncommon spring migrant from late March to late May in the LCRV. 35 individuals were above average 26 Mar-11 May (m. obs.). Twelve at Catfish Paradise HNWR May 30 (DDe) were most likely late northern migrants. A rare spring migrant in the LCRV in recent years Black Terns were found this year in numbers more consistent with those reported in Rosenberg et al., with four at the n. end of L. Havasu 9 May (DVP, LHar), two on L. Havasu 18 May (LHar), one in the BWD 20 May (LHar, DVP), and 25 in the BWD 24 May (CMc). Forster’s Terns are an uncommon spring migrant in the LCRV so a flock of 60 on L. Havasu 29 APR (LHar) was an excellent count. Otherwise the 32 seen 13 Apr-17 May were more typical (m. obs.).
Inca Doves are surprisingly uncommon in the northern part of the LCRV and the only report this spring was of two in LHC Apr 28 (DVP). A flock of over 400 Lesser Nighthawks over L. Havasu 26 Apr (DVP, LHar) made for an impressive sight. An irregular breeder in the LCRV two pairs of Long-eared Owls discovered in the BWR NWR was of interest. The first pair was in the Middle Delta area straddling the county line 14 Mar -5 May (DVP, S. Green). The second pair was in the Fox Wash area again on the county line 15 Mar-16 Apr and was heard one night giving agitated calls and bill clacks, which are typically associated with a nest, although one was not found. Vaux’s Swifts are typically found singly or in small groups in spring so a flock of 30 on 9 May at Rotary Park (LHar) was of interest. Declining as a breeder in the region no Gilded Flickers were reported this spring from the LCRV.
A Gray Flycatcher in the BWR NWR Mar 20 (JPz) was likely a wintering bird. Reported as a common spring migrant in Rosenberg et al., Plumbeous Vireos are perhaps best considered “status uncertain” as there are no physically documented records for the Salton Sink or the LCRV (Birds of the Salton Sea, Patten et al. 2003). Sight reports this spring included one singing 9 Apr at Rotary Park (LHar, DVP) and one at New South Dike, HNWR 15 May (LHar). A Cassin’s Vireo 24 May at the n. end of L. Havasu was late (DVP). A flock of 70 Horned Larks at the Island STP, LHC 5 May, with 30 still present 23 May (DVP), was late for a migrating flock (DVP). A female Purple Martin put in a rare spring appearance 9 May at the n. end of L. Havasu (DVP, LHar). Typically an early migrant and considered rare in May, Tree Swallows made an unexpectedly strong showing with 900 in the Mohave Valley 2 May (DVP) and small flocks regularly seen into mid-May, with the last two individuals reported 25 May at the n. end of L. Havasu (LHar). Normally a low density migrant in the LCRV 3190 Violet-green Swallows were counted by Rotary Park in an hour and a half 4 Mar (LHar). This is almost eight times higher than the highest count listed in Rosenberg et al.
A singing Canyon Wren 25 May (LHar, D. Fletcher) away from breeding habitat in mixed tamarisk and riparian along the shores of the n. end of L. Havasu was odd. Swainson’s Thrush was reported as being surprisingly scarce in the northern portion of the LCRV in Rosenberg et al., but with improving habitat the species will likely increase as a spring migrant. This spring reports included one at Rotary Park 8 May (DVP), one banded (CDo) and another seen in the Beal L. habitat creation site at HNWR 19 May (LHar). Outside of the LCRV two were seen along the Big Sandy R. in Wikieup 28 May (LHar) where they are almost certainly regular; more unusual was one at Hualapai Mountain Park at ~6500 ft. with Hermit Thrushes 7 May (LHar, MN). American Robins were scare this winter in the LCRV. The only ones seen this spring were one at Davis Camp 6 Mar (RT, CG), one at the Bermuda Pasture 26 Mar (LHar), three there Mar 31 (DDe), and one at Rotary Park 16 Apr (DVP). Erratic in its occurrence, small numbers of Cedar Waxwings were seen this spring in the LCRV: 28 at the n. end of L. Havasu 28 Apr (LHar), 13 near Cougar Pt. BWR NWR 4 May (DVP), five at the n. end of L. Havasu 18 May (LHar), and one at the Beal L. habitat creation site 19 May (DVP). The only report away from the LCRV was of a flock of 38 along the Big Sandy R. 28 May (LHar).
With a single previous sight report for the county, a pair of Olive Warblers building a nest in Hualapai Mountain Park 22 Apr was a surprise (ph. DPi, N. Marcy). A rare but regular Black-and-White Warbler was banded at Beal L. habitat creation site 19 May (CDo, m. ob.). A singing Lucy’s Warbler at 6500 ft. at Hualapai Mountain Park 7 May (LHar, MN) was in willows in an area dominated by mountain chaparral and pines, an unusual elevation and habitat for the species. Nashville Warblers typically arrive in late March or early April, but none were noted this year until 22 Apr when four were seen at Rotary Park (DVP). Rare to uncommon away from breeding grounds in spring, a migrant Virginia’s Warbler was reported without details from Pipe Springs NM 7 May (SSc). With only about 25 previous Arizona records (and most from fall) the highlight of the spring passerine migration was a male Blackpoll Warbler along the shore of the n. end of L. Havasu 18-19 May (LHar). A nice count for the LCRV in May, 24 “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warblers were at the n. end of L. Havasu 4 May (LHar). Small numbers were seen around L. Havasu and HNWR until mid-May (m. obs.) with the latest reported 24 May at the n. end of L. Havasu (DVP). “Myrtle” Yellow-rumped Warblers were also found later than usual with two at Mesquite Bay 5 Apr (DVP) and three at Rotary Park 16 Apr (DVP). Forty Wilson’s Warblers in Rotary Park 18 May (DVP) was a high count for a small area in the LCRV.
A Vesper Sparrow 5 May at HNWR (DDe) was the latest known report for the LCRV. Late migrant Lark Sparrows in the LCRV included one at North Dike HNWR and four at Pintail Slough 5 May (DDe), one at the Island STP, LHC 9 May (DVP), and one 14 May in the HNWR (DDe). Notable for its absence, no “Mountain” White-crowned Sparrows were reported from the LCRV this spring although two White-crowned Sparrows at Pintail Slough HNWR 8 May (DDe, SDr) and two at the n. end of L Havasu 17 May (DVP) were seen too briefly to determine subspecies. The Golden-crowned Sparrow found in February at Burro Creek Campground was seen again 22 Mar (EMo). The only Dark-eyed Junco reported from the LCRV this spring was a “Cassiar” at the n. end of L. Havasu 31 Mar (LHar, DVP). Of interest were two apparent “Red-backed” x “Gray-headed” Dark-eyed Junco intergrades at Hualapai Mountain Park 21 Apr (DVP, LHar). A singing male Northern Cardinal along the Big Sandy R. at Wikieup 28 May (LHar) was at the nw. edge of its range and in an area rarely covered. A rare migrant and breeder, Indigo Buntings were reported from Havasu Heights 11-17 Apr (KB, JRi), Kohen Ranch BWR NWR 20 Apr (KB), in the BWR NWR 6 May (MN), and Pintail Slough 8 May (DDe, SDr). A Yellow-headed Blackbird singing on territory in the BWD (Mohave/La Paz Co.) 24 Mar (LHar, DVP) was three days earlier than the earliest date given in the Atlas. At the nw. edge of its range a female Bronzed Cowbird was at Rotary Park 15-17 May (DVP).
Although many of the irruptive finches were not seen this past winter in the LCRV, several came through in spring. The Hualapai Mtns. are hard to cover in winter, but a check in April had higher numbers than found during an investigation in March, perhaps an indication of a more widespread movement of finches this spring. Cassin’s Finches at Hualapai Mountain Park included five 21 Apr (DVP, LHar, MN) and two 7 May (LHar), and another one on the lower slopes near the Lazy YU community 21 Apr (LHar). The species is not known to breed in the Hualapai Mtns. Red Crossbills were also in evidence at Hualapai Mountain Park with small groups totaling 10 birds 5 Mar (LHar), five 21 Apr (DVP), and seven there 7 May (LHar, MN). Pine Siskins were far more widespread this spring than this past winter with two 3 Mar and one 22 Apr in Kingman (JP), one at Rotary Park 9 Apr, (DVP, LHar), 55 around Hualapai Mountain Park 21 Apr (DVP, LHar, MN), compared to only two there 5 Mar (LHar), five 30 Apr, and two 1-14 May in Havasu Heights (both KB), 40 at Pipe Springs NM 8 May with 20 being present the next day (SSc), and one coming to a backyard feeder in BHC 14 May (DDe). Lawrence’s Goldfinches had a moderate showing: two near Cougar Pt. BWR NWR 23 Mar (DVP), a report from Mineral Wash 28 Mar (KB), one on Apr 11 near Kohen Ranch BWR NWR (DVP, m. obs.), six near Cougar Pt. BWR NWR 4 May (DVP), and one along the Big Sandy R. near Wikieup 28 May (LHar). The only American Goldfinches reported were one at Mineral Wash BWR NWR 3 Mar (JRi) and seven at the Bermuda Pasture restoration area 26 Mar (LHar). Irregular in Mohave Co. and always a nice find, four Evening Grosbeaks were found 21 Apr at the Hualapai Mountain Resort (LHar, DVP, MN).
Compiled by Lauren Harter
Abbreviations: OCC (Oak Creek Canyon), VVBNF (Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival)
March was unusually warm and dry this year whereas April and May weather was more typical. A total of 24.4 in. of snow fell this spring, much of it in a storm 9 Apr. Among avian highlights this season were notable shorebird sightings, many due to favorable conditions on Mormon L. in late April.
Rare in winter and migration, three migrant Greater White-fronted Geese at Mormon L. 9 Apr were quite late (TL, CLR). Another sighting of three birds there 23 Apr (SPu), possibly the same individuals, was remarkable. While Snow Geese are also rare in the region, 11 Mar was a typical date for one at Lower L. Mary (JWi). On the other hand, a Snow Goose at Lee’s Ferry 6 Apr (SPu) marked another very late goose sighting. American Wigeons typically depart the region by the end of April, so a flock of eight on Ashurst L. 12 May was unusual (EM). While “Mexican” Mallards appear to be expanding their range throughout the state, relatively few are reported from n. Arizona. A male Mallard photographed at the I-40 Wetlands 25 Mar showed traits of both “Mexican” and “Northern” Mallards, and may have been a backcross to “Northern” (ph. JWi). Although Cinnamon Teal are common migrants in the region, 70 at Roger’s L. 24 Apr (EM) was a good count. Another good waterfowl count for the area was 50 Common Mergansers at Upper L. Mary 26 Mar (JWi).
Common Loons are rare in the region at any time of year and are more often seen as migrants in the fall than in the spring. Therefore, one at Upper L. Mary 21 Apr was notable (TL). American White Pelican occurs uncommonly and irregularly as a spring migrant in the region. Two were at Upper L. Mary 9 Apr (TL, CLR). White-faced Ibis are common migrants in April and May, but a count of 150 at Mormon L. 30 Apr was notable (TL, m. ob.).
It was a good spring for Broad-winged Hawk sightings across much of Arizona, and Coconino birders spotted two. The first was seen on a VVBNF trip at Lower L. Mary 30 Apr (TL, CLR, m. ob.) and the second at Cave Springs, OCC 2 May (JGra). Broad-winged Hawks are considered casual in Arizona away from the Grand Canyon, but seem to be increasing. Zone-tailed Hawks reach the northern limit of their range in this area, and spring migrants typically begin to arrive in mid-April. One very early arrival was near Desert View on the Grand Canyon South Rim 25 Mar (BGa), and another reached West Fork, OCC by 2 Apr (JWi). A Zone-tailed Hawk in the House Rock Valley 10 May (SPu) was unusually far north. “Harlan’s” Red-tailed Hawk is casual in Arizona, most often documented from the southern part of the state in winter. However, due in part to its subspecific status and difficulty to identify, it may be overlooked, and its status in the state is poorly understood. A bird photographed at Mormon L. 7 Apr (ph. JWi) was consistent with this taxon.
Rare spring migrants in the region, Semipalmated Plovers made a good showing this spring. Sightings included one at Ashurst L. 29 Apr (CLR, JGra) and six at Mormon L. 30 Apr, dwindling to only one there 4 May (TL, CLR). Another high shorebird count for the region, 35 Black-necked Stilts were at Mormon L. 30 Apr (TL, m. ob.). An early Spotted Sandpiper was at Cave Springs, OCC 2 Apr (JGra). Fairly large numbers of Willets were discovered using Flagstaff-area lakes this spring. Flocks of 10 and 32 were found on Lower L. Mary and Mormon L., respectively, 30 Apr (TL, m. ob.). Mormon L. still hosted 12 Willets 2 May (JWi). A Whimbrel was a great find at Mormon L. on a VVBNF field trip 30 Apr (ph. TL, CLR). This species is rare in Arizona away from the lower Colorado R. valley and it is casual in n. Arizona. A Western Sandpiper at Kachina Wetlands 15 Apr was early (JGra). A large number of Long-billed Dowitchers was seen at Mormon L., with 50 birds there 30 Apr (TL, CLR).
