Compiled by Lauren Harter
Abbreviations: Continental Country Club, Flagstaff (CCC)
This spring was warm and dry. Nearly all the precipitation that fell in March came in a single snowstorm March 18. The weather station in Flagstaff recorded no precipitation in May. Dry conditions likely contributed to reports of several species at higher elevations than usual.
Wood Ducks were at an unusually high elevation along Oak Cr. at Cave Springs CG, with two males found 31 Mar (R. Benford, m. ob.) and one male there 1 May (JGra). A hybrid Blue-winged x Cinnamon Teal was an unusual find at Kachina Wetlands 19 May (NSl). Several duck species lingered in the region later than usual. Blue-winged Teal typically depart the state by mid-May, so five at Rimmy Jim Tank 30 May were quite late; seven Green-winged Teal there the same day were also on the late side (JWi). Canvasback leave earlier in the spring, so one at Upper L. Mary 28 Apr (KM) was notable. A lingering Bufflehead was noted at Kachina Wetlands 20 May (B. Nordstrom), and a Common Goldeneye at Ashurst L. 19-20 Apr was unusually late (JWi). Red-breasted Mergansers, generally a rare migrant, were reported in good numbers this spring. One on Upper L. Mary 29 Mar (JWi) was followed by eight on Walnut Canyon L., Flagstaff 30 Mar (BHe), and two were reported from Upper L. Mary 19 Apr (JWi).
Brown Pelican is rare statewide in spring, and casual in the region, so one at Kachina Village 5 Mar was very unusual (fide EM). American White Pelican is an uncommon to rare migrant in the region. The two reports from this spring were of 75 at Mormon L. 21 Apr (KM) and a single bird there 16 May (M. Webster). A Rough-legged Hawk at Mormon L. 29 Mar was quite late for this rare raptor (JWi).
Willet is an uncommon migrant in the region, so 26 was a good count near Sacred Mountain Trading Post 29 Apr (JWi). An early Solitary Sandpiper visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon 31 Mar (BGa, E. Gdula). Casual in n. Arizona, a Whimbrel was a surprise at Marshall L. 12 May (DLam, PKe). Western Sandpiper is a rare spring migrant in n. Arizona. The only report this spring was of two at Desert View STP, Grand Canyon NP 13 Apr; one continued the next day (BGa). Two Long-billed Dowitchers at Upper L. Mary 8 Mar were about a month early (JWi). Nearly all Wilson’s Snipes have departed the state by the end of April. Individuals lingered this spring to 1 May at Mormon L. and 3 May at Rimmy Jim Tank (both JWi).
Bonaparte’s Gulls are rare but regular migrants in the region. Reports this spring were of one at Upper L. Mary 20 Apr (JWi), and three at Mormon L. 29 Apr (D. Normandin). Franklin’s Gulls passed through in good numbers, with a high count of 50 on Mormon L. 21 Apr (KM). An injured Franklin’s Gull was spotted 5 May in Flagstaff, where it persisted through the end of the season (NSl, m. ob.).
Band-tailed Pigeons have been rare on the S. Rim of the Grand Canyon in recent years, including during the Atlas surveys in the 1990s, when this species was not detected. Two at Hearst Tanks 12 May (BGa, E. Gdula) were, therefore, of interest. A Flammulated Owl was on the early side 7 Apr on the San Francisco Peaks (TBl, M. Sabatine). Barn Owls are rare and local in n. Arizona, so two in San Francisco Wash east of Flagstaff 21 May were of interest (JWi).
Vaux’s Swifts are rare migrants in the region. This season’s only report was of one on the S. Rim of the Grand Canyon 18 May (B. Nordstrom). The season’s first White-throated Swift at the Grand Canyon arrived 8 Mar (BGa), about 10 days early. Another was seen nearby 12 Mar (BGa). Rare but regular in Oak Creek Canyon, a male Magnificent Hummingbird was spotted at Cave Springs CG 2 May (JGra). The first Black-chinned Hummingbirds of the season arrived about two weeks early in Desert View, with a male there 14 Mar and a female 15 Mar (both BGa). Anna’s Hummingbirds have become regular summer residents at Elden Spring within the past few years. The first arrival this season was a singing male there 11 Apr (JWi). The first Broad-tailed Hummingbird of the season was at Desert View 13 Mar (BGa); the previous early date for the Grand Canyon region was 1 Apr. Two males were southeast of Desert View 30 Mar (BGa, CLR). Rufous Hummingbird is a rare but regular spring migrant in the region, with just a few reports each season. One was at Cave Springs CG 31 Mar (JGra) and one was in Flagstaff 21 Apr (JWi). A female was very late 28 May at Buck Springs on the Mogollon Rim (NSl). A Red-naped Sapsucker at Doney Park 20 May (ph. PKo) was late away from breeding grounds.
An early Hammond’s Flycatcher arrived at Cave Springs CG 1 Apr (ph. GBo). Rare above the Mogollon Rim, young male Vermilion Flycatchers were unexpected in Doney Park 21 Apr (ph. PKo) and at Buck Springs on the Mogollon Rim 9 May (NSl). Also rare in the region, but expanding its range north, is Hutton’s Vireo. One was found at Elden Spring 8 Apr (JWi). There were several reports of Pacific Wren from Oak Creek Canyon, where this species is a rare local resident. One was at West Fork 17 Mar (LBt) and one was singing there 11-19 May (JWi, m. ob.). Another was nearby at Cave Springs CG 2 May (JGra). Casual in the region, a Brown Thrasher was a great find at a Timberline feeder 18 Apr (DPq).
A Lapland Longspur, probably the individual continuing from the winter, was at Babbitt Tank and nearby tanks 1-24 Mar (ph. JWi, m. ob.). Good numbers of Chestnut-collared Longspurs remained at Babbitt and Reservation Tanks this season, with a high count of 60 at Reservation Tank 1 Mar (JWi, m. ob.). A Virginia’s Warbler was slightly early at Elden Spring 8 Apr (JWi). A rare but regular migrant in Arizona, a Northern Parula was seen at West Fork, Oak Creek Canyon 19 May (NSl). First noted singing on Mt. Elden in the summer of 2010 (although not reported in 2011), four Black-chinned Sparrows were found there 7 May (JWi), including a pair engaged in breeding displays. This species was not detected there during the Atlas surveys, though it is difficult to know if this reflects a range expansion or simply the difficulty in accessing the area. Two of the three White-throated Sparrows visiting Flagstaff area feeders this winter continued into the spring. The individual in Timberline was last seen 4 Apr (ph. DPq) and the Continental Country Club bird was last seen 9 Mar. Another visited the same feeders at Continental Country Club 12 Apr (JCn). Hepatic Tanagers are considered casual in the Grand Canyon region, so a report of four on the South Rim near Grandview Lookout 27 May was exceptional (JWi). Indigo Buntings are rare migrants and occasional breeders in the Flagstaff area. Sightings this spring were of one at Cave Springs CG 2 May (JGra), one in Timberline 3 May (DPq), and one in Doney Park 21 May (PKo).
Eastern Meadowlarks are rare and local breeders in the region, so two near Wupatki NM 16-19 May were of interest (JWi, CLR). The casual Rusty Blackbird at Doney Park continued from the winter through 20 Mar (PKo). Also casual in Arizona, a Common Grackle was in the Cheshire neighborhood of Flagstaff 10 May+ (CLR, ph. JWi, m. ob.). An early Hooded Oriole arrived at Grasshopper Point, Oak Creek Canyon 7 Apr (TW). This species is uncommon to rare above the Mogollon Rim, so one in Flagstaff 13-14 Apr (TBl) and one in Timberline 24 May (DPq) were notable. A Baltimore Oriole was a great find in Doney Park 21-29 May (ph. PKo). If accepted, this will represent the second record for Coconino Co. Local and sparsely distributed above the Mogollon Rim, a Scott’s Oriole was an unexpected visitor to a Timberline feeder 3 May (DPq).
Cassin’s Finches continued to be common in the Flagstaff area through much of the spring, with a high count of 54 from Kachina Village 8 Mar (BHe). Numbers were reduced by mid-April, with the last reports away from breeding areas 14 Apr (m. ob.). Evening Grosbeaks were nearly absent from the Flagstaff area this spring, with the exception of one flock frequenting feeders in Kachina Village. Small numbers appeared 14 Mar and remained through 28 Apr, with a high count of about 20 (BHe).
Compiled by Jason Wilder
This spring brought relatively dry and placid weather to the Navajo and Hopi Nations. Winter rains ensured ample water at many of the lakes and reservoirs across the region, and the migration produced a number of interesting reports.
There were few unusual reports of waterfowl or shorebirds. American White Pelicans are a rare migrant in the region, making a report of 13 at Cow Springs L. 18 Apr notable (CLR). More unusual was a single American Bittern at Pasture Canyon Reservoir, Tuba City 3 May (ph. JWi). This species is casual in the region, with only six reports since 1892 and the most recent in 1996. Long-billed Curlew is a rare spring migrant (somewhat more common in fall), and single individual was seen at Cow Springs L. 1 May (CLR).