An unusual concentration of 190 Franklin’s Gulls was noted on Mormon L. 2 May (JWi). This uncommon migrant is seldom reported in flocks greater than 10. Caspian Terns are rare migrants in the region, so concentrations at Upper L. Mary this spring were exceptional. The first report was of seven 26 Apr, increasing to 17 by 30 Apr, and down to three 26 May (CLR, TL, m. ob.). Forster’s Tern is casual in the spring; two were in the tern flock at Upper L. Mary 30 Apr (TL, m. ob.).
Reports of White-winged Dove were surprisingly few this spring. Only two were found in the Flagstaff area, both apparently having overwintered (ph. PKo, JWi). One at Lonely Dell Ranch, Lee’s Ferry 26 May was well north of most recent sightings (SPu). Ten White-throated Swifts over West Fork, OCC 5 Mar were early (SPu), as were two at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon 10 Mar (J. Russell). A female Magnificent Hummingbird visited feeders at Cave Springs, OCC, from 21 Apr through at least 17 May (S. Buczynski, ph. GBo, m. ob.). The male found there last year did, however, not reappear. Black-chinned Hummingbirds were slightly early in Desert View 30 Mar (BGa) and Doney Park 31 Mar (ph. PKo). Anna’s Hummingbirds have been found summering at Elden Spring the past few years. This spring, two males and a female appeared to be attempting breeding (JWi). Following an exceptional fall and winter for Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, one at Lonely Dell Ranch 23 May was extremely late for Arizona (ph. SPu, D. Buchner).
Greater Pewee is a rare migrant and a scarce, irregular breeder in the region. One was found at Cave Springs, OCC 19 May (JGra, ph. JWi, m. ob.). A rare Eastern Phoebe made an appearance at the Walnut Canyon Ponds, Flagstaff 11 May (CLR), quite late for Arizona. At least one pair of Vermilion Flycatchers was seen 18-20 May in Fredonia (SPu), where probable breeding was discovered in 2008. Hutton’s Vireo continues to expand northward throughout the state, including in Coconino Co. One was at Grasshopper Pt., OCC 26 Mar (TW), where they are somewhat regular. An individual in Flagstaff 6 May (ZZ) was more unusual. Truly exceptional was a singing male near Red Butte south of Tusayan 25 May (C. White, J. Cooper), at nearly the same date and location where one was found in 2010.
A Violet-green Swallow over West Fork, OCC 5 Mar was a slightly early arrival (SPu). At least two singing Pacific Wrens frequented West Fork this spring, where they are regular but very local breeders. The first was detected 7 Apr and two were reported 22 Apr (ErH, m. ob.). After Winter Wren was first documented in the county this winter, another was found this spring at Elden Spring 24 Apr (ph. SPu). Likely regular but rarely reported from the county, a Cactus Wren was seen at Jack’s Canyon in Sedona 7 May (SPu). The American Dipper wintering at Picture Canyon, Flagstaff was last reported 5 Mar (JWi). Swainson’s Thrushes are rare migrants in the region. Three were reported this spring: one at Elden Spring 4 May (SPu), one at Lonely Dell Ranch 11 May (SPu, D. Buchner), and another at Elden Spring 17 May (JWi). A Gray Catbird was a good find in San Francisco Wash, near Winona (east of Flagstaff), 5 May (ph. SPu). A flock of 20 American Pipits in the House Rock Valley 28 May was late away from breeding grounds (J. Cooper). Following a winter season with few reports of Cedar Waxwing, only a few migrant flocks were reported this spring. Most notable was a count of 70 at Elden Spring 2 May (ph. GBo).
At least one of the wintering Lapland Longspurs at Babbitt Tank lingered through 29 Mar (JWi). The flock of Chestnut-collared Longspurs it associated with dwindled from 30 birds 10 Mar to 15 by 29 Mar (JWi).
Rare migrants, two Northern Parulas were reported this spring. One visited the Vermilion Cliffs 10 May (SPu, D. Buchner) and another was seen in Flagstaff 20 May (JGra). Two Black-throated Gray Warblers at West Fork, OCC 7 Apr were early (ErH). Hermit Warbler is a rare spring migrant in the region, so one at Cave Springs, OCC 30 Apr was notable (GBo). A casual transient, an Ovenbird stopped at the small community of Vermilion Cliffs 30 May (ph. SPu). A Northern Waterthrush was reported this season, in Flagstaff 20 May (JGra). An unusual sight in the region was a push of migrating Western Tanagers at Cave Springs, OCC, with an estimated 72 individuals seen 19 May (JGra, m. ob.).
A Brewer’s Sparrow at Lonely Dell Ranch 26 Mar was on the early side (SPu). Early for Vesper Sparrow in the region, it was rather unusual to see six at Babbitt Tank 10 Mar (JWi). The White-throated Sparrow wintering in a Timberline backyard continued through 9 Mar (BCo), while another was discovered in Flagstaff 29-30 Mar (JCn). Indigo Buntings are rare migrants and occasional breeders in the Flagstaff area. One visited a Timberline feeder 6 May (ph. DPq) and one was spotted at a Doney Park feeder 16 May (ph. PKo). A male bunting on territory at Elden Spring 25 May+ (JWi, ph. GBo) appeared to be a hybrid Indigo x Lazuli Bunting. A Dickcissel stopped in Doney Park 20-21 May (ph. PKo). A Bobolink was an excellent find at Lonely Dell Ranch 23 May (ph. SPu, D. Buchner). Hooded Oriole is scarce above the Mogollon Rim, and is always notable in the Flagstaff area. A male at a feeder in Doney Park was not only at an unusual location, but arrived about a month early, seen from 25-27 Mar (ph. PKo). The same yard hosted a female Hooded Oriole 15 May (ph. PKo). Irruptive finches, seen in good numbers this winter, continued to be numerous through the spring. Cassin’s Finches frequented the Flagstaff area in flocks up to 50 (m. ob.). The latest report was of four in Flagstaff 10 May (EM). Red Crossbills were present throughout the season, with a high count of 45 in Flagstaff 27 May (GBo). Wintering and/or migrant Evening Grosbeaks were common throughout the season, in Flagstaff as well as Desert View. Flocks up to 30 were reported (m. ob.).
Compiled by Jason Wilder
Regularly spaced windstorms were a recurring theme of birding on the Navajo and Hopi Nations this spring. Nonetheless, birding activity on the reservations was quite high with regular reports covering far-flung portions of this vast region.
A single Common Loon, an uncommon spring migrant, in full breeding plumage was observed at Pasture Canyon Reservoir 6 May (BGa, CLR, SPu). In the midst of a wild sandstorm a Sanderling, a rare migrant across n. Arizona, was seen at Cow Springs L. 8 Apr (BGa, CLR).
Overall, n. Arizona experienced a small burst of Ovenbird sightings this spring, including an individual in this region at Tappan Spring w. of Cameron 27 May (CLR, ph. SPu). Casual in Coconino Co, a Golden-crowned Sparrow was a good find at the Tuba City STP 11 Apr (CLR, TL, ph. SPu). A single Rose-breasted Grosbeak, a regular but uncommon migrant in the region, was observed within the Navajo NM 14 May (ZZ). Perhaps the most unusual species reported from the region this spring was a single Common Grackle at the Cameron Trading Post 6 May (BGa, CLR, ph. SPu). This species is likely a rare but regular migrant through the region, but casually reported.
Abbreviations: Prescott Recharge Ponds (PRP)
Quite noteworthy was a hybrid Blue-winged x Cinnamon Teal discovered at the PRP 14 May during the NAMC (ph. WA). This hybrid combination is quite rare. Recently becoming a rare but regular spring migrant to the lakes in the Prescott area, nine American White Pelicans rested briefly at Willow L. 27-28 Mar (S&SB) as did an estimated 130 there 23 Apr (BPr et al.). Six other pelicans were there 28 Apr (S&SB).
Two Neotropic Cormorants foraging at Antelope Hills Golf Course pond north of Prescott were noted 5-6 Mar (ph. SuB). A new high of at least seven were present at Watson L. 6-15 May (WA, CT) and remained through the period. The first Great Egret for the spring was reported 8 Mar at Willow L. (SB, WA). Another was at the PRP 10 Apr (SDr, CT), and two Snowy Egrets first appeared at Willow L. 9 Apr (CT).
Very casual in the region, an adult Mississippi Kite was well photographed near Montezuma Lakes 17 May (H. W. Biller, Jr.). Apparently a pair of these kites nested in this area in 2010 (fide RR). Another noteworthy find during the NAMC (14 May) in Yavapai Co. was a Gray Hawk flying over the Agua Fria R. near Humboldt (CT). There are few records for this raptor in the region, but observations are likely to increase as its breeding distribution steadily moves northward from se. Arizona.
Unexpected was a male Ring-necked Pheasant found near Cottonwood not far from the Verde R. 28 Apr (J. Kraft). Small local populations historically occurred in the Verde River valley, but there have been very few reports during the past few decades.
Most Prescott area shorebirds were reported at the PRP. Three Black-necked Stilts rested there 10-11 Apr (SDr, CT, S&SB) and single Solitary Sandpipers arrived 5 Apr (S&SB) and 30 Apr (SDr), when a Semipalmated Plover was also present (SDr). The only American Avocets were single birds at Willow L. 16-17 Apr (WA, CT) and a large congregation of 47 at the PRP 18 Apr (SuB). Rare migrants through the region, approximately 20 Willets were noted at the Sedona wastewater treatment ponds 30 Apr (CFu). The only Prescott area Long-billed Curlew was reported at the PRP 9 May (KAr, D. Archibald). A flock of 79 Marbled Godwits and 16 Lesser Yellowlegs 25 Apr at the PRP formed a remarkable concentration of these shorebirds for the region (S&SB). A group of 13 Marbled Godwits was also seen at Willow L. that same day (WA). Rarely seen in Prescott, particularly in the spring, a Baird’s Sandpiper foraged among Western and Least Sandpipers at the PRP 23 Apr (SDr). Franklin’s Gull is a rare visitor to the region, so an adult that stopped at Willow L. 27 Mar was of note (SuB).
The first record of Eurasian Collared-Dove in Granite Basin 7 Apr in pine-oak woodland (DM) was followed by a pair courting there 22 Apr (CT). They were not reported there later in the spring. White-winged Doves continue to be regular in spring at Prescott. One visited a feeder in Diamond Valley 3 Apr (P. McNiven). Three wintering White-wingeds were joined by six new arrivals in a residential area in Prescott Valley 19 Apr (JT), while four White-wingeds were seen northwest of Prescott 21 Apr (DI). Single birds were noted in Granite Dells 9 May and in north Prescott 14 May (WA). With relatively few records of this secretive owl in Yavapai Co., an adult Long-eared Owl with two fledglings in riparian woodland along lower Granite Cr. south of the Verde R. 18 May was a surprise (J. Kraft, DM, et al.).
A casually reported migrant through the region, a Vaux’s Swift was observed near the Sedona wastewater treatment ponds 30 Apr (CFu). Another casual visitor to the region, but possibly increasing, an adult male Broad-billed Hummingbird was detected during the NAMC (14 May) as it foraged among flowering mesquite along the creek at Bumble Bee north of Black Canyon City (CT). Infrequently noted at Prescott, a male Calliope Hummingbird visited a feeder in Granite Dells 18 Apr (WA).
A late Lewis’s Woodpecker in Granite Dells 2 May was a surprise (WA). However, two wintering at Walker south of Lynx L. were still there 5 May (V. Morhous). A male “Red-shafted” x “Yellow-shafted” Flicker was found in Granite Dells 10 Apr (CT). Typically a resident species with minimal tendencies to even shift elevationally in Arizona, a male Hairy Woodpecker was detected 5 Mar at Dead Horse Ranch SP (ph. GBo) along the Verde R. near Cottonwood. This park is at an elevation of 3300 ft., which is approximately 1500 ft. below known breeding areas for this woodpecker in the state (Atlas).
A report of a singing Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet 25 May at Tuzigoot NM was an exceptional find as there are no prior records for the Verde River Valley and few if any from Yavapai Co. (T. Johnson, MA). There are no accepted records for Yavapai Co. Casual in Yavapai Co., particularly in the spring, an Eastern Phoebe was noted along the upper Verde R. 30 Mar (KA, BPr). Locally rare, a solitary Bell’s Vireo foraged in a patch of salt cedars at PRP 10 Apr (SDr). The observation of a fledgling Hutton’s Vireo with an adult 1 May at Red Tank Draw near L. Montezuma was an early nesting record for the region (ErH).
Wintering Red-breasted Nuthatches were still present 12 Apr at feeders in a Prescott residential pine-oak woodland (RHu) and several remained in pine-oak forest at Granite Basin until at least 24 Apr (CT). Swainson’s Thrushes are surprisingly rarely reported in the region so of note was one along Date Cr. 28 Apr (LP), and two more were along Indian Cr. south of Dugas 30 May (JAr). This span of dates fits well with typical spring migration period for this thrush elsewhere in Arizona.
Single Sage Thrashers, casual in the Prescott area, appeared in a grassland/shrub mosaic at the PRP 5 Mar (CT) and in open chaparral west of the Prescott airport 11 Mar (SDr). A wintering Brown Thrasher visited a feeder during a snowstorm several miles northwest of Prescott 21 Mar (A&DMan). This is likely the same individual that has resided at this site in recent winters. A pair of Curve-billed Thrashers fledged young in Diamond Valley by mid-Apr (J. Morgan).
A casual lowland migrant anywhere in Arizona, a Grace’s Warbler was a surprise along the Verde R. just north of the Verde Hot Springs 10 May (G. Bland, C. Calvo). A male Common Yellowthroat that wintered in Granite Dells was last seen 5 Mar (CT). Rare in the Prescott area, single Yellow-breasted Chats were located along Granite Cr. south of Watson L. 10 Apr (possibly eastern race) and 11 Apr (DM). Another in riparian habitat at Granite Basin on 20 May was at a higher than usual elevation (DM).
A winter resident Green-tailed Towhee was last seen at PRP Apr 10 (SDr). There are surprisingly few previous winter records for the Prescott area. A White-throated Sparrow (white- striped form) visited feeders in Granite Dells beginning 12 Mar and lingered to at least 14 May (ph. WA) which is a late date for anywhere in the state. An infrequent visitor to the area, a male Northern Cardinal visited a Diamond Valley backyard feeding station 19 May (JMg). The best discovery during the NAMC (14 May) in Yavapai Co. was a Common Grackle off of Poland Rd. along Big Bug Cr. (WA). There are just 18 accepted records for this species in Arizona and, if accepted by the ABC, this would be the first record for Yavapai Co.
On the late side was an adult male American Goldfinch along Indian Cr. south of Dugas 30 May (JAr). Flocks of 25- 30 Evening Grosbeaks that wintered near upper Granite and Aspen creeks remained until at least 15 May (CT).
Compiled by Eric Hough
Abbreviations: Hidden Cove Golf Course (HCGC), Mogollon Rim (Rim)
The region experienced below average precipitation this spring, as did other parts of the state due to the La Niña system. However, temperatures were average. High numbers of wintering passerines lingered throughout the season with some irruptive species observed. Both the Navajo and Apache Co. NAMC’s had more participants and covered more area than previous years resulting in record numbers of species reported: 138 for Navajo Co. and 122 for Apache Co.
Due to the sparse distribution of wetland habitats in the region, egrets are uncommon in migration. Snowy Egrets were found twice this season with one at wetlands just west of Eagar 14 May (SSi et al.) and one at Luna L. 4 May (RS). A Great Egret appeared at Luna L. 14 May (CTa et al.).
Zone-tailed Hawks are rare visitors above the Rim, so one 26 May at Big Spring Environmental Park in Pinetop was of note (DT).
Small introduced populations of California Quail continue to exist within the upper Little Colorado R. valley between St. Johns and Springerville. One was detected at Wenima WA 14 May (SSi et al.). Scaled Quail inhabiting the region are likely naturally occurring, although in sparse numbers. Two birds were at Petrified Forest NP 14 May (KBa).
Shorebirds tend to be less common in spring than fall in the White Mtns. This season saw a few unusual sightings, including one Semipalmated Plover 17 May near the HCGC in Holbrook (ErH, ElH), eight Willets 20 May at Scott Res. in Pinetop-Lakeside (GW, EWe), one Whimbrel 16 May near the HCGC (ph. ErH, ElH), three Long-billed Curlews near the HCGC 16 Apr (ph. ErH, ElH), and one Red-necked Phalarope 22 May at Petrified Forest NP (KBa). The rarest of these shorebird species, the Whimbrel may be a first record for the White Mtns. region. Whimbrel has only been documented twice before in n. Navajo Co. and less than a dozen times in ne. Arizona (fide CLR).
Detections of White-winged Doves on the Colorado Plateau have greatly increased during the past decade, with most birds seen around urban centers, so one found at Concho L. 27 May (ErH, ElH) was of note. Due to their nomadic behavior, Long-eared Owls are infrequently observed across the state. Therefore, a pair discovered along Cottonwood Wash near Clay Springs 14 May was noteworthy (ph. ErH, ElH). Flammulated Owls are uncommon residents of pine-oak and mixed conifer forests in the region and much of their preferred habitat along the Rim was burned in the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire. Seven of these owls were detected 14 May s. of Black Canyon (ErH et al.), showing that the species is still inhabiting the patchwork of suitable vegetation that survived that fire. Much rarer in spring migration, a Calliope Hummingbird was a surprise at Petrified Forest NP 14 May (KBa).
Greater Pewees are uncommon summer residents below the Rim, but very local and rare above it. This species was found twice above the Rim this spring, with one at Hannagan Meadow 14 May (OH) and two birds in Black Canyon s. of Heber 14 May (ErH, ElH). The pewees at Black Canyon have been found in the drainage since at least 2005 and probably breed there. In migration, Willow Flycatchers are uncommon to rare in lowland habitats in the region. One was found 25 May along Silver Cr. s. of Woodruff (ErH, ElH) and another 27 May at Concho L. (ErH, ElH). One of the rarest sightings of the spring, a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was discovered near Malpais Spring southeast of Concho 18 May (RRe). There is only one previous record of this flycatcher for Apache Co.
Other areas of the state witnessed a banner year for migrating Swainson’s Thrushes this spring, but only one bird was reported in the White Mtns. It was seen at Wenima WA 14 May (SSi et al.). American Robins congregate in large foraging flocks in winter and spring. The highest number reported in the region this season was 140 at Heber 21 Mar (ElH, BHo). Bendire’s Thrashers are local summer residents in the northern extent of the region. One was singing near the HCGC in Holbrook 16 Apr (ph./v.r. ErH, ElH). Above the Rim, Phainopeplas are uncommon residents and sparsely distributed across pinyon-juniper woodlands and around patches of cottonwoods with Phoradendron mistletoe. Four were present on Silver Cr. near White Mtn. L. 27 May (ErH, ElH) and one was at Concho L. 27 May (ErH, ElH). Cedar Waxwings are uncommon, sporadic visitors to pinyon-juniper woodlands in the region during winter and spring. This season saw large flocks with up to 100 birds in Heber 1 May (ElH, BHo) and smaller numbers lasting through the end of the season.
Northern Waterthrushes are rare, but regular migrants through Arizona. One was found along the S. Fork of the Little Colorado R. 13 May (DRo). Painted Redstarts breed on the s. slope of the Rim but are infrequently observed above it. Up to three birds were present on visits to Black Canyon s. of Heber 5 Apr-5 May (ElH, BHo) and one bird was seen 14 May (ErH, ElH). Yellow-breasted Chats are local breeders in only a handful of drainages above the Rim in Navajo Co. At Silver Cr. s. of Woodruff 25 May, up to seven individuals were found (ErH, ElH).
Above the Rim within the region, Rufous-crowned Sparrows have only been detected locally within the Snowflake and Springerville areas. A newly discovered location was made this spring with the sighting of two birds at Petrified Forest NP 24 Apr (KBa). Fox Sparrows are rare winter and spring migrants through the region. Two "Slate-colored" ones were found: one near the HCGC in Holbrook 16 Apr (ErH, ElH) and another at Petrified Forest NP 24 Apr (KBa). Summer Tanagers are rare above the Rim, so one at Snowflake 2 May (AH) was noteworthy. An extremely early male Black-headed Grosbeak visited feeders in Heber 18 Mar (BHo), a month earlier than the arrival of most individuals of this species. Indigo Buntings are uncommon to rare migrants and local summer residents in the region. One was at Petrified Forest NP 24 Apr (KBa), one at Holbrook 9 May (BPa), and another at Jack’s Canyon south of Winslow 17 May (ErH). A few Hooded Orioles have expanded onto Navajo tribal lands recently, but few records exist for the White Mtns. region above the Rim. A pair of these orioles was observed in Holbrook 9 May+ (BPa).
Evening Grosbeaks are an irregular migrant and local breeder in the region, with most sightings occurring during the spring. The Heber area saw flocks throughout the season with the largest flock consisting of 31 individuals 1 May (ElH, BHo). An unexpected lowland Evening Grosbeak was present at Petrified Forest NP 10 May (KBa). Cassin’s Finches were found in larger numbers at feeders early in the season with up to 75 birds at Heber 8 Mar (ElH, BHo). Pine Siskin numbers also remained high into the beginning of the season, with approximately 200 birds at Heber 25 Mar (ElH, BHo).
Compiled by Henry Detwiler
Abbreviations: 'Ahakhav Tribal Preserve, Parker ('Ahakhav)
Spring had good numbers of migrants, many of them appearing later than usual. Several periods of strong northerly winds led to a couple of impressive “fallouts”. On 11 May Paul Lehman described “migrants falling out of the trees” east of Yuma. Thanks to David Vander Pluym and Lauren Harter, we had good coverage of La Paz Co. again this season. Members of the Great Basin Birding Observatory (GBBO) provided good coverage of the area between Laguna and Imperial dams.
A wintering Long-tailed Duck lingered at the Bill Williams Delta at least until 5 Apr (LHar). Rare away from the Colorado R., three Red-breasted Mergansers were at Aztec 17 Apr (PL, BC). A late female Canvasback was at Imperial NWR 14 May (HD, SDe). The wintering Yellow-billed Loon was reported above and below Parker Dam 7 Mar and remained remarkably through the end of May (m. ob.). Still casual, but being reported with greater frequency, a Neotropic Cormorant was present at Parker Dam 1 Mar+ (m. ob.).
In a great expansion of the Cattle Egret colony by Peterson Rd. in the Parker valley, 1350 nests were counted14 May (DVP) and adults were on eggs. Several small colonies of White-faced Ibis: were also found in the Parker Valley with as many as 50 nests 24 Apr-14 May (LHar, DVP). A Red-shouldered Hawk was at Alamo Wash, Kofa NWR 8 Apr (CMc). A casual adult Broad-winged Hawk was at Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 22-26 Apr (LHar, D. Orr) and a second-year bird was flushed from a cottonwood at the corner of 10th Ave. and Little Rd. in the Parker Valley 13 May (DVP). A Swainson’s Hawk lingered to the end of the season at ‘Ahakhav (LHar); they have usually moved on by mid-May. A rare Zone-tailed Hawk was at Mittry L. 12 May (J. Runco, fide JPz). A Crested Caracara wandered west to Aztec 18 Apr (PL, BC); although caracaras are casual in the region, the number of wandering individuals statewide has been increasing. Black Rail counts during the marsh bird surveys in the greater Mittry L. area were running four times higher than normal this spring, with a record 46 total birds reported by the end of May (LP). Conversely, these same surveys revealed a steady decline in the number of Clapper Rails (Yuma) being detected, with a total of 96 counted within the greater Mittry L. area. A high number of 53 Marbled Godwits were feeding in flooded fields east of Yuma 17 Apr (CMc). A Sanderling was early at Yuma 7 Apr (J. Runco, JPz) whereas seven Least Sandpipers were late 11 May (PL, BC).
Five uncommon Franklin’s Gulls were at Martinez L. 31 Mar (CMc). A California Gull was late at Ehrenberg 23 Apr (ph. DVP; LHar). An unprecedented six Elegant Terns were spotted flying over Mittry L. 14 May (MN). Although apparently increasing, there are still relatively accepted records for Arizona and this was the highest number ever reported. Sound recordings of the calls have been submitted to the ABC for identification.
A Short-eared Owl was a good find along Shea Rd. near Parker 10 Mar (DVP). A Long-eared Owl was near Planet Ranch 27 Mar (DVP, S. Green). An uncommonly high count of 50 Vaux’s Swifts was reported from the Gila R. east of Yuma 10 May (JPzA). A late Rufous Hummingbird was in the LCRV 12 May (PL, BC).
As an example of one of the “fallouts”, a total of 34 Empidonax flycatchers (one Willow, five Hammond's, three Dusky/Hammond's, and 25 Pacific-slope/Western) were counted at 'Ahakhav 9 May (LHar). A continuing Gray Flycatcher was spotted at ‘Ahakhav 15 Mar (DVP). A late Gray Flycatcher was at Wellton 12 May (PL). Uncommon Dusky Flycatchers were found at Fortuna Pond 2 May (HD), the picnic area at ‘Ahakhav 13 May (DVP), and at Planet Ranch Rd. BWR NWR 14 May (LHar). The wintering Dusky-capped Flycatcher was reported at Parker Oasis through 10 Apr (DVP, LHar). Rare in Yuma Co., a Brown-crested Flycatcher was at Imperial NWR 14 May (HD, SDe). A casual vocal Tropical Kingbird was on private property northeast of Wellton 31 May (J K). Two Tropical Kingbirds were also present at 'Ahakhav in Parker 27 May (ph. LHar). They behaved like a pair and were observed aggressively defending their favorite cottonwood, but nesting was not confirmed by the end of the season.