One of the only locations in the state where Black-billed Magpie is regularly resident is the vicinity of Teec Nos Pos. A check of the town produced one individual 24 Apr in a residential yard (R&NA). This very local nesting species in Arizona has apparently declined alarmingly in range and numbers in the state since the Atlas surveys in the 1990s. Several theories have been discussed for this decline, ranging from drought and higher than normal summer temperatures to the arrival of West Nile Virus. Corvids are well known, at least initially, to be highly susceptible to this virus and this relatively small magpie population at the southern edge of its range may have been hit especially hard. In light of this decline reporting all magpie sightings will be useful. Gray Catbird is a casual transient through the region, with fewer than 20 records. A single individual was found in Upper Pasture Canyon 9 May (JCn, JLo, ph. JWi).
Cameron, including the nearby springs in the Little Colorado R. valley and the grounds of the Trading Post, is a reliable migrant trap, and had a particularly good diversity of warblers this spring. Most unusual was a Worm-eating Warbler seen 24-25 May (ph. JWi, m. ob.). If accepted this will be a second record for the region, with the first in 1992. Cameron is among the most reliable places in the state for migrating Northern Waterthrush. Numerous individuals were reported this year, but a one-day count of seven individuals at the Cameron Seeps 13 May represents an impressive total (TL, JLo, JWi). Black-and-white Warbler is a casual transient through the region, with fewer than 15 records, making one observed 31 May at Tappan Spring, Cameron (ph. JWi) notable. Also of interest was a female American Redstart seen at the Cameron Seeps 20 May (BGa). This species is regular in the fall at Cameron, but quite rare as a spring migrant. Finally, a Northern Parula was observed 13 May at the Cameron Seeps (TL, JLo, ph. JWi). There are fewer than 10 records of this species in the region, with roughly equal numbers reported from spring and fall migration.
A handful of unusual sparrows was noted during the reporting period. A casual to rare Clay-colored Sparrow was observed in the vicinity of the Cameron Seeps from 9-16 May (JCn, CLR, JLo, ph. JWi). Swamp Sparrow is also an unusual transient through the region, with one late individual observed at the Cameron Seeps 3 May (JWi). Similarly, White-throated Sparrow is rare in migration, with one seen at Lower Pasture Canyon 3 May (JWi).
It was a good year for Rose-breasted Grosbeaks in the region, with three individuals reported. A male was seen 10 May at the Cameron Trading Post (CLR, ph. JWi); a second male (thought to be different from the first based on plumage) was seen at the Cameron Trading Post 13-16 May (m. ob.). Finally a female was reported from Tappan Spring 13 May (TL, JLo, JWi).
For the second consecutive spring the Cameron Trading Post hosted a Common Grackle. A single individual was seen in the hotel courtyard and parking lot 16 May (CLR, ph. JWi).
With few prior records for the region, a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck that visited Willow L. 28-31 May was unexpected (B&PWil; ph. St&SB, CT, et al.). Noteworthy lingering waterfowl included two female Canvasbacks at Willow L. on the late date of 12 May (WA). The last wintering White-winged Scoter reported at Willow L. was an imm. male that remained until at least 11 Mar (JHi). Wintering Hooded Mergansers lingered at Willow L. until 21 Mar (CT, DM) and at Goldwater L. until 22 Mar (CT). Casual to rare spring transients in the region, a male and two female Red-breasted Mergansers were at Willow L. 30 Apr (StB).
Rare but regular spring migrants in the Prescott area, a flock of about 100 American White Pelicans flew over the Prescott Airport Wastewater Recharge Ponds 18 Apr (SDr) and two were at Willow L. 28-29 Apr (DM). A flock of 15 imm. Neotropic Cormorants foraged with up to 22 adult Double-crested Cormorants at Fain Park in Prescott Valley 4-6 Mar (ph. JMs; CT).
About right on time, the first Common Black-Hawk reported of the region this spring was of a pair returning to their Page Spring territory 5 Mar (PKo). A juv. Harris’s Hawk was a surprise in a Clarkdale yard 6 Apr (ph. DRa), which is north of most regional records. Gray Hawks seem to be moving northward into Yavapai Co. One was found at Bridle Cr. near Bagdad 16 Mar (MN) and another near Humboldt 27 Apr (CT).
April produced a few noteworthy shorebird observations. This included three Black-bellied Plovers (casual in spring), one Semipalmated Plover, one Willet, one Long-billed Curlew, and 18 Marbled Godwits at the Sedona wastewater treatment facility 14 Apr (JoH). Willets are usually uncommon during migration in Yavapai Co, so a flock of 19 at the Sedona wastewater treatment facility 27 Apr (R&NA) and 18 at Willow L. 29 April were of interest (DM). An exceptional concentration of 66 Ring-billed Gulls was counted at the Prescott Airport Wastewater Recharge Ponds 23 Mar (S&SB). Rare but regular spring migrants, a Forster’s Tern was noted at Willow L. 12 May (WA).
Four Lewis’s Woodpeckers wintering south of Prescott remained throughout March (CT), while six were west of Thumb Butte 24 Mar (CT). Two in west Prescott were last noted 5 May (B. Indra) and the last two in the Sierra Prieta Mtns. near Aspen Springs remained through 8 May (CT). Casual in the region, particularly into the spring season, a Red-breasted Sapsucker first noted 5 Mar (CT) at Jack Pine Rd. in Prescott continued through 8 Mar (StB, ph. B. Patrick. Irregular visitors to the Prescott area, a female Downy Woodpecker was observed in pine oak forest south of Prescott 4 Mar (SDr) in the vicinity where a male had been observed 29 Feb (MRi).
Exceptionally early anywhere in Arizona was a male Purple Martin reported at Graver Wash near the Walnut Creek Field Station 31 Mar (WA). A late Townsend’s Solitaire 30 May along the upper Verde R. was of interest (fide DM). Casual transients in the Prescott area, two Sage Thrashers were noted 23 Mar at Prescott Lakes (St&SB) and another was at Granite Dells 28 Mar (WA). A rather late Cedar Waxwing visited a residential area south of Willow L. 30 May (CT).
Typically rare but regular May migrants to the region, Northern Waterthrushes were observed more frequently than typical this spring. One called while foraging along the upper Verde R. about a mile east of the confluence with Granite Cr. 4 May (DM). Two were found along Lynx Cr. at Fain Park in Prescott Valley 9-10 May (DM, KAr). One was also seen 13 May along the upper Verde R. at the confluence with Granite Cr. (MiR, K. Anderson, L. Stock). Accidental at Prescott, a Palm Warbler was photographed 6 May at the Prescott Airport Wastewater Recharge Ponds (MiR, D&DI) during a bird-a-thon field day.
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are another rare but regular spring migrant throughout much of the state. This spring a male visited a Prescott area feeder 10-11 May (P. & C. Clayton) and a singing male was in Granite Dells 19 May (DKe). Rare migrant and winter visitor, the only White-throated Sparrow reported this spring for the region was in Sedona 21-22 Apr (R&NA). A late White-crowned Sparrow was sighted 30 May along lower Granite Cr. south of the upper Verde R. (DM).
Compiled by Eric Hough
Abbreviations: Hidden Cove Golf Course (HCGC), Mogollon Rim (Rim), White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT)
Erratic snowstorms with little precipitation, followed by dry conditions marked the season. Few observations occurred in March and April, with most sightings in mid-May including during the 12 May North American Migration Count.
Some water-based species that commonly occur in the White Mtns. were not documented on WMAT lands during the Atlas surveys in the 1990s, so finding some of these species now is noteworthy. For example, at Sunrise L. 30 May, 36 Common Mergansers and 54 Double-crested Cormorants were reported (GW, EWe). American White Pelicans are uncommon and irregular visitors to lakes in the region with fewer reports recently. One pelican was at Sunrise L. 30 May (GW, EWe).
Bald Eagles are locally rare breeding residents in the region, with a nesting pair observed at Luna L. 19 May (ErH, BHo) and 24 May (DT). Individual eagles were also found along Silver Cr. in Snowflake 12 May (ErH) where a nesting pair resides, Fool Hollow L. in Show Low 12 May (LPen), Horseshoe L. 21 May (GW, EWe), and Sunrise L. 30 May (GW, EWe). During the Atlas surveys, the lowest elevation for nesting Sharp-shinned Hawks found in n. Arizona was 6,500 ft., and no nesting records were located in s. Navajo Co. An active nest was found in a narrowleaf cottonwood at just above 6,000 ft. in Cottonwood Wash n. of Clay Springs 12 May (ErH). Northern Goshawks are rare to uncommon residents in conifer forests throughout the region, with one found at Blackjack CG in n. Greenlee Co. 12 Mar (PKl). Ferruginous Hawks are an uncommon migratory and wintering species in the region and even scarcer going into the summer breeding months. One was found west of Eagar near the Hwy. 260/261 intersection above the Little Colorado R. 12 May (SSi et al.).
Most shorebird species are rare spring migrants through the region. Observations this spring included an unusually large flock of 25 Willets at Luna L. 12 May (RI) and a Red-necked Phalarope at the reservoir behind the HCGC in Holbrook 9 May (ErH).
Band-tailed Pigeons are uncommon and nomadic residents in the White Mtns., with a large flock of 30 birds at Pinetop-Lakeside 12 May (BSi). White-winged Doves have been expanding their breeding range locally above the Rim in the region during the past decade. Singles were at Snowflake 12 May (ErH) and the Golf Course Rd. WTP in Holbrook 14 May (ErH).
Flammulated Owls are probably uncommon residents in mature pine-oak and mixed conifer forests in the region yet owl distribution has been poorly known in general, especially following the large-scale wildfires that have greatly influenced most forests of the region in the past decade. Three calling Flammulated Owls were along Forest Rd. 487 south of Heber 12 May (ErH, BHo) in a mature forest patch that survived the 2002 Rodeo-Chediski Fire.
Belted Kingfishers were suspected to breed on WMAT lands but this area could not be surveyed during the Atlas. A pair of kingfishers was observed along the White R. near the Alchesay Hatchery in s. Navajo Co. 12 May (AMar, PMar). A rare visitor to the state and the region, one adult male Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was found at Blackjack CG in n. Greenlee Co. 12 Mar (PKl). Downy Woodpeckers are uncommon to rare residents in the White Mtns., with one found in Black Canyon south of Heber 10-12 May (ErH, BHo). A Western Scrub-Jay was found in a tamarisk thicket at the Golf Course Rd. WTP in Holbrook 9 May (ErH), an atypical habitat for this species. Mexican Jays are likely uncommon residents below the Rim on WMAT lands, but Atlas surveys were not permitted on these tribal lands. Three of these jays were at Carrizo 28 May (ErH). While crows and ravens are commonly encountered in the region, a surprisingly large mixed flock of 16 American Crows and 80 Common Ravens was at Aripine 12 May (AMar, PMar).
American Dippers are local breeders on higher elevation streams and rivers in the White Mtns., but the Atlas surveys didn’t include WMAT lands. One dipper was at the McCoy Crossing of the White R. southeast of McNary 12 Mar (LL). Olive Warblers are uncommon residents and among the first warblers to arrive on breeding grounds in the region, but the avifauna of Greenlee Co. is still poorly known. A pair of these birds was at Blackjack CG 12 Mar (PKl). Atlas surveys did not document Common Yellowthroats along Silver Cr. in the Snowflake area, but six of these birds were encountered on territory at Snowflake 12 May (ErH). Two Painted Redstarts were found near Alchesay Hatchery on WMAT lands12 May (AMar, PMar), where they are likely uncommon to common summer residents but Atlas surveys could not be conducted to verify this. Yellow-breasted Chats are local residents along a few drainages above the Rim in s. Navajo Co., with four territorial chats at the confluence of Silver Cr. and Cottonwood Wash in Snowflake 12 May (ErH).
One of the most notable discoveries this spring was of an apparent local population of Black-chinned Sparrows just above the Rim in Linden (near Show Low), with the first observation of two to three territorial birds at Timberland Acres subdivision 29 Apr (ph. GHo). The same number of Black-chinned Sparrows was reported at this locality again 14 May (ph. ErH). The initial observer reported possibly detecting this species here in 2011, but this spring was the first time they were documented and confirmed. Given the transition of chaparral habitat into ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper woodlands between Show Low and Pinedale, and the regeneration of shrubby vegetation following the Rodeo-Chediski fire, continued surveying of this area may reveal more of these sparrows. Black-chinned Sparrows have been found below the Rim in the region and are resident on its south-facing slope and also in a noncontiguous population on Black Mesa in far n. Navajo Co. It is unknown if the Linden birds are part of a range expansion or a disjunct local population that had previously been overlooked by birders and ornithologists.
Although a population of Summer Tanagers occurrs in lower elevation riparian areas below the Rim in n. Greenlee Co. and probably on WMAT lands, the species is casual above the Rim in the region. One male was found at the Golf Course Rd. WTP in Holbrook 14 May (ErH).
Compiled by Lauren Harter and David Vander Plyum
Abbreviations: Bill Williams Delta, Bill Williams River NWR (BWD); Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge (BWR NWR); Cibola Valley Conservation Area (CVCA)
Drought conditions continued this spring, with very little precipitation. The Yuma weather station recorded no precipitation in May. The combination of drought and unusually warm weather may have caused the slow start in breeding observed this season, particularly among arid desert breeders such as Verdin and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. Spring land bird migration was lackluster overall, although a cold front and associated storm system that moved through on 26 Apr concentrated large numbers of songbirds, resulting in high counts of several species.
A number of rare wintering waterbirds at the BWD continued into the spring season, several of which are covered in the Mohave report. Numerous waterbird species were reported later in the season than usual.
A continuing Greater White-fronted Goose was very late 28 Mar at Coyote Wash Golf Course south of Wellton (HD). A banded Trumpeter Swan was a surprising find on the Colorado R. north of Palo Verde Ecological Reserve 14-19 Apr (A. DeMartini). A search of the bird’s neck tag revealed that it had been released in the Blackfoot Valley in Montana as part of a captive-breeding program; it was reported from the California side of the Colorado R. by a private landowner 28 Feb. There are four accepted records and one pending record of “wild” Trumpeter Swans in Arizona. Always rare in the region but casual in April, a Wood Duck was along Baseline Rd. north of Cibola NWR 31 Mar and 24 Apr (StR, CMo); five were there 12 Apr (StR). Four Northern Shovelers were on the late side at Alamo L. 21 Apr (HD) and a Northern Pintail was at Hart Mine Marsh, Cibola NWR 1 May, when rare (CMc, M. Sabatine, TJ). A late Canvasback was on the BWD 22 Apr (CMc) and two Redheads were late at Imperial NWR 12 May (HD, MMc). Ring-necked Ducks were late 26 Apr, when two were at Parker Oasis and one was at the BWD (both DVP, LHar, TJ). The last reported Lesser Scaup was very late at Imperial NWR 12 May (HD, MMc) and the latest lingering Greater Scaup in the region were six on the BWD 26 Apr (DVP, LHar, TJ). The male Surf Scoter wintering on the BWD was last seen on the late date of 26 Apr (m. ob.) and the wintering White-winged Scoter was last seen there 30 Mar (m. ob.). A very late Bufflehead was on the BWD 12 May (CMc). The last report of Barrow’s Goldeneye was of three at the BWD 4 Mar (LHar et al.).
Notable outside the LCRV, a Common Loon was on Alamo L. 21 Apr (HD). A high-flying migrant flock of 21 Common Loons over the BWD 26 Apr (TJ, DVP, LHar) was a good count so late in the season, and one at Imperial NWR 12 May (HD) was quite late for this species. A Neotropic Cormorant, rare this far west, was reported from Alamo L. 21 Apr (HD). This may be the same bird reported from the same location 4 Feb (G. Karre et al.) and seen in May on the Mohave Co. side of the lake (see Mohave report). American White Pelicans are irregular spring migrants in the region, so a flock of eight at Hart Mine Marsh 11 Mar was of interest (HD et al.). Rare but regular in the region, American Bitterns were seen in good numbers this season. Individuals were at Imperial NWR 10 and 21 Mar (TSch, N. Vandehei), Fisher’s Landing, Martinez L. 15 Apr (TJ), and the BWD 12 Apr (JRi). Cattle Egrets are rare north of Parker, so three at the BWD 12 Apr were notable (JRi). The Cattle Egret colony by Peterson Rd. in the Parker Valley continued to grow this year, with an estimate of 2500 nests 6 May. Only five White-faced Ibis nests were counted in the same colony 6 May, although 1000 adults were estimated to be present (both DVP, LHar).
A late Osprey was seen over the Mosquito Flats area of BWR NWR 30 May (DVP). An unexpected large number of reports for the LCRV of rare and local White-tailed Kites may have included the same individual, particularly in the Cibola area. The reports included one north of Ehrenberg (across the Colorado R. from the Palo Verde Ecological Reserve) 6 Mar (m. ob.), one at Cibola NWR 11 Mar (HD et al.), one at Imperial NWR 21 Mar (N. Vandehei), two at Crane Roost, Cibola NWR 7 Apr (CMo), and one at Farm Unit, Cibola NWR 18 Apr (CMo). Casual migrants in the region, two Common Black-Hawks were seen on the BWR NWR this spring. The first was a second-year female near the end of Planet Ranch Rd. 4 Apr (LHar); the second was an adult near Kohen Ranch 20 May (ph. JWe). It was a good spring for Swainson’s Hawks, with a total of 22 reports this season in the Southwest region (m. ob.). The high count was seven birds at Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 12 Apr (DVP, TSch). Rare Zone-tailed Hawks were in Yuma 13 Mar (N. Meister, fide HD) and at Mosquito Flats NWR 12 Apr (C. Woolley). A Prairie Falcon was in the northern Parker Valley 26 Apr, when rare (DVP et al.).
A rare spring migrant in the LCRV, a Snowy Plover was at Hart Mine Marsh 26 Apr (CMc). The first American Avocets of the season were two on the early side 8 Mar at Hart Mine Marsh (m. ob.). This species typically leaves the LCRV by early May and is virtually unheard of after mid-May until fall migration begins (as early as mid-June), so six at the BWD 31 May (CMc) are difficult to classify as spring or fall migrants. Solitary Sandpipers and Lesser Yellowlegs are both rare but regular spring migrants; one Solitary Sandpiper and five Lesser Yellowlegs were at Cibola NWR 16 Apr (M. Brady). Another Solitary Sandpiper was on the Santa Maria R. near Alamo L. 21 Apr (HD) and another Lesser Yellowlegs was early at the Aztec feedlot 28 Mar (HD). Red-necked Phalarope is considered rare in spring, particularly in the southern LCRV. Reports this spring were of three at Hart Mine Marsh 26 Apr (CMc), one there 1 May (CMc, M. Sabatine, TJ), and 61 at Imperial NWR 12 May (HD, MMc).