A casual Yellow-throated Vireo was reported from Bill Williams NWR 20 May (CMc). Five Cassin’s Vireos was a good count on a date when they are “rare” at ‘Ahakhav 23 May (LHar). A rare (for Yuma Co.) male Purple Martin was seen on private property northeast of Wellton 31 May (JKell). In a 15-minute period at the end of the afternoon an estimated 45,000 swallows (mostly Trees) flew over Cibola NWR 2 May (DVP). An even more impressive flock of 1.2 million (conservative estimate) Tree Swallows was counted over Mittry L. 8 May (A. Fleishman, LP, TSu, JAr). Huge flocks like this have been reported over the years in the lower Colorado R. valley, some even appearing on NEXRAD (weather radar, also used to report bird movements in the Gulf Coast and other locations with large migration pushes). Lin Piest reports that AZ G&F may do some sort of survey next year to get a better idea of the flock sizes and occurrence. A Canyon Wren seemed out of place at Parker Oasis 23 May (LHar). Late Ruby-crowned Kinglets were at the Yuma West Wetlands 3 May (HD) and Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 14 May.
On one “fallout” days a record 48 (previously record high count was 13) Swainson’s Thrushes were found in the LCRV between Yuma and Imperial Dam 12 May (PL, BC). Among the swarms of Swainson's Thrushes at 'Ahakhav was one late Hermit Thrush 21 May (LHar). A casual Gray Catbird was on private property northeast of Wellton 11-12 May (PL). A Curve-billed Thrasher along the Swansea Rd. 8 May (LHar) was at the western end of the species’ range.
A handsome vagrant male Northern Parula was in the cottonwood grove of Imperial NWR 14 May (HD, SDe). A late "Myrtle" Yellow-rumped Warbler was observed at Cocopah RV Resort west of Yuma 14 May (HD) and one was late at Parker Oasis 14 May (DVP). The Black-and-White Warbler from winter continued Parker Oasis through 12 Mar (LHar, DVP). A young male American Redstart was at ‘Ahakhav 21 May (LHar). After several days of winds from the north, a great count of 100+ Wilson’s Warblers was noted just north of Laguna Dam 26 Apr (JPz). Another high count of 60-90 Wilson's Warblers was at Parker Oasis 15 May (CMc). And finally, 50 Wilson’s Warblers were noted there 23 May (LHar).
A Chipping Sparrow was late at ‘Ahakhav 29 May (LHar). Casually reported in Yuma Co., a Grasshopper Sparrow showed up northeast of Wellton at the edge of the Gila R. valley 6 Mar (HD) and another was reported from Planet Ranch 10 Mar (DVP). A Clay-colored Sparrow found at Cibola Valley Conservation Area 30 Apr (DVP) was one of few records for this species for the LCRV, particularly in the spring. A fine count of 25 Lazuli Buntings was spotted in a field north of Yuma 11 May (PL, BC).Uncommon to rare Pine Siskins were found in several locations this spring. Two were found at ‘Ahakhav 10 Apr (LHar, DVP), one was at Agua Caliente 13 May (PL), two at Tacna 13 May (PL), two near Wellton 13 May (PL), and one in the cottonwoods past the end of McCabe Rd. (Parker Valley) 14 May (DVP).
This winter and spring saw low counts of Lawrence’s Goldfinches throughout the state, so 12 at ‘Ahakhav 10 Apr (LHar, DVP) was a good find. They attempted to breed there, with one pair building a nest 25 Apr. These soon disappeared, but this or another pair was building a new nest 27 May, which was also abandoned (LHar). Another pair was on the Bill Williams River 14 May (LHar). Rare but regular migrants, as many as nine American Goldfinches were seen at ‘Ahakhav 12 Mar-2 May (LHar, DVP) and one was at the Yuma West Wetlands 15 Apr (HD).
Compiled by Steve Ganley
Abbreviations: Agua Fria River (AFR), Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park (BTA), Gilbert Water Ranch (GWR), Glendale Recharge Ponds (GRP), Hassayampa River Preserve (HRP), Lower River Road, Palo Verde (LRR), Morgan City Wash (MCW), Tempe Town Lake (TTL)
The temperatures were at or below normal for the season and there was very little rain. A series of fronts passed to the north of the region giving many windy, dry days. There was at least one fire adjacent to BTA, but other regions in the state had it much worse. This spring will be remembered as the migration that didn’t stop. Typically peak migration is the end of April through the first week of May when it sharply drops off. This season the migration remained strong throughout the entire period and beyond. This likely assisted the 47 participants of the NAMC (14 May) in Maricopa Co., which tallied a record high of 212 species.
Lingering waterfowl included four Snow Geese, one at Riggs Rd. Pond in Chandler 4 Mar (S. Brandt) and up to three at GWR 9-11 Mar (P. Coskun, GBo). A Ross’s Goose and three Greater White-fronted Geese were also at the GWR 5 Feb -15 Mar (PD, JHol, DPe). Although reports are increasing, Wood Ducks are still fairly rare visitors to the region so of note was a female along the Gila R. at Bullard Road in Goodyear 9 Mar (TC) and a pair on the Verde R. north of Box Bar Ranch 5 May (B. Hoffnagle, E. Hall). Very late was a lingering Canvasback discovered in Chandler 14 May (TLew). A good concentration of Common Goldeneyes was noted at Granite Reef Recreation Area with 20 individuals counted 9 Mar (TDeB). A late individual was at Painted Rock Dam 25 Apr (BGro). Rare anywhere in the state away from the lower Colorado River, an exceptional high concentration of 20 Red-breasted Mergansers were counted below Painted Rock Dam 17 Apr (BGro). Rarely reported nesting in the region, two broods of Ruddy Ducklings were noted at the Tres Rios Full-scale wetlands 11 May (TC). The Horned Grebe first found in January was still in Gilbert 27 Mar (MSc). Although the number of Neotropic Cormorants has increased greatly over the last several years, finding nesting locations has proven to be a challenge. A colony consisting of 48 active nests found in Scottsdale 29 Apr is only the second one found in Maricopa Co. (TC, TLew). An exceptional concentration of 250+ Neotropic Cormorants was noted at a sand and gravel quarry pond near Buckeye 9 May (TC). Brown Pelicans seem to be spending more time in the region, not just as postbreeding wanderers. Two wintering birds were still at the TTL 5 Mar (MWeb). Little Blue Heron is casual with most records in May so a bird at Tres Rios 8 May (ph. MHe) fell into that pattern. Glossy Ibis, casual in the region, can be hard to pick out of the large flocks of White-faced Ibis. There was one found on the Paloma Ranch 18-22 April (GR, PL,, BC; TDeB). The wintering Roseate Spoonbill provided the first spring record by spending the entire season along the Gila R. near Old Hwy 80, Palo Verde (MHe, m. ob.).
Black Vultures have been expanding north and west with three birds soaring over Wickenburg 6 Mar (RT, CG), two photographed near the Salt-Verde River confluence 20 Mar (fide TC), and a total of nine birds over the Bush Hwy 7 Apr (DPe). Casual in the lowlands, a Northern Goshawk was at the BTA 3-4 Mar (JHol, JBu). The seemingly resident Red-shouldered Hawk(s) at the HRP can be elusive at times, but one was noted 11 Mar (TDeB), and a pair was there 3 Apr (MWeb). The status of Broad-winged Hawks has changed from accidental to casual the last few years and there were sightings 3 April at the MCW (TDeB) possibly the same bird there 10 Apr (BIs) and also in the Arlington area 27 Apr (ph. TC, JDoc). The Hassayampa R. Gray Hawk numbers seem to have exploded with 10-12 birds found 14 May, including four pairs on territories just within the HRP (TC, CSm, JAl). Swainson’s Hawks are expected migrants, but this spring they came through the area west of Phoenix in larger than usual numbers. For example, on 2 Apr there were 150 birds in the air with another 100 sitting in fields near Hwy 85 and Watson Rd. with over 300 total seen for the day in the Buckeye area (MHe). Unexpected, the first known nesting attempt of Swainson’s Hawk in Maricopa Co. was found near Buckeye (TC, JAl). Courtship and nest-building was observed in early May and incubating noted by the end of the month. The wintering light morph Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk was seen in the Arlington Valley until 5 Mar (PD). Crested Caracaras are being seen in areas where there are few or no previous records. One was photographed at the northern edge of the region over the HRP 25 Mar (ph. DShe), and another was over Old Hwy 80 near the Gillespe Dam 4 Apr (DMo).
Black-bellied Plovers are rare in spring and one at LRR ponds was getting late 5 May (DSmi). For the first time in a few years, Snowy Plovers were not found nesting in the Painted Rock, Paloma Ranch area (BGro). Five Solitary Sandpipers were not very solitary in a pond in Avondale 16 Apr (MHe). Migrant Lesser Yellowlegs are rarely reported before early April in Arizona, so six observed at the overflow area near the Tres Rios Full-scale Wetlands 9 Mar may have wintered locally (TC). Fourteen Lesser Yellowlegs was a big number for one location in Gila Bend 18 Apr (PL). Casual in spring, there were two Whimbrels at Palo Verde 17 Apr (ST), one at Paloma Ranch 24 Apr (KR), two at Paloma Ranch 11 May (BGro), and one at GRP 13 May (ph. MHe). Marbled Godwits are uncommon, but they came through in good numbers this spring with eight near Buckeye 9 Apr (MHe), 14 at the AFR in Glendale 10 Apr (KR), five in Avondale 16 Apr (MHe), and an additional 14 on LRR 24 Apr (KR), and that number grew to 32 on 27 Apr (TC, JDoc). Other noteworthy shorebirds were a Pectoral Sandpiper (possibly the first spring record for Maricopa Co.) at the Gila Bend power plant 7 May (ph. CMc) and a Dunlin at PRD 6 Apr (BGro).
Red-necked Phalaropes are rare in spring and single birds were at PRD 6 Apr (BGro), GWR 7-8 Apr (ph. B. Amato, PG), in Gila Bend 19 Apr (PL, GR, BC), and a high of 24 counted in the Gila Bend area 14 May (BGro). Franklin’s Gulls are uncommon in spring and there were sightings of one at the GRP (MHe), four at Painted Rock Dam 6 Apr (BGro), and six at the GRP 10 Apr (MHe). The only wayward terns were a Forster’s at Gila Bend STP 22 Apr (TDeB) and a Black at the Tres Rios Full-scale Wetlands 14 May (JRz).
Ruddy Ground-Doves wintered at the GWR and one was last seen 23 Mar (SHo). Rare visitors, Broad-billed Hummingbird reports continue to increase in the region with no fewer than six individuals reported this season. This included one in Hidden Valley, Pinal Co. 9 Apr (NL), one at MCW 23 Apr (TC, TLew), two at Slate Creek Divide 14 May (CR), another in a Tempe yard 14 May (B. Enos) and finally a male along Sycamore Cr. near Sunflower 22 May (C. Beardmore). A female Williamson’s Sapsucker was a little out of place at the BTA 18 Apr (JHol). There was a slightly early push of Hammond’s Flycatcher at MCW with a total of six individuals detected 27 Mar (TC, TLew). A wintering Eastern Phoebe at the GWR was last reported 19 Mar (TLo). Rare and local north of se. Arizona, a concentration of Dusky-capped Flycatchers first found late last summer were back in the Mazatzal Mtns. with at least seven seen 23 May (TDeB). Tropical Kingbirds have again returned to the HRP with a sighting 14 May (TC CSm, JAl).
Bell’s Vireo arrived at the BTA 5 Mar (JBu) and an early Warbling Vireo was at the MCW 12 Mar (TC) A well-heard American Crow was at the GWR 20 May (JHol) where considered rare in winter and not expected in May. A pair of Barn Swallows was regular in a Tempe neighborhood from mid-April through May and is suspected of nesting in the area (DPe). There are surprisingly few greater Phoenix area nesting records of Barn Swallow. Irregularly reported in the lowland Red-breasted Nuthatches included two birds in a Mesa yard 1-16 Mar (JMil). Rare and local in the desert lowlands single lingering Brown Creepers were at Lower Camp Cr. and Seven Springs 4 Mar (TDeB), HRP, 1 Apr (B. Olsen), and El Dorado Park in Scottsdale 3 Apr (JBa).
Although there were no reports of Pacific Wren this season, the winter influx of Winter Wrens continued into spring. Birds were still present at Seven Springs 4 Mar (TDeB), BTA 8-13 Mar (JHol, SG), GRD 26 Mar (TDeB), the HRP 2 Apr (TDeB), and one to two were at MCW from 12 Mar-23 Apr (TC).
Uncommon transients, Swainson's Thrushes made a fair showing in the region with 45 between Yuma and Gila Bend 11 May (PL, BC), two at the Gila Bend Auxiliary Air Field 12 May (JA), and singles near Hat Mtn. 25 May (JA) and HRP 27 May (TDeB). A rare Rufous-backed Robin that probably wintered locally was photographed in a residential yard in Buckeye 4 Mar (ARo). Casual visitors to the region, a migrant Brown Thrasher was at the MCW 3 Apr (TC) and a wintering bird was last reported from the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix 2 May (DHe). The first Lucy’s Warblers reported in the region were on schedule 9 Mar at 91st Ave. and the Salt R. (TC). Northern Parulas are rare visitors, so of note was a female at 91st Ave. and the Salt R. 9 Mar (TC) and a male at MCW 12 Mar (ph. TC). Another rare warbler to the region, the wintering Black-and-White Warbler at the GWR remained through 21 Apr where it was heard singing (JHol) and another individual was at MCW 7- 14 May (TC, JJ, JAl). A rare Northern Waterthrush was also at the MCW 14 May (JJ). Infrequently noted in the lowlands during migration, there were two Painted Redstarts at the BTA 28 Mar as they worked their way up to higher elevations (JHol). Two Lark Buntings were a little out of habitat at the BTA 5 Mar (JBu).
A "Slate-colored" Fox Sparrow was reported at Old Beeline Hwy, Sunflower 10 Mar (TDeb). Pyrrhuloxia is uncommon and local in this region; one was at HRP 6-11 (A. Leight, CSm, and A. Pellegrini) and another was at the Desert Botanical Garden 1 May (GBar). Rare but regular migrants there were two Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, one in Tempe 17 May (PD) and one in Hidden Valley 26 May (NL). A Blue Grosbeak found at the I-8 rest stop near MP 84 probably wintered locally given the early date of 19 Mar (JWi). The Streak-backed Oriole discovered in a Scottsdale backyard in late December lingered until 13 Apr (ph. MV). An early Bullock’s Oriole was at the BTA 5 Mar (JBu). A Scott's Oriole was out of place at the TTL 1 May (MWeb). Cassin’s Finch is an irregular transient in the region so over a dozen birds at higher elevations of Mt. Ord were of note 28 Mar (TDeB). Large numbers of Red Crossbills, 100+, also roamed the upper areas of Mt. Ord 14 May (SG). This was not a good year for Lawrence’s Goldfinch but there were a few pairs and possible nesting 11 Mar-2 Apr at the HRP (TDeB), a flyover individual at the MCW 3 Apr (TC), and a male off Dean Rd. se. of Buckeye 4 May (TC).
Compiled by Brian Ison
Following a very cold and wet winter, cool temperatures and abnormally dry conditions were seen across Gila Co. this spring. Possibly, this contributed to the late arrival of neotropical migrants and the late departure of wintering birds. For example, Cordilleran Flycatchers arrived at least two weeks later than usual in Pine, whereas large flocks of Red Crossbills were reported into mid-May. There were very few bird reports from Gila Co. this spring, most coming from San Carlos L. This report includes the entire lake, including the portions in Graham, Pinal, and Gila counties.
A single Snow Goose, accidental after mid-April, was a nice find at San Carlos L. 28 Apr (DSt, GR, MPo), as was one lingering Canada Goose on the same date, and two Canadas were there 19 May (DSt, MSt). Rare in Gila Co. and probably a breeding species at San Carlos L., about 20 “Mexican” Mallards were a high number spotted there 28 Apr (DSt, GR, MPo).
Uncommon in Gila Co. in the spring, as many as 3000-4000 Aechmophorus Grebes, with 60 to 70 percent Clark's, were counted at San Carlos L. 28 Apr (DSt, GR, MPo). Another 700-800 grebes remained there 19 May (DSt, MSt). Neotropic Cormorants are rarely reported in Gila Co. although they seem to be expanding their range northward. Sightings of this species have been more common at San Carlos L., where at least six birds were found at the mouth of the San Carlos R. 28 Apr (DSt, GR, MPo). Three imm. Neotropic Cormorants were also seen at Roosevelt L. north of the Cholla Campground 1 May (TDeB, JKo).
About 15-20 nesting pairs of Snowy Egrets and 25-30 nesting pairs of Black-crowned Night-Herons were seen along the San Carlos R. near Peridot 19 May (DSt, MSt).
A casual migrant in the Gila region, a single imm. Broad-winged Hawk was observed over the Pinal Mtns. above Globe 7 May (ph. DPe et al.). Found in riparian habitats and perennial drainages, Gray Hawks have been expanding their range northward in Arizona and increasing in numbers. A confirmed nesting record was as far north as Pinal Cr. just se. of Roosevelt L. (Atlas). However, they are still rare and local in Gila Co., and a single adult Gray Hawk was a nice find along the San Carlos R. near Peridot 19 May (DSt, MSt). They have been reported in this area since the 1990s (Atlas).
Unusual for the Gila region, but sometimes seen at the San Carlos STP, an adult Common Moorhen was spotted there 25 Apr (KK, DJ) and seen again 28 Apr (DSt, GR, MPo). Another single bird was reported at Talkalai L. near San Carlos 19 May (DSt, MSt).
Shorebirding was very good at San Carlos L. this spring. A molting adult Black-bellied Plover and about 50 Willets were found 28 Apr (DSt, GR, MPo). A group of 36 Marbled Godwits were reported, along with a mixed flock of an estimated 2000 Western and Least Sandpipers, and 500 Long-billed Dowitchers 25 Apr (KK, DJ). Rare spring transients, 200-250 Red-necked Phalaropes were seen at San Carlos L. 19 May (DSt, MSt). Uncommon spring transients, six adult Franklin's Gulls were noted at San Carlos L. 25 Apr (KK, DJ), a number that had grown to 11 by 28 Apr (DSt, GR, MPo). At Green Valley Park in Payson, 37 Franklin’s Gulls in breeding plumage were seen 14 Apr (RF). Rare transients, two adult California Gulls were observed at San Carlos L. 25 Apr (KK, DJ).
Inca Doves are very local in Gila Co. so three at San Carlos L. 25 Apr (KK, DJ), where they are not commonly reported, was a good find.
Rare in the region, Magnificent Hummingbirds are occasionally seen in n. Gila Co. although no nests have been found. A single male Magnificent Hummingbird was seen in Pine Cr. Canyon on the NAMC 14 May (BIs) at about the same location where one male was seen on the 2010 NAMC.
Infrequently reported in Gila Co., a singing Greater Pewee was a good find in the Pinal Mtns. 2 May (TDeB, JKo). Tropical Kingbirds are rarely reported in Gila Co. and they are uncommon summer residents along the lower San Pedro R. even though their numbers are expanding in the state (Atlas). A Tropical Kingbird was seen at the San Carlos STP 11 May (GR et al.), which is out of its expected range.
Exceptional large numbers of swallows were seen at San Carlos L. 19 May. Mainly migrants, these included at least two Purple Martins, 4000-5000 Violet-green Swallows, 1000 Northern Rough-winged Swallows, 500-600 Bank Swallows (uncommon spring transients), 4000-5000 Cliff Swallows, and about 1500-2000 Barn Swallows (DSt, MSt). A single Purple Martin was also seen during the NAMC in the Pinal Mtns. 14 May (NGw, et al.).
First-of-the season Red-faced Warblers were early in the Pinal Mtns. 8 Apr (DP et al.). Pyrrhuloxia is uncommon and local in this region so one at Tonto NM near Roosevelt L. 22 Apr (TJ) was unusual. High counts of 27 Black-chinned Sparrows and 11 Yellow-eyed Juncos were notable during the NAMC 14 May in the Pinal Mtns. (NGw, et al.). A pair of Indigo Buntings, rare but occasionally reported in spring, was seen in a Pine yard in early May (JE). There were no confirmed nesting records for this species during the Atlas in Gila Co., despite being reported annually, so any breeding evidence would be noteworthy. Cassin’s Finches were also seen in unusually high numbers this spring, moving to lower elevations in the Gila region. An irregular visitor in spring, one female Cassin’s Finch was seen at bird feeders in a Pine yard 5 Mar, a pair 2-3 Apr, and five+ 16-17 Apr (ph. BIs). A single female was found near the top of Mt. Ord, and three others, including one singing male, were nearby on the Maricopa Co. side 16 Apr (TDeB). Another female Cassin’s Finch was noted on Mt. Ord 29 Apr (JHo). It has been an irregular flight year for Red Crossbills last winter and into spring in Gila Co., with many large flocks being reported irrupting in search of abundant pine nuts. A flock of 20+ Red Crossbills was seen in the Pinal Mtns. 16 Mar (PWo). Large flocks of Red Crossbills, 150+ seen during the day, were also in the Pinal Mtns. above Globe 8 Apr (DPe et al.), and some flocks containing 40+ birds were detected 7 May (DPe et al.). Another flock of 20+ was detected in the Pinal Mtns. during the NAMC 14 May (NGw, et al.). At least 30 Red Crossbills, some singing and calling, were seen eating pine seeds on the ground and in trees in Pine, and a small flock was noted at bird feeders in a Pine yard 19 Mar (ph. BIs). Also seen in a Pine yard: 15 at bird feeders 2-3 Apr, one 7-8 May, twelve+13-15 May, and a calling pair on the NAMC in Pine Cr. Canyon 14 May (BIs). On the upper slopes of Mt. Ord, Red Crossbill flocks were observed 6 Apr (PR), 16 Apr (TDeB), and 8 May (CBab), and nine were noted 29 Apr (JHo).
Rare and uncommon in higher elevation forests in Gila Co., a single Evening Grosbeak was noteworthy in the Pinal Mtns. 14 May (NGw, et al.).
Compiled by Mark Stevenson
Abbreviations: BANWR (Buenos Aires NWR), Empire Gulch (Empire Gulch, Las Cienegas NCA), EOP (Environmental Operations Park), HTM (Holy Trinity Monastery, Saint David), SGL (Santa Gertrudis Lane, Tumacacori), SNA (State Natural Area), Sweetwater (Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson), Whitewater (Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area), Willcox (Lake Cochise and Twin Lakes Golf Course, Willcox)
Ongoing drought set the region up for several spring events. Migrant birds were reported as more concentrated than usual at limited water and food sources, and forest and range were tinder dry. Some species made early spring arrivals, but the bulk of migrants were considered to be a week or more behind typical schedule and a trickle of migrants continued to pass through after their expected passage dates. Perhaps due to the concentrating effects of drought, species such as Swainson’s Thrush and Wilson’s Warbler were seen in higher than usual concentrations in riparian areas, and Western Tanagers and Black-headed Grosbeaks were numerous in yards and in the wild.
Observers also noted increased sightings of Calliope and Broad-tailed hummingbirds, particularly in the lowlands. An April cool snap brought fallouts of multiple species to the upper San Pedro R. and swallows to bodies of water. Several rarities from the south made listserv headlines, including Crescent-chested and Fan-tailed warblers. A pair of Elegant Trogons was found well north of known breeding areas.
From March through May, the region as a whole received just 17% of normal rainfall, although this varied from 52% in western Pima Co. to 0% of normal in se. Cochise Co. By the end of the season, drought conditions worsened over the entire region with the severity increasing from west to east. The Chiricahua Mtns. were experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions according to the National Weather Service. The drought conditions combined with the effects of killing frosts during the winter set the region up for extreme fire risk with plentiful and exceptionally dry fuels. Similar conditions prevailed to the south in Mexico, which may have contributed to movement of some of the birds found this season. The season was notable as well for many windy days.
Several major conflagrations and multiple smaller wildfires affected the region, all of them caused by human activity. The Bull Fire burned 9,700 acres west of Nogales 29 April-4 May. The Greaterville Fire burned 2,000 acres near there beginning 2 May. On 8 May, the Horseshoe 2 Fire began in the Chiricahua Mtns. and was not contained until 25 June. During that time it burned 222,954 acres or approximately 80% of the entire Chiricahua range, from south of Portal to north of Chiricahua NM, making it the fourth largest wildfire in state history. Firefighters reported that fuel moisture content was the lowest they had ever encountered. Combined with persistent strong, erratic winds, it made fighting the fire extremely difficult. Though a large part of the range burned, only a fraction burned hot enough to destroy all vegetation to “moonscape” condition. Birds and birders will feel the effects but opportunities for each to thrive remain. (The cost of fighting this fire reached $50 million.)
On 23 May, the Arlene Fire started near the border se. of Sonoita and burned 10,600 acres before it was contained on 27 May. On May 30, the Murphy Fire began west of Rio Rico. A second fire, the Pajarita Fire began near the border and merged with the Murphy and together they consumed 68,000 acres including the Peña Blanca L. area, the Atascosa Mountains (north to Sardina Peak, west almost to Bartolo Mtn.) and west into the Pajarita Wilderness where it just reached into lower Sycamore Canyon.