Rare but annual in spring in recent years, two Bonaparte’s Gulls were reported this season. One was at Buckskin Mountain SP 12 Apr (DVP, TSch) and one was at Hart Mine Marsh 26 Apr (CMc). Franklin’s Gulls are rare and irregular spring migrants; one north of Ehrenberg 27 May (TSch, CMo) was also exceptionally late. Ring-billed Gulls are considered rare after mid-April, so one below Parker Dam 15 May and nine at the BWD 31 May were of note (both CMc). A flock of 12 Caspian Terns at Hart Mine Marsh 1 May was a good number for this uncommon spring migrant (CMc, M. Sabatine, TJ).
The first White-winged Dove of the season was somewhat late, heard singing in the BWR NWR 16 Mar (LHar, m. ob.). Although Rufous Hummingbirds are much more plentiful in the LCRV during spring migration than fall, they are still typically rare, so six was a good count at Yuma West Wetlands 28 Apr (MMc), as was eight there 5 May (DVP, LHar). Typically rare but regular spring migrants, it was a good season for Calliope Hummingbirds. Two females were at ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 26 Apr (LHar, ph. TJ, DVP) and one female was there 12-15 May (CMc). A male and female were at Yuma West Wetlands 5 May (LHar, DVP). Casual in the LCRV and possibly a first for La Paz Co., a female Broad-billed Hummingbird was at Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 11-12 Apr (LHar; ph. TSch). Typically departing the region by mid-March, a Red-naped Sapsucker at Lincoln Ranch on the Bill Williams R. 2 May (DVP) was exceptional. Historically common and widespread in the LCRV, Gilded Flickers have declined precipitously and numbers continue to drop. Currently, this species is only regular in the LCRV along the Bill Williams R., where few pairs persist. A male at Yuma West Wetlands 22 Apr was, therefore, quite unexpected (HD). Member of a pair reported from the California side of the river at McIntyre Park from late Apr to mid-May (StR), a female Gilded Flicker was on the Arizona side south of Ehrenberg 18 May (CMc). The pair was believed to have nested in saguaros on the Arizona side of the river, but this was never confirmed.
Eight was a good count for Hammond’s Flycatcher at Parker Oasis 26 Apr (LHar, TJ, DVP). Rare in the LCRV, one Dusky Flycatcher was reported this season, from ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 15 Apr (CMc). Gray Flycatchers that were likely wintering birds were at Nature Trail, Cibola NWR 7-9 Mar (m. ob.), Fisher’s Landing 10 Mar (DVP, LHar), and ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 14 Mar (DVP, LHar). With some overlap of wintering individuals and spring migrants, migration timing is not well understood for this species in the region. A late migrant was at ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve May 12 (CMc). The wintering Eastern Phoebe at Poston Wetlands was last reported 5 Mar (LHar, DVP). The Nutting’s Flycatcher that drew hundreds of visitors to Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR over the winter season remained cooperative this spring. For a short period, it appeared to be paired with an Ash-throated Flycatcher, but before long the Ash-throated Flycatcher remated with one of its own species. The Nutting’s Flycatcher was last reported 25 Mar (m. ob.). The returning pair of casual Tropical Kingbirds at ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve was first reported 15 May (CMc) and was observed nest building the following day (TJ). Another was briefly observed near the end of Planet Ranch Rd., BWR NWR 30 May (v.r. LHar). A casual spring migrant in the LCRV, a Cassin’s Kingbird was at the BWR NWR Headquarters 14 Apr (ph. JWe).
The rare wintering Bell’s Vireo at ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve was last reported 5 Mar (DVP, LHar). The first spring arrival was at Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 16 Mar (LHar et al.). A singing bird was located at Fisher’s Landing 19 Apr (DVP) and two were at nearby Imperial NWR 12 May (HD, MMc); this species is considered rare in Yuma Co. A casual transient in the LCRV, a Gray Vireo was a great find at Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 20 Apr (DVP). While Plumbeous and Cassin’s Vireos are both regular spring migrants in the LCRV, Plumbeous is by far the rarer of the two. One was reported this season, from Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 12 May (CMc). The first Cassin’s Vireo was on the early side 13 Mar at Imperial NWR (B. Breen, m. ob.), as was the first Warbling Vireo at Nature Trail, Cibola NWR 7 Mar (B. Breen, m. ob.). The high count of Warbling Vireos this season was 34 at Yuma East and West Wetlands 12 May (SDe).
Rare and irregular wintering Western Scrub-Jays lingered at the BWR NWR to 3 Apr (DVP; when two individuals were noted) and 14 Apr (MN; when one individual remained). Tree Swallows are probably the most numerous migrants in the LCRV, with counts of hundreds of thousands of birds reported nearly annually. The highest counts come from spring roosts, where large numbers of birds gather at an appropriate marsh in the evening and depart in streams at dawn. Numbers peak around the end of March. One such roost formed this season on Martinez L. north of Fisher’s Landing. An early-season count of 50,000 was impressive 12 Mar (DVP, m. ob.), but 110,000 birds were estimated to be present 15 Apr (TJ), probably after peak numbers had already moved through. A Golden-crowned Kinglet near the end of Planet Ranch Rd., BWR NWR 12 and 21 Mar (JRi) was very late for this rare and irregular visitor. Eight Swainson’s Thrushes at Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 18 May was a good count for a single location (DVP).
A male Black-and-white Warbler, presumably the bird continuing from winter, was seen and heard singing at Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 2-7 Apr (DVP). Another was nearby 8-9 May (C. Schweizer, MN). An Orange-crowned Warbler was seen on the very late date of 23 May at Farm Unit, Cibola NWR (CMo). Good numbers of Nashville Warblers moved through the region after a storm 26 Apr, with 10 at Parker Oasis and 15 at ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 26 Apr (TJ, DVP, LHar), and an estimated 80 at Yuma West Wetlands 26-27 Apr (HD). Virginia’s Warblers, rare in the LCRV, were below Imperial Dam 18 Apr (LHar, DVP) and at Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 18 May (DVP). MacGillivray’s Warblers are generally uncommon migrants in the region; nine was a good count for one location at Yuma West Wetlands 27 Apr (HD).
Rare but regular in the region, a young male American Redstart was south of Ehrenberg 17 May (ph. J. Tobin). Although it was a good season for Northern Parulas in the southwest in general, only one was reported from the region, a singing male north of Fisher’s Landing 21 May (LHar). Yellow Warblers arrived early this season; the first report was of a singing male in Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 24 Mar (LHar, DVP), and the species was common soon after. Lingering Yellow-rumped Warblers included seven at Parker Oasis 15 May (CMc) and one at the Farm Unit of Cibola NWR 23 May (CMo). A big push of warblers moved through Parker Oasis after a storm 26 Apr, including an estimated 150 Yellow-rumped Warblers, four Black-throated Gray Warblers (a good count in one location for this uncommon species), and 100 Wilson’s Warblers (DVP, TJ, LHar). The same storm brought about 100 Wilson’s Warblers to Yuma West Wetlands 26-27 Apr (HD). A Wilson’s Warbler at Nature Trail, Cibola NWR 7 Mar (D. Fletcher et al.) could have been either a very early spring migrant or a wintering bird. Another early warbler was a Townsend’s Warbler at Yuma West Wetlands 27 Mar (AB, HBor). Arriving about a week early, the region’s first Yellow-breasted Chat of the season was singing in Mosquito Flats, BWR NWR 9 Apr (LHar). Others arrived soon after in the same area, e.g., singing birds 10 and 11 Apr (DVP).
Chipping Sparrows lingered in the region this season, with one at ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 15 May (CMc) and five at Cibola NWR 16 May (CMo). A rare Golden-crowned Sparrow was at Yuma West Wetlands 22 Apr (KR, CR). The only report of the irregularly occurring Dark-eyed Junco from the region this spring was of one at Imperial NWR 13 Mar (DVP). Five Summer Tanagers were reported at Imperial NWR 12 May (HD, MMc), a high count for Yuma Co. Likely concentrated by the cold front the previous day, a high count of 30-40 Western Tanagers was at Yuma West Wetlands 27 Apr (DSu). Northern Cardinals were present in fair numbers this season along the Bill Williams R. below Alamo Dam. Singing males were detected at Cougar Point 21 Mar (LHar, B. Breen, et al.), Crossriver 3 Apr (DVP), and Lincoln Ranch 2 May (LHar). An impressive concentration of about 100 Lazuli Buntings was near Mittry L. 28 Apr (MMc). Rare within the LCRV, a singing male Scott's Oriole was south of Ehrenberg 3 May (CMo).