The abundance terminology used below is derived from the Annotated Checklist in Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, 7th edition.
The Greater White-fronted Goose continued from winter at Lakeside Park, Tucson through the tardy date of 29 Apr (m. ob.). The Snow Goose continued at Reid Park, Tucson through 5 May (m. ob.). A Ross’s Goose was a rare transient at Arthur Pack Regional Park, Tucson 8-10 Mar (P. Grindrod) and the one at Reid Park was last reported 5 May (m. ob.). The Canada Goose that wintered at Kennedy Park, Tucson stayed on past the end of the season (JH), an unusual event in the region. Five Wood Ducks were reported 6 Mar-1 May, all staying for only a day or two. A leucistic Northern Shoveler was an unusual sight at Aguirre L., BANWR 18 Apr (ph. B. Swarbrick). Greater Scaup is a rare visitor to the area; a male was reported at Peña Blanca L. 5 Mar (EW) and a female was at Sierra Vista EOP 20 Mar-3 Apr (EW et al.). A Common Loon at Benson STP 8 Apr (PC) was one of few ever found in the region in April. At Peña Blanca L. Least Grebes continued all season. Tracking the varying numbers reported yielded a high count of seven on 7 Mar and again 11-14 May (ph. ASc). The course of breeding events reported suggested the presence of two nesting pairs. Displaying was noted 3 Apr (RF), copulation was observed 26 Apr (EW), and nest building was noted 9 May (GR). Meanwhile, there must have been some unreported nesting as two stripe-faced juveniles were among the seven photographed 14 May (ASc). Nest-building was again reported 23-30 May (DSt, CCa) and then two downy chicks were reported 27 May (GB). The Murphy Fire closed the area to birders after that. Up to two Western Grebes continued at Patagonia L. through 9 May (m. ob.) and singles were seen at Picacho Res. 30 Mar (DJ), Willcox 19-28 Apr (EW), Lakeside Park 3-8 May (RF), and Benson STP 12 May (ARi). No Clark’s Grebes were reported this season. An American White Pelican was of local interest at Sierra Vista EOP 24 Apr (EW et al.). Brown Pelicans are considered casual in spring. Reports comprised two adults at Patagonia L. 21-24 Mar (MB; ph. DJ), one there 11-26 Apr (T. Rodenkirk), and up to two adults at Lakeside Park 31 May+ (RCa; MSt). Neotropic Cormorants were reported around Tucson in varying numbers, up to seven, intermittently at several locations. The highlight was the first nesting of this species in the region, commencing 15 Mar at Columbus Park, Tucson when ACo noted them carrying sticks into a tree; the pair eventually fledged two young (ph. MSt). A second pair was observed courting there 14 Apr (TJ) but apparently did not go on to nest there. A Snowy Egret arrived a bit early at Las Lagunas, Nogales 14 Mar (MMa). Early and casual was a Tricolored Heron found at the Nogales STP 5 May (MLe) that moved to the Rio Rico Road ponds through 10 May (ph. ASc). White-faced Ibis arrived on what have been considered “casual” early dates with one at Las Lagunas 14 Mar (MMa), 10 at Benson STP 20 Mar (M. Eirmann), and 17 at Patagonia L. 21 Mar (MB).
Two Black Vultures soaring near the Gila R. across from the Kearny airstrip 12 May (TC) were well out of known breeding range for the species. Surprising in the Tucson valley was a Black Vulture at Fort Lowell Park, Tucson 18 Mar (MSt, MPo) among migrating Turkey Vultures. At the same location, the high count for northbound Turkey Vultures lifting off on morning thermals was 230 on 27 Mar (MPo, MSt). The wintering Tucson Osprey was last reported 11 Mar (JH). An early Osprey was at Patagonia L. 21 Mar (MMa) and the last migrant was reported from the same location 10 May (SH). Reports of White-tailed Kites came from the Avra Valley, San Pedro River Inn, and Palominas. The first Mississippi Kite report of the season came from along the Santa Cruz R. at Tumacacori 5 May (MA). Although not known to be a nesting area, the number of kite reports from the Tumacacori to Rio Rico section of the river has increased in recent years. Also away from known nesting areas was an adult Mississippi Kite at Cluff Ranch WA near Safford 17 May (TC, JAl). A migrant flew over a Tucson yard 22 May (RPa). On 30 May, one was seen perched near Nogales STP (MLe). At known nesting areas, the first reports were of one at Saint David 19 May (ARi) and one at Dudleyville 23 May (C. Charlesworth). Gray Hawks have been expanding northward in and beyond the region and beyond riparian deciduous forest habitat in recent years. Reports demonstrating this trend included:
2 Huachuca Mtns., Ash Canyon 4 Apr-1 May (MJB)
2 Gila R., Safford, Sanchez Bridge 20 Apr (BSp)
1 Madera Canyon 22 Apr+ (MSt et al.)
1 Tumacacori Mtns., Rock Corral Spring 23-24 May (DSt)
1 Huachuca Canyon 25 May (DSt)
Common Black-Hawks are regular migrants in the region with small numbers staying to nest. The first reported migrant was over Tucson on the expected date of 8 Mar (TSt) and the high count of migrants from a single location was of 24 rising up from the riparian forest near Tubac 14 Mar (JHam). (The Tubac bridge has been a fine site for observing the migrating hawks but the number of observers has grown to the point that at least a few local residents have become annoyed by it. The nearby Ronald Morriss County Park is a recommended alternative, safer, and community-friendly location.) Black-Hawks seen after migration away from more traditional nesting sites included singles at Portal 8 May (NMC), San Pedro River Inn 11 May (EW), Patagonia L. 24 May (DSt) and, most surprisingly, over the forest above the road’s end in Madera Canyon 28 May (ph. RF). Reports of Broad-winged Hawks have increased in recent years, but it remains a sparse migrant. Reports came from Madera Canyon 16 Apr (JGe), Huachuca Canyon 8 May (GR), Madera Canyon 8 May (RHo et al.), and the San Pedro R. near San Manuel 19 May (SB). Short-tailed Hawk reports were few and far between, mostly high up in Sky Island mountain ranges. Doug Gochfeld seemed to have a knack for spotting them this season. Documented individuals were in the Santa Catalina Mtns. 24 Mar-24 May (ph. D. Gochfeld), the Huachuca Mtns. near Fort Huachuca 7 Apr (ph. D. Gochfeld), Sabino Canyon 8 Apr (ph. N. Harris), and high in the Santa Rita Mtns. above Baldy Saddle 29 Apr (ph. D. Gochfeld). There were no documented reports of Short-tailed Hawk from the Chiricahua Mtns. this season and portions of the Barfoot area preferred by the hawks were severely burned over in the Horseshoe 2 Fire during June 2011, so their future there is uncertain. Crested Caracaras continued in the Santa Cruz Flats through 27 Mar (m. ob.). Nearby reports came from I-10 near Red Rock 18 Apr (RF) and Picacho Res. 12-14 May (PKl). Reports of a single caracara at locations along the Santa Cruz R. from Tubac to south of Tumacacori 13 Mar-10 May suggested a wandering individual in an area from which multiple reports have come in recent seasons. One was at Avra Valley STP 1 May (JH), and a remote sensor camera set up at a water catchment just east of Hwy 79, approximately 15 miles northwest of Oracle Junction, snapped several images of an adult Crested Caracara that came into the catchment with a few Turkey Vultures 4 May (fide AZGFD).
An adult Common Moorhen with four chicks greater than a week old on the Santa Cruz R. south of Cortaro Rd., Marana 15-16 Apr (M. Jones, ph. ACo) was a few weeks earlier than the earliest date for chicks in the Atlas. Out of place but not unprecedented were two Sandhill Cranes over Sweetwater 13 Mar (JBoc). The last cranes of the season were 22 at Willcox 10-12 Apr (CLu; ph. RT) and one at Whitewater 11 Apr (C. Nims). Shorebird habitat remains limited in the region with or without the drought. As can be seen from the reports, Willcox continued to offer the best habitat available. The only Snowy Plover reported was at Willcox 3-4 May (RF, TJ). Fifty Spotted Sandpipers at Mammoth STP 19 May (DSt) was a high number for the region. Casual in the region, a few Whimbrels were reported this season: in the Santa Cruz Flats 22 Mar (GO), at Willcox 19 Apr (RT), and at Willcox again 28 Apr (ph. JLaw). Even this small number is an above average showing for a single spring in the region. Marbled Godwit is a “rare” spring migrant in the region. The only report was of four at Willcox 19 Apr (EW). Semipalmated Sandpiper is a “casual” spring migrant. This season, singles were at Willcox 4 May (ph. TJ) and 15 May (ph. RS). Baird’s Sandpiper is a “rare” spring migrant. The only report was of one at Willcox 4-13 May (GR). Stilt Sandpiper is a “casual” spring migrant; one was at Willcox 23 Apr (RB). Also “casual”, a Short-billed Dowitcher was among 150 Long-billed Dowitchers at Willcox 8 May (JY). Not unexpected in the region, but at an unexpected location, 13 Franklin’s Gulls were seen flying up river over Dudleyville 16 Apr (CBab, DPe). California Gull is a “casual” spring migrant; one was at Sweetwater 27 Mar (CMc) and three were at Willcox 19 May (RT). The only Least Tern reported was at Kansas Settlement 17 May (JCn); this species has become less frequent in the past two years after a decade or more of increasing reports. Caspian Tern is quite “casual” in spring so six at Willcox 20 Apr (L. Miller) were a good find.
An Inca Dove was out of place in Garden Canyon, Fort Huachuca 1 May (DSt) as were two in Portal 7 May (DSt). Although it is difficult to quantify, numbers of this species remain low compared to previous years in Tucson (MSt). A few Ruddy Ground-Doves were found, with two at Ronald Morriss Park, Tubac 10 May (LHal), one near Portal in “Jasper’s yard” 23-24 May (RAR, ph. RWe), and one at Patagonia Roadside Rest 27 May (GB). Rarely discovered in the lowlands during migration, a Flammulated Owl was photographed roosting in a mesquite tree along Spring Canyon south of Thatcher 7 May (ph. D. Drobka). The elevation was approximately 3200 ft. The only Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl reported was at Organ Pipe Cactus NM 4 Apr-28 May (TJ). The first Elf Owl of the season was a tad bit early near Catalina 14 Mar (DJ). A Northern Saw-whet Owl was in Pinery Canyon, Chiricahua Mtns. 6 May (DSt) before the canyon burned. The first two reports of Lesser Nighthawk came on dates when they are “casual”: over central Tucson 25 Mar (CLu) and near east Tucson 7 Apr (DSt). A Common Poorwill encountered in daylight was a surprise at Tohono Chul Park, Tucson 25 Apr (PKl). This species is rarely detected in migration. Similarly, a Mexican Whip-poor-will was a surprise at San Bernardino NWR 28 May (RWe). Two apparent Chimney Swifts were photographed while circling low over Willcox during a dust storm 10 May (ph. TJ). This species is far less than annual in the state, although they have summered in Tucson on rare occasion.
Hummingbirds were seen in increased numbers at feeders, especially in the lowlands, possibly an effect of the drought on natural nectar sources. Especially conspicuous by their increased prevalence were Broad-tailed and Calliope hummingbirds. A female Broad-billed Hummingbird was observed constructing a nest in Sabino Canyon on the early date of 10 Mar (MSt). An even earlier nest was observed in February 2009. A gravid female Broad-billed at Casa de San Pedro B&B, Palominas, confirmed a new nesting species for the river 20 May (SW) though it follows a belated report of one nesting at Saint David in 2010 (ph. ARi). Broad-billed Hummingbirds are rarely reported along the lower San Pedro R. drainage, but are likely increasing. Therefore of note, a female was observed along the river south of the Aravaipa Cr. confluence 10 May (C. Andreson, D. Wolgast, R. Valencia) and two separate individuals were detected along Aravaipa Cr. near Aravaipa Farms 9 May and 3 June (D. Wolgast). A male Berylline Hummingbird at Casa de San Pedro 27-31 May (SW) was at an unexpectedly low elevation; there was but a single sight report of this species mentioned in the Annotated Checklist for the San Pedro RNCA. This species is essentially unknown in Arizona away from mid-elevation canyons. A Violet-crowned Hummingbird strayed north to Catalina 16-28 Mar (CJ Vincent) and another visited feeders at Sabino Canyon Dam 22-30 Mar (F. Heath; ph. EF). Seldom seen away from nesting habitat, even in migration, a Blue-throated Hummingbird was at San Bernardino NWR 21 May (RWe, RAR). More regular but still rare in the lowlands 10 Magnificent Hummingbirds were reported in such settings 19 Mar-10 May. The first Lucifer Hummingbird of the season arrived 29 Mar+ in lower Ramsey Canyon (J&MH), (an expected date) where up to two were present there through the season. Next up was Ash Canyon B&B where up to three were reported beginning 7 Apr (MJB). Elsewhere in the Huachucas Mtns., reports came from Hereford (TBa), upper Miller Canyon (TBe) and an amazing four Lucifer Hummingbirds were banded on Ft. Huachuca (near the mouth of Huachuca Canyon) 29 May (L. Davis). Away from the Huachucas, reports came from Cave Cr. (TA), E. Whitetail Canyon (RT) and Portal (RWe, RAR) in the Chiricahua Mtns., Dragoon Mountain Ranch 26 Apr (ARi), and Bisbee 29 Apr-1 May (SW). An apparent male Black-chinned X Anna’s hummingbird hybrid was in a Tucson yard 9 Apr (RHo) and the Black-chinned X Costa’s continued in the same yard through 9 Apr (RHo). As mentioned earlier, Calliope Hummingbirds made news this spring, starting with early arrivals. A bedraggled male arrived in Hereford on the very early date of 26 Feb-2 Mar (ph. TBa) and others were early at Dragoon Mountain Ranch 8-14 Mar (ARi), Green Valley 11-12 Mar (NH), and Sierra Vista 17 Mar-18 Apr (EW). During the typical migration period, numbers and distribution were reported as above average by multiple observers. At the other end of migration, late Calliopes were at Patagonia 19-20 May (MMa), Portal 24 May (R. van Buskirk), and south of Patagonia 28 May (MMa, D. Knox). Although no early arrivals were reported, migrant Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were more numerous than usual in the lowlands and remained in lower elevations beyond expected dates. As an example, nine trapped at Sabino Canyon 19 Mar (EF) and 16 trapped there 2 Apr (EF) were unexpected there. On the latter date, the birds were noted to be in heavy molt. Representative late Broad-tailed Hummingbirds in the lowlands included one at Patagonia 13 May (EW), three at Tubac 29 May (DSt), and one at Las Cienegas NCA 31 May (JBoc).