Pine Siskins are uncommon to rare spring migrants in the region, with the only report this season of two at ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 5 Mar (DVP). Even more irregular in occurrence, Lawrence’s Goldfinches may be common in some years and absent in others. This season, they were uncommon in the region, mainly in the vicinity of Imperial Dam and the BWR NWR. Uncommon and irregular American Goldfinches were reported from the north end of the Parker Valley and ’Ahakhav Tribal Preserve 5 Mar (C. Clouse, DVP), and Sandy Wash, BWR NWR 26 Mar (DVP).
Compiled by Steve Ganley and Troy Corman
Abbreviations: Boyce-Thompson Arboretum (BTA), Desert Botanical Gardens (DBG), Granite Reef Dam (GRD), Gilbert Water Ranch (GWR), Glendale Recharge Ponds (GRP), Hassayampa River Preserve (HRP), Morgan City Wash (MCW)below Lake Pleasant, Tempe Town Lake (TTL)), Tres Rios Wetlands, Phoenix (Tres Rios)
Like the past few springs, this season was warmer and drier than normal. With less rain there will be less food. With a strong monsoon some species will be able to nest later in the season. We will have to wait and see what effect the warm and dry conditions will have on the local nesting species as we hope for a strong monsoon season this summer.
The male “Common” Teal, a Eurasian subspecies of the Green-winged Teal, was last reported at the Tempe Town Marsh 6 Mar (TJ). This is most likely the same bird first seen here in 2009, which was only the second documented record for Arizona. The first documented record was a male at the GWR in 2008 (PD). Rare after April, an impressive eight Canvasback were noted near Granite Reef Dam during the NAMC 12 May (CFi et al.) with at least one remaining until 19 May (PD). Casual to rare after March, a late Common Goldeneye continued at GRP through at least 14 Apr (DPo, MHe, et al.) and a female was in a small pool of water along the Agua Fria R. bed below L. Pleasant 28 Apr (TC). Common Mergansers are seldom reported after April in the region, so five remaining in the GRD area for the NAMC 12 May were noteworthy (CFi et al.). There was a sizable group of eight Red-breasted Mergansers, including five males, at the GRP 1 Apr (MHe). These ducks are rare away from the Colorado R. in Arizona and typically only one or two individuals are seen together with most being female-plumaged birds. Other individuals were in the GRD area 12 Apr (JKo, SG) and at Lower River Road ponds 20 Apr (TMc).
The only loon reported was a late Common Loon at the Gila Bend Power Plant 12 May (MHe). The species is considered casual in May. Lingering Horned Grebes from this winter's unprecedented numbers were the seven found at Canyon L. 4 Mar (TDeB, JKo). One of the few regional records for Red-necked Grebe was discovered at the TTL 1 Mar (RBi), where it was easily enjoyed by many state and county birders at least until 26 Mar (MSc). Although still considered casual in the state, reports of this grebe seem to have increased statewide over the last few years with one or more annual records. A couple of very late Clark’s Grebes, uncommon away from the Colorado R., were at Saguaro L. 12 May (DP, KR). Brown Pelicans used to be considered postbreeding birds as juveniles would wander north and be blown off course by monsoon storms during July and August. In recent years one or more have been found most months of the year. There was one at TTL 3-29 Mar (MWeb, m. ob.) and again 12-17 May (MWeb), and in the Chandler area 24 Apr (JKo). A Neotropic Cormorant was a new species for the BTA at Ayer L. 17 Mar (PMo, CD) and up to five had ventured north to Anthem 11 Mar (SHo) as they continue to expand their range. A Tricolored Heron was a great find at Tres Rios 28 Apr (TMc). Unfortunately, it was not found again. Black Vultures, still predominantly a southern Arizona species, wandered northeast to Coon Bluff along the Salt R. 6 Mar (DPe). Two were at GRD 29 Apr (SG) and one was a little west of normal in the region at Citrus Valley Rd. west of Gila Bend 24 Mar (MHe). There were also large flocks in the agricultural areas west of Phoenix between 91 Ave. and Buckeye (MHe).
The bird of the season may have been the Swallow-tailed Kite that was reported and photographed by a person monitoring a Bald Eagle nest on Fort McDowell tribal lands along the Verde R. 13 May (ph. R. Seeley). There is one accepted sight record of this species but this would be the first that was physically documented for the state if accepted by the ABC. A White-tailed Kite was noted near Buckeye 30 May in a potential breeding area (JAr). A Crested Caracara was a little out of range west of Gila Bend 24 Mar (MHe) and another was observed 30 Apr foraging on carrion with Turkey Vultures on Ft. McDowell tribal lands north of Hwy. 87 (J. Ottinger, L. Vader). Both a Red-Shouldered and two Gray Hawks were at their outpost of the HRP 30 Mar (MHe) and at least five Gray Hawks were counted there during the NAMC 12 May (TC, CSm). A migrant Gray Hawk was also reported in a residential area of Goodyear 22 Mar (MStr). The wintering Red-shouldered Hawk along the lower Verde R. on Ft. McDowell tribal lands continued until at least 4 Apr (J. Ottinger). Swainson’s Hawks continue to use the Buckeye and Palo Verde areas as a spring migration corridor. Over 300 were counted in that area 8 Apr. (MHe, BMe, CK). Following last summer’s failed nesting attempt by two separate pairs of Swainson’s Hawks (first known nesting attempt in Maricopa Co.), one pair returned to their nest, was noted working on it 19 Apr, and appeared to be incubating by late May (DSmi et al.). Seldom reported southwest of Phoenix, even during migration, a Zone-tailed Hawk was noteworthy at Tres Rios 23 Mar (TDeB).
Rare spring transient shorebirds included a Black-bellied Plover at the GRP 13 Apr (KR) and another near Chandler at the Higley/Ocotillo ponds 24 Apr (JKo). Snowy Plovers have become less frequently encountered transients during the past decade or so, but the GRP had all of the records this spring. One was there 14-15 Apr (KR, DPo et al.), 27 Apr (SHo) and 3-5 May (G. Graves, MHe). A high count of 13 Semipalmated Plovers at GRP 26 Apr was an exceptional spring concentration for the region (TC, JAl). Willets were seen in good numbers this spring from 14 Apr – 26 May (m. ob.). Lesser Yellowlegs are considered rare before April, so two at Tres Rios 23 Mar were early or wintered locally (TDeB). Whimbrels are casual to rare spring transients with one exceptionally early individual foraging with a large flock of Long-billed Curlews near Palo Verde 1 Apr (MHe) and two at the GRP 29 Apr (ph. NWil) seen again 3 May (GG). Marbled Godwits moved through the region in larger than usual numbers with 37 found at four locations 14 Apr (DPo, KR). Two casual in spring species, seen even earlier than usual, were Stilt Sandpiper and Short-billed Dowitcher. A Stilt Sandpiper at the GWR 20 Mar (ph. TMc) possibly represents the earliest spring migrant ever for the state. A Short-billed Dowitcher was at Tres Rios, Phoenix 25 Apr (TDeB). Most records are in the fall. Late was a lone Wilson’s Snipe detected along the Salt R. upstream of the GRD during the NAMC 12 May (CFi et al.). Typically not expected until May, early Red-necked Phalarope were noted with one at GRP 14-16 Apr and another at the Gila Bend Power Plant ponds 14 Apr (both DPo, KR, et al.), and likely 2 additional individuals at GRP 19 Apr (MHe). Two additional molting individuals were at a pond in the Paloma Ranch area 26 Apr (TC, JAl).
Bonaparte’s Gulls are rare to uncommon spring migrants in the region. A slightly early individual was observed at the GWR 20 Mar (PD). An exceptional concentration of migrant gulls was noted at Granite Reef Dam 5 Apr with an impressive 27 Franklin’s and 37 Ring-billed Gulls counted (JKo). May is usually the best month for Least Tern, but this year the species showed up a little early at the GRP 29 Apr (NWil) through 1 May (BW). Two Least Terns were observed at the GRP 19 May with at least one remaining through 25 May (MHe). However, the big numbers were the Caspian Terns with six at the GRP 28 Apr (TMc), one at Tres Rios the same day (PD), and 11 birds by 30 Apr at the GRP (SHo). Casual in May there was one at the GRP 28 May (MHe). The only Black Tern report was from Lower River Rd., Palo Verde 11 May (MHe), when they are also casual in May.
An out of place Long-eared Owl was at the DBG 17 Mar (TDeB). The first spring Vaux's Swift was reported at the GWR 21 Apr (TMc), which was right on schedule. Although Broad-billed Hummingbird records appear to be increasing in recent years in Maricopa Co., they are still considered rare and worthy of reporting. A female was noted at MCW 31 Mar – 29 Apr (TC, et al.) and a male and female were detected during the NAMC at the HRP 12 May (TC, CSm). The wintering Lewis’s Woodpecker was last seen at Encanto Park, Phoenix 29 Apr (DCho). Two Acorn Woodpeckers continued to be seen on the ASU Tempe campus 9+ Mar (PD), where they have been for two or three years now. Several exceptionally early Brown-crested Flycatchers were detected in so. Arizona this spring. Not expected anywhere in the state until mid-April, two individuals were well studied and heard calling repeatedly at the HRP 30 Mar (MHe). The Tropical Kingbird that wintered at Tres Rios was last reported 19 Apr (LBt). Another two were back at a known nesting area at the HRP by 12 May (TC) and a calling individual was near the roadside rest-stop south of the HRP 13 May (TDeB), which is a new location.