Very exciting was the discovery of two Elegant Trogons in Rattlesnake Canyon, Galiuro Mtns. 17-18 Apr (ph. A. King, M. Sredl, S. Contreras). This represents the first record for Graham Co. and a potential new nesting area. The location’s remoteness may limit follow-up to the very determined. Up to five trogons were observed in seldom birded Josephine Canyon, Santa Rita Mtns. 8-24 May (SC et al..) and four males were in Temporal Canyon 14 May (MB, J. Stewart). Not far from Sycamore Canyon, a female trogon was at California Gulch 29 May (J. Groves, MK). A trogon survey conducted in the Huachuca Mtns. 29 May turned up no fewer than 14 and potentially as many as 19 trogons (if all the observed males were paired; RT). Among these was one in seldom birded Copper Canyon (EW). Late migrant Belted Kingfishers were seen at Benson STP 23 Apr (RHo) and San Pedro RNCA 1 May (EW). The only report of Green Kingfisher was an unconfirmed sighting at Empire Gulch 17 Mar (D. Wheeler). Apparently present since December, a Lewis’s Woodpecker was outside Oracle 20-26 Apr (fide DSm; DJ). “New” Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers not reported during the big winter influx included singles at Amado Territory Ranch 14 Mar (MSt), Empire Gulch 20 Mar (MSt), and Cave Cr. Canyon 18 Mar (M. Robichaud et al.). Holdovers were seen at McCormick Park, Tucson, Peña Blanca L., and SGL.
Amidst a fallout of Hammond’s Flycatchers (along with some Dusky and Gray), a Least Flycatcher was a great find along the San Pedro R. s. of the Charleston Bridge 1 May (D. Sibley). There are very few records of this species from anywhere in the state. In this region, there are two prior May reports. Migration of Hammond’s Flycatcher through the region ends in the third week of May, so the multiple stragglers this season were of note:
1 Sweetwater 22 May (DSt)
1 Huachuca Canyon 25 May (DSt)
1 San Pedro RNCA 25 May (EW)
1 Miller Canyon 26 May (DSt)
1 San Bernardino NWR 28 May (RWe)
1 Portal 29 May (RWe)
Three Gray Flycatchers at San Bernardino NWR 28 May (RWe) were the latest migrants reported this season. Pacific-slope Flycatchers seemed more numerous than usual later in the migration period. Representative was 15 along the Anza Trail s. of Tubac 29 May (DSt). Buff-breasted Flycatcher made news on several fronts. Early-arriving “casual” birds were two in Sawmill Canyon, Huachuca Mtns. 17 Mar+ (SH), increasing to seven by the end of Mar (CCa). Migrants away from nesting areas included one in the Santa Rita Mtns. at lower Florida Canyon 4-8 Apr (CMc) and one at Casa de San Pedro B&B 9 May (S. Seymour). In Temporal Canyon in the Santa Rita Mtns., 6-8 were found in a known but seldom visited nesting area 14 May (MB, J. Stewart). In the Santa Catalina Mtns. just above Rose Canyon L., where nesting was suspected last year, up to two were present 17 Apr+ (B. Checchia), a second pair was found 21 May+ (MK), and on 30 May adults appeared to be feeding nestlings (MLe). Nesting had not been confirmed in the range in many years. There were two reports of Eastern Phoebe: along the Anza Trail s. of Tubac 12 Mar (LN) and at Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve 26 Mar-10 Apr (FK). Arriving early, single Dusky-capped Flycatchers were “casual” at Huachuca Canyon 23 Mar (TBa) and Peña Blanca L. 31 Mar-5 Apr (MB, ASc). The first reported Tropical Kingbird was also “casual” at Peña Blanca L. 23 Apr (K. Nickey, MKl et al.). Out of range was one at Portal 9 May (ph. JSab). The first report of Thick-billed Kingbird came from Patagonia Roadside Rest 23 Apr+ (N. Steenhaut) when “rare”. There were two reports of Eastern Kingbird, one in ne. Tucson on the very early date of 24 Apr (CBr) and one at Willcox 31 May (ph. TJ, MA).
Typically, Gray Vireo is only rarely seen as a migrant in the region. Drought years seem to lead to increased encounters and this spring nearly 20 were found 25 Mar-28 May. Perhaps most remarkable were singing individuals in a central Tucson yard 26 Apr (RHo) and at Sweetwater 27 Apr (JBoc). Although Tree Swallows migrate through in numbers, 800 at Sweetwater 10 Apr (WR) on a cool morning following a rainstorm was a locally remarkable number. Late “casual” single Tree Swallows were at Willcox 27 May (DSt) and Mammoth STP 31 May (TC). More astonishing were a pair and another singing male Tree Swallow that remained at Sweetwater into late May, with the pair seen nest building 23 May (JBoc, ph. BGi, MSt). As would be expected in the ensuing heat, the nesting attempt was soon abandoned but at least one bird stayed on into June. Three hundred was a large number of migrant Violet-green Swallows at Mammoth STP 19 May (DSt, MSt). Bank Swallows were numerous for the date there too, with 50+ present (DSt, MSt). Five were at Willcox 27 May (DSt) when “rare”. The Red-breasted Nuthatch that wintered at Patagonia L. was last reported 20 Apr (m. ob.). In Tucson, the nuthatch that wintered at Randolph Park was last reported 15 Apr (BGi). Not reported during winter were two nuthatches in pines at Christina-Taylor Green Memorial River Park, Tucson 28 Mar (MSt, MPo) and another at Nogales cemetery 15 Apr (MMa).
Reports of Pacific Wren came from San Bernardino NWR 11 Mar (RWe) and Madera Canyon 9 Apr (LHal). Continuing Winter Wrens were at Peña Blanca L. through 11 Apr, Madera Canyon through 23 Mar, Colossal Cave Mountain Park through 2 Mar, and San Bernardino NWR through 11 Mar (RWe). Arizona’s first Sedge Wren at Peña Blanca L. was last reported 5 Apr (m. ob.). A bird identified as a Sedge Wren along the San Pedro R. near Hwy 90 19-20 Apr (K. Young et al.) awaits review by the ABC. Three Marsh Wrens were at San Bernardino NWR on the “casual” date of 4 May (RWe). Black-capped Gnatcatchers were reported more frequently this spring than during the previous season, so they apparently survived the drought and hard freezes. Reports came from Patagonia L., Montosa Canyon, lower Florida Canyon, Sonoita Creek SNA, Rock Corral Canyon, farther down lower Florida Canyon wash, and California Gulch. The latest report of Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the lowlands came from Portal 29 May (RWe), while 8-10 were still lingering in W. Turkey Cr., Chiricahua Mtns. 14 May (DSt).
Detected just as the forest snapped shut due to the Horseshoe 2 Fire, a Brown-backed Solitaire was heard along the Morse Canyon Trail, Chiricahua Mtns. 18 May (JY). Swainson’s Thrushes were more numerous and widespread than usual during migration in the region this spring. Examples of some high counts were: 33 at Proctor Rd. below Madera Canyon 16 May (LHal), 30 at Patagonia L. SP 17 May (ASc), 25 at San Bernardino NWR 21 May (RWe), and 17 near Dudleyville 28 May (CLu). Straggler Hermit Thrushes were three at San Bernardino NWR 21 May (RWe) and one at Leslie Canyon NWR 25 May (RWe). The wintering Rufous-backed Robin continued at HTM through 31 Mar (m. ob.). Those found later in the season were unseasonal enough to raise the possibility that they were drought or fire waifs from farther south instead of wandering wintering birds. These comprised singles below Proctor Rd. 25 Apr (CG et al.), in residential Patagonia 1-5 May (MMa, D. Knox), in a Portal yard 13-17 May (ph. RWe, RAR), and at San Bernardino NWR 21 May (RWe). A Varied Thrush was a good find at Roger Road WRF, Tucson 18 Apr (D. Sonneborn). Gray Catbird is casual as a spring migrant, so this was a good showing: singles at Sonoita Creek SNA 18 Mar (ph.ASc), KT Ranch s. of Portal 4-5 May (T. Morgan; RWe), a Portal yard 24 May (RWe), and a Willcox yard 24 May-5 Jun (ph. M. & L. Jarrett). The Brown Thrasher that wintered in nw. Tucson was last seen 25 Apr (L. Greene) and others were found in Guadalupe Canyon 6 Mar (ph. J Fitzgibbon), Portal 2 May (NMC), and San Bernardino NWR 11 May (RWe). Cedar Waxwing is considered “rare” in the second half of May, so these generous quantities were of note: 25 at Patagonia Roadside Rest 24-29 May (DSt) and eight in Huachuca Canyon 25 May (DSt). A juv. Olive Warbler was found in Carr Canyon, Huachuca Mtns. 16 May (SH), representing an early date for fledging by this species.
It was a good spring in the region for warbler watchers, with 26 species reported (not including Olive Warbler). Very early for a spring migrant in the region, a Tennessee Warbler was along the Santa Cruz R. s. of Cortaro Rd., Marana 2 Mar-15 Apr (ph. ACo). Its early “arrival” and extended stay suggest that it might have wintered locally. A Nashville Warbler at Proctor Rd. 21 May (DSt) was markedly late. A Virginia’s Warbler at Empire Gulch 31 May (MSt et al.) was either a late migrant or a refugee from drought or fire in the mountains. Though not very cooperative for listers, the early star of the spring warbler show was clearly the Crescent-chested Warbler at Arivaca Cienega, BANWR 2-3 Apr (G. Seabrook et al.; ph. Jerome Smith). This record is remarkable for being one of only about 10 for the state, the earliest spring record ever, at a relatively low elevation, and a first for Pima Co. Northern Parula is an “expected rarity” and this season delivered three. A Yellow Warbler south of Cortaro Rd. 2-4 Mar (KKa, JBoc) was early or had wintered. The Myrtle form of Yellow-rumped Warbler is not expected in the region after the first week of May, so these were late: two at San Bernardino NWR 21 May (RWe, RAR) and one there 28 May (ph. RWe). A casual transient Yellow-throated Warbler was near the Arizona Inn in central Tucson 13-14 Apr (ph. M. Womack, L. Phelan; ph. PK). Grace’s Warbler is rare as a migrant away from nesting habitat, so singles at Casa de San Pedro 25 Apr (SW) and Peña Blanca L. 11 May (BMcK, S. Johnsen) were notable. Palm Warblers put in a remarkable showing. In addition to one continuing at Kino Springs through 13 Mar (m. ob.), singles were s. of Cortaro Rd., Marana on the early date of 2 Mar-13 Apr (KKa, JBoc; ph. ACo), in Temporal Canyon 19 Apr (ph. F. Tilly), at Willcox 11 May (RH, ph. T. Waller), and at Slaughter Ranch on the late date of 26 May (ph. R. O’Donnell). A Blackpoll Warbler was a great find at Sweetwater 17-20 May (H. Wise, C. Lipski; ph. GR, ACo et al.); it is casual even as a fall transient and is rarer in spring. Black-and-White Warbler is another “expected rarity” and three were reported this season. Perhaps less common than in the past, only two American Redstarts were reported, with an adult male along the Gila R. near Thatcher 17 May (TC, JAl) and another at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum 23-24 May (BBu). Prothonotary Warbler is a casual transient, yet four were found this season: at Proctor Rd. 7 May (BPo), Cave Canyon, Santa Rita Mtns. 18 May (T. Helentjaris), Empire Gulch 21 May (WR), and along the San Pedro R. s. of Hwy 90 22-25 May (fide J. Broz; ph. RTh). Ovenbird was also uncommonly numerous for a casual transient, with five reported: at Chiricahua NM 14 May (ph. MA), at Empire Gulch 21 May-1 Jun (WR), at Huachuca Canyon 25 May (SH), at Cook’s L. 28 May (LN, ph. CLu), and one singing at Scheelite Canyon, Huachuca Mtns. 28 May (CCa). Northern Waterthrush made a fair showing with 14 reported 1-31 May. On the late side, a MacGillivray’s Warbler was at Sweetwater 22 May (DSt) and a whopping six were at San Bernardino NWR 28 May (RWe). Two Hooded Warblers were reported: at Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve 30 Apr (fide MMa) and in a Portal yard 20 May (RWe). The most remarkable component of Wilson’s Warbler migration this spring was the large numbers seen, particularly along the upper San Pedro R. where counts up into the low hundreds were made. In addition, they were more numerous than expected late in May when “rare”, e.g., 12 at San Pedro RNCA 25 May (EW), dozens at Slaughter Ranch 26 May (DSt), and 10 along the Anza Trail s. of Tubac 29 May (DSt). Red-faced Warbler is seldom seen far from breeding habitat, so one in a lower Ash Canyon, Hereford yard 8 May (RB, KL) was remarkable. Painted Redstarts have been regular spring migrants in small to moderate numbers in low elevation riparian areas. Passage dates this spring were 18 Mar-21 Apr with a few at middle elevations but away from breeding habitat in the first part of May. The late season star of the spring warbler bonanza, and even rarer and more cooperative than the Crescent-chested, was a singing Fan-tailed Warbler found in Madera Canyon between the Kubo B&B and the amphitheater 23-27 May (ph. GR; ph. J. Smith, LHal, RF). There are only six accepted records of this species in AZ (with one other pending). This occurrence fits in with many of the extant records, which come from mid-to-upper elevations in late May.