Slightly early was a Bank Swallow in the MCW area 7 Apr (TC). Barn Swallows nest very locally and sparingly in Maricopa Co. Two pairs were noted nest-building 2 May at the canal nesting site on the border of Mesa/Tempe city limits, where one pair was discovered nesting last year (DPe). A possible Blue-headed Vireo was photographed along MCW 28 Apr (TC). If accepted by the ABC, it would be the first for Maricopa Co. and one of very few photo-documented for the state. A Hutton’s Vireo wintered at the low elevation of GRD where it was noted 6 Mar (DPe).
Casual in the spring, a singing Brown Thrasher was noted in the Morgan City Wash area 7 Apr (ph.TC, TLew) and the individual that wintered at the GWR was seen at least until 6 May (PD).
The wintering Yellow and Wilson’s Warblers at Rio Salado Riparian Restoration Area continued through at least 6 Mar (TMc), just about when spring migrants of these two species begin arriving. Rare but regular spring warblers included Northern Parulas at Whitlow Dam 12 May (MV, BIs) and GRD 15 May (MWa, JKop), a Black-and-White Warbler at the BTA 28 Apr (CT), and single American Redstarts at GRD 14 May (L&KS) and in a Scottsdale yard 15 May (JBa). A very early or locally wintering Townsend’s Warbler was an unexpected find at Tres Rios 23-27 Mar (TDeB). A Palm Warbler west of Bartlett L. 8 May (TC, JAl) may have been a first spring record for Maricopa Co. Northern Waterthrushes are rare but regular late April to mid-May migrants, but are always of note. One was found at Whitlow Dam (MV, BIs) and another near the Hassayampa R. rest-stop south of Wickenburg (TC) both during the NAMC 12 May. A third individual was singing at the GRD area 15 May (JKop, MWa). A Kentucky Warbler was photographed in Hidden Valley, Pinal County 11 May (ph. NL). If accepted by the ABC, this bird will represent the second record for Pinal Co. and maybe a first spring record for the region. Rare in the lowlands during migration, a Painted Redstart was at the HRP 24 Mar (TMc). A rare lowland migrant Painted Redstart was at the HRP 24 mar (TMe).
A casual spring migrant in the desert lowlands, a (Slate-colored) Fox Sparrow was discovered in the MCW area 31 Mar (TC). Swamp Sparrows are rare in March and April, so one at Tres Rios 23 Mar through at least 19 Apr (TDeB) was a good find. Casual to rare spring migrant, a Clay-Colored Sparrow was in Scottsdale at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve 24 Apr – 5 May (WT, HBe). A White-throated Sparrow that wintered at BTA was last seen 17 Mar (PMo, CD) and a probable wintering bird of the tan-striped race was found in Mesa 8 Apr (ErH), while a late bird was banded at the HRP 13 May (CSm). A wintering Golden-crowned Sparrow was seen in Surprise 17 Mar (DShe) and again 25 Mar (TMc). Rare but regular migrants, a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was at BTA 12 May (CT) and a female was at the HRP 13 May (ph. TDeB, TMc).
Indigo Buntings in the late spring are getting too numerous to list individually, but a very early molting male on a lawn at a truck stop w. of Tonopah along I-10, 2-7 Mar likely wintered locally (ph. TJ). A male Varied Bunting at the BTA 28+ May was in the same area where a pair spent last summer (ph. BGri). Quite remarkable was the discovery of a female Dickcissel 13 May at the HRP (ph. TDeB). There are no previous spring records for the region. The last report of the wintering Rusty Blackbird at Anthem was 16 Mar (LN, SG). A Baltimore Oriole was photographed at the DBG 15-17 May (JStem, BK). Lawrence’s Goldfinches were scarce this winter with birds this spring only reported at Hidden Valley 24 Mar (NL), two at HRP 24 Mar (TMc), and at least five scattered along the Hassayampa R. south of Wickenburg12-18 May (TC, CSm, TDeB) in an area where they have been documented nesting at least irregularly.
Compiled by Brian Ison
Drought conditions continued in Gila Co. this spring following a dry winter. Roosevelt L. dropped from 67% of capacity at the beginning of March to 61% full 31 May, while inflows to Roosevelt L. decreased to about 40% of normal. San Carlos L. stood at only about 2% of capacity.
Rare and irregular visitors, four Greater White-fronted Geese lingered through at least 17 Mar along the Tonto Cr. arm of Roosevelt L. (JWik). More apt to be found in ponds and lakes, a single Lesser Scaup was an unexpected find at Fossil Cr. 29 Apr (JAl). Rare or casual in spring, a Brown Pelican was noted by a Bald Eagle nest watcher along the Tonto Cr. inflow to Roosevelt L. 16 Apr (JWik). An irregular migrant in n. Gila Co., 20 White-faced Ibis was a large number seen at Green Valley Park in Payson 29 Apr (TGr).
Rarely reported in the region away from Roosevelt and San Carlos lakes, two Bald Eagles were seen at the Tonto Cr. Fish Hatchery 4 Mar (TGr). A rare local resident, a Peregrine Falcon was a good find at Cherry Cr. 31 May (GD).
A casual transient at lakes and ponds, one Caspian Tern was noted at the Orange Peel Recreation Site at Roosevelt L. 24 May (GL).
A local resident in Transition Zone Forests, an unexpectedly high number of three Northern-Pygmy Owls were found at Campaign Cr. 29 May (GD) and another was detected on Mt. Ord 28 Apr (TDeB). Uncommon locally in appropriate habitat and possibly breeders in Gila Co. (although no nests have been found), a Magnificent Hummingbird was a rare lowland transient at the Roosevelt L. Visitor’s Center 29 Mar (GD). Another was seen at Seven Mile Wash northeast of Globe on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation 6 Apr (JHop). An early male Broad-tailed Hummingbird was heard at a cabin at Pine 10 Mar (BIs). Rare local residents in Gila Co., found breeding at elevations ranging from 6,200 to 9,500 ft (Atlas), three Downy Woodpeckers were reported just below the Mogollon Rim at about 6000 ft. in Pine Cr. Canyon 28 Apr and 27 May (BIs).
Uncommon in spring and found locally in small montain ranges south of the Mogollon Rim, a Greater Pewee was found in the Pinal Mtns. 24 Apr (DPe) and another was seen on Pinal Peak 28 Apr (NWil). Rare and local summer residents, Dusky-capped Flycatchers were reported again in the Pinal Mtns. this spring: one 24 Apr (DPe) and a second individual 28 Apr (NWil).
Irregular fall, winter, and spring visitors, sometimes in large flocks, a high count of 40 Cedar Waxwings was reported at Campaign Cr. 8 May (GD). The first two Olive Warblers of the season were reported from Pinal Mts. 28 Apr (NWil). Casual spring migrants, a singing Northern Parula was spotted and sound-recorded in Pine Cr. Canyon 27 May (s.r. BIs). Hooded Orioles are typically found in riparian woodlands or in suburban areas with large shade trees or fan palms below the Mogollon Rim, so a male seen in a Pine yard 28 May (BIs) was unusual.
Compiled by Mark Stevenson
Abbreviations: HTM (Holy Trinity Monastery, Saint David), EOP (Environmental Operations Park), San Pedro House (San Pedro RNCA near Hwy 90, Sierra Vista), Sweetwater (Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson), Whitewater (Whitewater Draw WA), Willcox (Lake Cochise and Twin Lakes Golf Course, Willcox)
The region continued generally warm and dry, with the period ranked the eighth warmest and 27th driest spring on record at Tucson. Despite these dry conditions, notable concentrations of migrant passerines either didn’t occur or went unreported. In fact, the migration seemed generally delayed and lackluster. Some species were notably sparse, including Nashville and MacGillivray’s warblers. Even so, a wide and generous variety of rare birds was discovered and documented.
At Peña Blanca L., largemouth bass were introduced in April for anglers, leading to concerns for the viability of the group of Least Grebes nesting there. (Coincidentally, a fish die-off was reported at the lake later in the spring by birders.)
The long-staying small Canada Goose was present all season at Kennedy Park, Tucson (JH). Casual as a spring migrant, a Canada Goose was at Rio Rico 5-15 Apr (MK et al.). A male Wood Duck was a surprise in a ne. Tucson swimming pool 11 Apr (PSa), and another male put in at Fort Lowell Park, Tucson 14 May (MSt). A lingering American Wigeon at Willcox 30 May (DSt) was casual. The long-staying female Lesser Scaup in the reservoir behind the Hardesty City Building in Tucson was last reported 1 May (MSt). A female Hooded Merganser was late/casual at San Bernardino NWR 10 Apr (RWe). Least Grebes continued at Peña Blanca L. all season (m. ob.). The highest numbers reported were 10 individuals including three territorial pairs. An occupied nest was seen 1 Apr (JBu), nest building was observed 25 Apr (CLu), and a juvenile was riding the back of an adult 8 May (ph. GR). A Horned Grebe was casual at Sahuarita L. 6-15 Mar (ph. MSt).
The most amazing bird of the season was the juv. Red-billed Tropicbird that crash-landed in the dark in a yard near River and Oracle roads. in Tucson 25 Apr and was brought to a rehabilitator (Tucson Wildlife Center; ph. MSt). The tropicbird regained strength under care in Tucson, was transported to Sea World in San Diego, and was later released to the Pacific Ocean. There are three prior records of this species in the region, one each in May, June, and September. The population of Neotropic Cormorants in Tucson continued to increase. Based on reports, it seems that most or all of them roost at Christopher Columbus Park and fan out across the city each day to forage. The peak count anywhere in the region this season was 37 at Reid Park, Tucson 14 Apr (MSt). On 4 Apr a pair was seen attending a nest at Columbus Park (ACo) and a nestling was present 15 May (MSt); this is the second nesting of this species in the region, the first having occurred last year at the same location. Reports from areas where they are less regular in the region included a bird seen in flight at Benson 20 Apr (MPo, DSt, MSt), 16 on the lake in Arizona City 5 May (DJ), and two-three at Dudleyville 10 May+ (JAl, TC). Though they continue in numbers at Patagonia L., few reports come from that longtime stronghold. An American White Pelican was a casual visitor at Patagonia L. 23-24 May (MLe). Brown Pelican is casual in spring; one was at Green Valley STP 14 Apr (G. Hazard). Hot air ballooning is an infrequent source of bird sightings, but the technique turned up an American Bittern in a field in Marana 5 May (MBr), when casual. The first report of White-faced Ibis of the season came from Whitewater 9 Mar (TBa), when casual.
Though not unusual in Santa Cruz Co., Black Vulture is distinctly sparse in Cochise Co. with most records from the immediate area of the international border as at Douglas. One Black Vulture at HTM 26 May (SGo, V. Mac, ph. CBen) was, therefore, exceptional. An Osprey at Roper L. SP 11 Mar (B. Spahn) was early as were singles at Tucson 16-25 Mar (JH) and Patagonia L. 23 Mar (ASc). The first report of Mississippi Kite of the season came from Dudleyville 12 May (TSu), a slightly early date. Away from known nesting areas, a kite was seen at Rio Rico 31 May (RB). (The combination of agricultural fields and tall cottonwoods in this area appear hospitable for this species.) An adult Northern Goshawk was a surprise in the desert s. of Agua Caliente Park, Tucson 25 May (ph. RCa). A Common Black-Hawk was again reported in the Santa Catalina Mtns. near Rose Canyon L. 19 May+ (L. Taylor, BBi). Apart from the adult that was seen intermittently during the winter at Amado, the first Gray Hawk reported this season was an immature in Green Valley 3 Mar (T. Reed). Two Gray Hawks were in Madera Canyon beginning 28 Mar (MSt) with nest building observed 10 Apr (LHal). This is a new Pima Co. nesting location for the species. Gray Hawks were found nesting in Brown Canyon during the Atlas but not on the west side of the Baboquivari Mtns., so one in Fresnal Canyon (“Baboquivari Canyon”) 9 Apr (MBr) was of note. Other midelevation canyons with Gray Hawk sightings this season included Carr Canyon, Rucker Canyon, Huachuca Canyon, and no doubt others. Though Gray Hawks nest in riparian areas along the Santa Cruz R. an occupied nest in a eucalyptus tree in a residential yard in Arivaca Junction 30 Apr (MPo, MSt) was a surprise because of the choice of location. Documented sightings of individual Short-tailed Hawks came from Marshall Gulch, Santa Catalina Mtns. 5 May+ (ph. L. Pittman; K. Zumwalt) and Cave Creek Canyon, Chiricahua Mtns. 12 May (M. & C. Williams). The wintering Rough-legged Hawk in the San Rafael Valley was last reported 7 Apr (ph. 8 Mar JLaw). The actual status of Crested Caracara in the Santa Cruz Flats in late spring remains at least partly obscured due to a shortage of observers at that season; the latest report of this season was of three on 12 May (DJ) and the season’s high count there was 20 on 22 Apr (DJ, et al.). Wandering single caracaras observed at Amado STP 12 Apr (PKl) and Tumacacori 20 Apr (GB) were potentially the same individual.
Black-bellied Plover is a casual spring migrant in the region so singles at Amado STP 19-21 Apr (SC) and Willcox 5 May (JWo) were notable. The only report of Snowy Plover came from Willcox 22 May (GR). Three Semipalmated Plovers were late at Willcox 24 May (MLe). The only Mountain Plover reported was one in the Santa Cruz Flats 12 Mar (TDeB). American Avocets nested at Sweetwater again, with two juveniles present 13-15 May (MSt) but not after, suggesting predation. The wintering Solitary Sandpiper at Sweetwater was joined by another 19-21 Mar (E. Dunn; ph. ACo) and was last reported 4 Apr (m. ob.). Whimbrel is a very sparse migrant in the region; singles were seen at Evergreen Turf, Santa Cruz Flats 3 May (ph. G. Graves) and flying by Portal Rd. 15 May (JY). The shorebird of the spring was an imm. female Hudsonian Godwit at Willcox 22-27 May (ph. MSt, LHal; MPo), the first in the region since 1996. All of the region’s (and most of the state’s) records come from Willcox in May and this bird was found in no small part due to a concerted effort by Pollock to regularly check Willcox during the date span of past occurrences there. Single Marbled Godwits were “rare” at Sierra Vista EOP 22 Apr (EW et al.) and Willcox 21-30 May (OH). Semipalmated Sandpiper is a casual spring migrant; singles were at Green Valley STP 22-24 Apr (LHal) and Willcox 30 Apr (J. Hirth). Formerly an extremely rare migrant in the state, White-rumped Sandpiper is now nearly expected in late spring at Willcox; this year did not disappoint, with two there 14-22 May (ph. RT et al.). The only reports of Baird’s Sandpiper were singles at Willcox 20 Apr (DSt), 13-14 May (MSt, MPo), and 19-26 May (MLe, BZ). A casual spring migrant, two Pectoral Sandpipers were at Green Valley STP 22-24 Apr (LHal). Equally casual in spring, Stilt Sandpipers were at Willcox 13 May (MSt, MPo) and 19-20 May (MLe, BZ, DSt) with up to two on the latter date. Single Short-billed Dowitchers were reported at Willcox 26 Apr (ACo, PKl) and 19-22 May (ph. DBe). Migrant Red-necked Phalaropes aren’t expected in the region before the last week of April, so one at Mammoth STP 18 Mar (DJ) was quite early, and another at Sweetwater 14-15 Apr (P. Baum et al.) was early. A Red Phalarope was a nice find at Sweetwater 11-13 Apr (ph. ACo).
Laughing Gull is a casual transient in the region, primarily in May and June; one at Willcox 15-16 Mar (ph. DBe) was the earliest spring record in the region by nearly six weeks. Another at Willcox 15 May (JH et al.; ph. CVC) was also a very good find. An unpredictable visitor, a Heermann’s Gull at Lakeside Park, Tucson 28 Mar (SGo) was predictably a “one-day wonder”. An adult California Gull at Columbus Park, Tucson 4-8 Mar (MSt; ph. ACo) was an early spring migrant. Caspian Tern made a strong showing in the state this spring; this region saw one at Patagonia L. 27 Apr (MLe et al.), two at Willcox 19 May (DBe), and two at Patagonia L. 30 May (MLe), well above expectations for spring. Casual in spring, a Black Tern was at Green Valley STP 24-26 May (LHal). Quite casual in spring, a Common Tern was at Columbus Park 28 May (T. Ford-Hutchinson, m. ob.). Also casual, single Forster’s Terns were at Benson STP 25-29 Apr (DSt) and Roper L. SP 16 May (EW). A Ruddy Ground-Dove was at Patagonia L. 31 Mar (LHal). The first report of Elf Owl came from Hereford 15 Mar (TBa), an expected date. A Northern Saw-whet Owl was e. of Onion Saddle, Chiricahua Mtns. 26 May (ph. MLe), indicating the range still harbors them despite recent forest fires. The first report of Mexican Whip-poor-will came from Madera Canyon on the early date of 27 Mar (L. Calvo).
Hummingbird numbers were reported to be lower than usual in many areas; whether this was due to the availability of natural nectar sources or other factors or a real decrease in numbers was unknown. Single White-eared Hummingbirds were at the Chuparosa Inn, Madera Canyon intermittently 7-29 May (L. Calvo; ph. G. Starrett) and at Beatty’s in Miller Canyon, Huachuca Mtns. 28 May+ (T. Beatty’ ph. CMe). Presumably migrants, single Magnificent Hummingbirds were away from breeding habitat at Patagonia 22 Mar (TWo), Catalina 23 Mar (CJ Vincent), and Dragoon Mountain Ranch 31 May (ARi). Plain-capped Starthroat is a casual, usually less than annual, visitor to the region, with only one previous record occurring earlier than 1 Jun, so this spring’s reports were exceptional on multiple levels. The first arrived in lower Ash Canyon, Hereford 13 May+ (ph. KLM; RB), the second was found in Montosa Canyon, Santa Rita Mtns. 26 May+ (ph. DSt; m. ob.), and another was reported in lower Ramsey Canyon, Chiricahua Mtns. 29 May (J&MH). (Yet another starthroat reported from the e. side of the Huachuca Mtns. went undocumented.) In the aftermath of recent forest fires, the distribution of Lucifer Hummingbirds is worth watching. The first report of the season came from the favored location of Ash Canyon B&B, with up to two birds present 21 Mar-28 Apr (MJB). Up to four were present at a feeder station in the Mule Mtns. 7-8 Apr and possibly beyond (K. Lamberton), singles were at Portal 9-16 Apr (RAR, RWe), in lower Miller Canyon 10 Apr-6 May (TBat), at Dancing Turtle Tank near Portal 11-13 Apr (D. Johnson), in lower Ash Canyon 15 Apr (RB), and in another Portal yard 20-29 May (MD). Accidental in spring, an adult female Allen’s Hummingbird was banded at the San Pedro House, San Pedro RNCA 21 Apr (SW).