A Rufous-crowned Sparrow was out of place at Tucson Botanical Gardens 2 May (MBr). A small number of Rufous-winged Sparrows continued at San Bernardino NWR all season (RWe) but there were no other reports from Cochise Co. At the extreme northern edge of their range, a Rufous-winged Sparrow was singing 7 May near the Gila R. along Diversion Dam Road just northeast of Florence (TP, GCl). Botteri’s Sparrow is a species that is retiring enough that it would be easy to overlook in its grassland habitat when not singing. There had been no records or reports of the species between the first week of October and the first week of May until 2007 when the first April reports came in from this region. A few more April reports have followed. This spring, an observer living in their grassland habitat detected one coming to his feeder 5 Mar+ (ph. ASc), the earliest record for the state by more than a month. The count rose to four by 10 Apr and to six later in the month. Observers are encouraged to look for and document Botteri’s Sparrows before (and after) their traditional dates of occurrence. There was a spate of reports of Clay-colored Sparrow with 12 reported 7 Mar-24 May (all but two during May), from San Bernardino NWR west to Tucson. Brewer’s Sparrows have mostly departed by early May and are “casual” after mid-May, so 10 at San Bernardino NWR 21 May (RWe), one at Portal 22-23 May (RWe), and two at San Bernardino NWR 28 May (RWe) were of note. After a winter in which they were numerous in the Sulfur Springs Valley, one Lark Bunting lingered to 26 May at Whitewater (DSt), when “casual”. A Grasshopper Sparrow in the Santa Cruz Flats 26 Mar (DJ) was in the same area as one reported in December 2010. Well documented was a late Baird’s Sparrow at Willcox 4 May (ph. TJ) when “casual”. They are very seldom seen in migration away from wintering areas. The only Fox Sparrow reported this season was a "Red" Fox Sparrow in a Portal yard 9-10 Mar (ph. RWe). This form is less common in Arizona than the usual “rare” Slate-colored Fox Sparrow. Swamp Sparrow is considered “casual” in the region after mid-Apr. Late individuals were at Kingfisher Pond, San Pedro RNCA 26 Apr (RTh), Whitewater 7 May (GR), and Willcox 11 May (TJ). White-throated Sparrow put in a good spring showing, with 12 reported 12 Mar-27 May, the latter a late date for the species. Another Harris’s Sparrow from winter last visited a ne. Tucson yard 17 Apr (J. Smith). Another was found at the Nature Conservancy’s San Pedro Preserve at Dudleyville 16 Apr (ph. CBab, DPe ). A Golden-crowned Sparrow was at the San Pedro House 10 Mar-10 May (ph. JW) and another was in the Chiricahua Mtns. near the junction of roads 42 and 42B 28 Apr (ph. JLaw).
Scarlet Tanager is casual at any time but one at Portal 7-8 May (ph. RWe, RAR) appears to be the earliest spring record. Western Tanagers were widely reported to be more numerous than usual and more than a few observers were surprised to find them in their yards for the first time, though they are not rare in the lowlands even in a typical year. A Flame-colored Tanager was reported 7-30 Apr (ph. B. Stymeist; SW) near Beatty’s in Miller Canyon; a hybrid tanager was also reported there 24 Apr (MK). Rose-breasted Grosbeak reports comprised 15 seen 21 Apr-21 May. Notably early was a Black-headed Grosbeak at Tohono Chul Park 14 Mar (PK). As with Western Tanager, migrant grosbeaks were widely reported to be more numerous than usual, especially at feeders. A female Blue Grosbeak was early at Casa de San Pedro 2 Apr (RHo) and was reportedly present before that date. Another early individual was an adult male at Paton’s 8-10 Apr (MMa). Lazuli Buntings were also reported to be extra numerous this spring. A splotchy male Indigo Bunting was early at University of Arizona, Tucson 1 Apr (CLu). A female Painted Bunting was unseasonal in May at Quailway Cottage east of Portal 12 May (ph. JY), as was an adult male at Willcox 14 May (PC). There were apparently no prior May records in the region. Casual in May, a Dickcissel was in “Jasper’s yard”, Portal 6 May (ph. R. Weaver). A male Hooded Oriole was on the early side in Tucson 11 Mar (RPa). A male Baltimore Oriole was in a Portal yard 25-26 Apr (ph. MD) and what was apparently a different male was in another Portal yard 2 May (RAR, RWe). Spring migration in the region for this casual transient is mid-April-early June. The same yards hosted hybrid Baltimore X Bullock’s hybrid orioles this spring and another was at Quailway Cottage. The first migrant Scott’s Orioles reported were “casual” 9-10 Mar in Green Valley (C. Plumlee) and Portal 11 Mar (NMC). There were few reports of Cassin’s Finch this season, but one was in E. Whitetail Canyon 23 Apr (RT). The latest reports of Pine Siskin away from breeding areas came as follows: six at San Bernardino NWR 25 May (RB), one at the San Pedro RNCA 25 May (EW), and one at Madera Canyon 27 May (EW). An adult male Lawrence’s Goldfinch at Paton’s 22-23 Apr (A. Geraghty, MMa) and another adult male along the Gila R. near the Kearny airstrip on the late date of 31 May (TC, JAl) were among the few reports of this species this year. Reports of Evening Grosbeak have steadily declined in the region but there was some movement of them statewide and in this region this spring. Reports comprised: one in Miller Canyon 16 Apr-21 May and 15-20 high on Mt. Lemmon between Ski Valley and the summit observatory 23 Apr-8 May ((SO; ph ACo et al.).
Cited observers: Moez Ali (MA), Joey Alsadi (JAl), Walt Anderson (WA), Rich Aracil (RA), Keith Archibald (KAr), John Arnett (JAr), Tom Arny (TA), Charles Babbitt (CBab), Kenneth Bader (KBa), Mary Jo Ballator (MJB), Gorden Barnes (GBar), Jack Bartley (JBa), Tony Battiste (TBa), Tom Beatty (TBe), Robert Behrstock (RB), Gavin Bieber (GB), Scott Blackman (SB), Kathleen Blair (KB), Jerry Bock (JBoc), Gary Botello (GBo), Clait Braun (CBr), Matt Brooks (MBr), Matt Brown (MB), Steve & Sue Burk (S&SB), Sue Burk (SuB), Barbara Burns (BBu), Jim Burns (JBu), Richard Carlson (RCa), Barbara Carlson (BC), Sue Carnaham (SC), Cliff Cathers (CCa), Greg Clark (GCl),Peter Collins (PC), Bea Cooley (BCo), John Coons (JCn), Andrew Core (ACo), Troy Corman (TC),Tommy DeBardeleben (TDeB), Maya Decker (MD), DeeDee DeLorenzo (DDe), Henry Detwiler (HD), Suzanne Detwiler (SDe), Pierre Deviche (PD), Johnida Dockens (JDoc), Christopher Dodge (CDo), Sue Drown (SDr), Jeff Estis (JE), Elissa Fazio (EF), Richard Fray (RF), Curt Fultz (CFu), Steve Ganley (SG), Brian Gatlin (BGa), Brian Gibbons (BGi), Pat Goltz (PG), John Grahame (JGra), Clive Green (CG), Brendon Grice (BGri), Bill Grossi (BGro), Nancy Gwilliam (NGw), Laurens Halsey (LHal), Joe Hammond (JHam), Nina Hansen (NH), Olga Harbour (OH), Lauren Harter (LHar), Michael Hartley (MHa), Stuart Healy (SH), Melanie Herring (MHe), Diana Herron (DHe), John Higgins (JH), Ann Hilliard (AH), John & Marty Hirth (J&MH), Jack Holloway (JHol), Steve Hosmer (SHo), Bob Hough (BHo), Elaine Hough (ElH), Eric Hough (ErH), Rich Hoyer (RHo), Rob Hunt (RHu), Brian Ison (BIs), Doug Iverson (DI), Doug Jenness (DJ), Tom Johnson (TJ), Justin Jones (JJ), Keith Kamper (KKa), Frank Kee (FK), Melody Kehl (MK), Jay Keller (JKell), Sonia Kirkendall (SKi), Philip Kline (PKl), Mary Klinkel (MKl), Pam Koch (PKo), Jim Kopitzke (JKo), Nancy Lange (NL), Chuck LaRue (CLR), Jim Lawrence (JLaw), Paul Lehman (PL),Karen LeMay (KL), Michael Lester (Mle),Tom Lewis (TLew), Tom Linda (TL),Tyler Loomis (TLo), Carl Lundblad (CLu), Art & Delores Manburg (A&DMan), Michael Marsden (MMa), Chris McCreedy (CMc), Brian McKnight (BMcK), Jay Miller (JMil), David Moll (DM), Daryll Montgomry (DMo), Eric Moore (EMo), Narca Moore-Craig (NMC), Jim Morgan (JMg), Elaine Morrall (EM), Kathy Newton (KN), Mike Nicosia (MN), Larry Norris (LN), Scott Olmstead (SO), Gail Owings (GO), Bill Parker (BPa), Robert Payne (RPa), Dave Pearson (DPe), Lin Piest (LP), Jason Pietrzak (JPz), Dan Pittenger (DPi), Diane Poleyquiva (DPq), Brigid Pollock (BPo), Molly Pollock (MPo), Judith Porter (JP), Bonnie Pranter (BPr), Tim Price (TP), Shaun Putz (SPu), Kurt Radamaker (KR), Roger Radd (RR), Richard Remington (RRe), Jan Richmond (JRi), Arlene Ripley (ARi), Aimee Rocheleau (ARo), Paul Roisen (PR), Gary Rosenberg (GR), Donna Roten (DRo), Will Russell (WR), John Saba (JSab), Alan Schmierer (ASc), Scott Schuette (SSc), Myron Scott (MSc), Robert Shantz (RS), Mark Sharon (MSh), Dominic Sherony (DShe), Sue Sitko (SSi), Chrissy Smith (CSm), Donna Smith (DSmi), Darlene Smyth (DSm), Bob Spahn (BSp), Thomas Staudt (TSt), Dave Stejskal (DSt), Mark Stevenson (MSt), Tice Supplee (TSu),Cathy Taylor (CTa), Rick Taylor (RT), Stig Tjotta (ST), Rick Thompson (RTh), Carl Tomoff (CT), Diane Touret (DT), Jolan Truan (JT), David Vander Pluym (DVP), Tim Weber (TW), Magill Weber (MWeb), Richard Webster (RWe), John West (JWe), Ellen West (EWe), George West (GW), Jack Whetstone (JW), Jason Wilder (JWi), Sheri Williamson (SW), Erika Wilson (EW), Paul Wolterbeek (PWo), John Yerger (JY), Zack Zdinak (ZZ).
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