The Elegant Trogon Census in Cave Creek Canyon, Chiricahua Mtns. on 26 May turned up a disappointing eight individuals (fide RT), though high winds may have caused some under detection of calling birds. The Census in the Huachuca Mtns. on 27 May produced 28 trogons (fide RT). An Acorn Woodpecker was a surprise in Tucson 16 Apr (JH) as this species seldom wanders from breeding habitat. Yellow-shafted Northern Flickers were more numerous than usual with singles at Santa Gertrudis Lane, Tumacacori 20-22 Mar (B. Wagner; ph. CCa), atop Mt. Lemmon 30 Mar (CLu), and at San Bernardino NWR 10-16 Apr (RWe).
A Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet was again reported at the Old Safford Bridge, Gila Box RNCA 12 May (ph. PKl), the location of the recent first Greenlee Co. record. The first report of Greater Pewee came on the unremarkable date of 31 Mar (RCa) at Rose Canyon, Santa Catalina Mtns. The first report of Western Wood-Pewee came on the expected date of 17 Apr (CCa) in Madera Canyon. The first Cordilleran Flycatcher was singing in Madera Canyon on the early date of 22 Apr (MPo, MSt). Buff-breasted Flycatchers returned to Rose Canyon 27 Mar (RM) for the third consecutive year; up to four were reported by the end of the season (one pair and two unpaired males) (CLu). Nest building was observed there 27 Apr (ph. CLu). Elsewhere in the Santa Catalina Mtns., a lone individual was found away from known locations of occurrence in the Wilderness of Rocks 5 May (SBi) and another occurred near the Middle Bear Picnic Area 17 May (LHal) (where one summered in 1997). In the Huachuca Mtns. the first report of Buff-breasted of the season came from the usual Sawmill Canyon location 29 Mar (RTh, SH). In the Chiricahua Mtns., Buff-breasted Flycatchers were found in South Fork, Cave Cr. Canyon 7 May+ (JY), where they have occasionally occurred in the past. Other known locations hosting them in the range included the Herb Martyr drainage and Rucker Canyon. An Eastern Phoebe at Patagonia L. 27 May (KR, CR) was apparently a casual spring transient rather than a winter holdover. The first Dusky-capped Flycatcher report came from Patagonia L. 14 Mar (SH), perhaps an all-time early date for the species. A Brown-crested Flycatcher was seen and heard at Catalina SP on the very early date of 24 Mar (PKl), another apparent all-time early date. The first report of Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher came from Huachuca Canyon 9 May (GR), when casual. Also early was a Tropical Kingbird at the Rio Rico Rd. ponds 13 Apr (LHal). Tropical Kingbirds at atypical locations included two at Tucson Country Club 13 May+ (PSa), where they have occurred occasionally in the past, and one at Twin Lakes Golf Course, Willcox 16 May+ (CBen et al.). The first report of Thick-billed Kingbird came from Arivaca Cienega 30 Apr (MSt, MPo), an unremarkable date. Out of place was a vocal Thick-billed at 5,300’ in E. Whitetail Canyon, Chiricahua Mtns. 12-14 May (RT). A Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was a casual transient at Green Valley STP 28 Apr (ph. W. Burk). There were no reports of Rose-throated Becard this season.
Gray Vireo is seldom seen in migration but there were several reports again this spring: singles at Soldier Canyon, Catalina Hwy 8 Apr (SGo); along the Rillito R. at Columbus Blvd, Tucson 18 Apr (MSt, MPo); and at Sweetwater 18 Apr (JBoc). A Tree Swallow was late at Willcox 26 May (W.A. Scott, JHan) (this may be the bird that was seen there during the ensuing summer season). A very rare Cave Swallow was reported there the same day (W.A. Scott, JHan). Pacific Wren reports comprised a continuing individual in Garden Canyon, Fort Huachuca (m. ob.) and one in Huachuca Canyon 9-15 Apr (ARi, LEp). There were scattered reports and a written description of a Sedge Wren at Peña Blanca L. 6-12 Mar (m. ob.; J&MH); the report is complicated by reports by other observers of an atypical Marsh Wren in the same area. The ABC will have to try to sort it out. Is the number of Black-capped Gnatcatchers in the region stable or falling? The number of reports of the species has certainly dropped in the past year or so yet they are still being found at multiple locations: Patagonia L., Proctor Rd. at the mouth of Madera Canyon, and Montosa Canyon. Apparently a first for the location, there were two in suitable habitat at seldom visited Fresnal Canyon (also known as Baboquivari Canyon) on the west side of the Baboquivari Mtns. 9Apr (MBr); they have been known at least intermittently for years from Brown Canyon on the opposite side of the range. The Rufous-backed Robin in Florida Canyon, Santa Rita Mtns. from winter was last reported 11 Mar (m. ob.). After a month-long gap in reports, one was seen again at the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve 26 Mar-27 Apr (m. ob.); newly found individuals were at the Brown Canyon Ranch north of Ramsey Canyon Rd. 6 May (ph. N. Kohler) and at South Fork, Cave Cr. Canyon on the late date of 13 May (JY). There were two reports of Varied Thrush: one along the Santa Cruz R. south of Tubac 10 Mar (S. Stevens) and in Sycamore Canyon west of Nogales 14 Mar (SB). A few Gray Catbirds were seen, at Kartchner Caverns SP 24-24 Apr (B. Turner), at lower Florida Canyon 27 May (B. and S. Stevenson) and near the San Pedro House 29 May (ph. J. & A. Langin-Hooper), which is a pretty good showing for this usually casual transient. A Brown Thrasher was a treat in a Bisbee yard 4-24 Mar (SW). At Portal, a Brown Thrasher was found 19 Apr and over the next week two and then three were seen (ph. of two by B. Inman). (The precise chronology of the Brown Thrashers was unclear to me and there was a mention of one bird being present for a year; additional specific information would be helpful.)
It was an active spring for rare and casual transient wood warblers in the region. At the same time, numbers of many common migrant species were notably low. The meaning of the low numbers is unclear but could represent good migration conditions with less need to stop over at areas of concentration, birds taking alternate routes away from this region, actually decreased numbers, etc. An Ovenbird was near the Chuparosa Inn, Madera Canyon 15-16 May (D. Muschalek; ph. LHal) and another was at the dam along the California Gulch road 19 May (K. Eckert et al.). A Worm-eating Warbler was at the Mason Audubon Center in nw. Tucson/Marana 22 May (E. Olmstead, P. Green, ph. C. Miracle). The frequency of Northern Waterthrush observations in recent years pushes its status toward the almost oxymoronic “common rarity” in the region, with 12 reported during the period 28 Apr-24 May. Black-and-white Warbler reports comprised one continuing at Sweetwater through 24 Mar (m. ob.) and one at Proctor Rd. 10 Apr (LHal). Still casual, single Prothonotary Warblers were near the Hereford Bridge over the San Pedro R. 15 May (ph. T. Allshouse) and at Sweetwater 22 May (MBr, SP, ph. T. Lawler). The first Nashville Warbler was reported on the late date of 21 Mar (E. Dunn) at Sweetwater; this migrant species was particularly sparse this season. There were four reports of Hooded Warbler, as follows: at the Ramsey Canyon Inn 16 Apr (ph. James Scheib), Chuparosa Inn, Madera Canyon 18 May (ph. T. Lawler), Ramsey Canyon Inn again 24-25 May (M. Webster; ph. T. Ford-Hutchinson), and at South Fork, Cave Cr. Canyon 26 May (RAR). American Redstart continues to be relatively rare in the region, with singles reported in the Sonoita Cr. drainage at Patagonia Roadside Rest 14 May (TMc) and the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve 15 May (ph. F. Konczak). Northern Parulas were plentifully reported, with six found 24 Apr-29 May. Very casual, a male Blackpoll Warbler was at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson 23 May (N. Golden, L. Weir, ph. B. Demuth). Usually gone after the first week of May, a Myrtle form Yellow-rumped Warbler was at Slaughter Ranch e. of Douglas 31 May (RWe). Truly a hot warbler, a Prairie Warbler was singing along Sabino Cr. downstream from the dam 29-31 May (WR; ph. DSt, MSh) where daytime temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. The first report of Grace’s Warbler came on the expected date of 2 Apr (DT) at Rose Canyon. More unusual but now nearly annual, single migrant Grace’s Warblers were seen in the lowlands near the San Pedro House 5 May (EW) and at San Bernardino NWR on the rather late date of 31 May (RWe). Reports of Rufous-capped Warblers in lower Florida Canyon continued through 19 Apr (m. ob.); most reports involved one to two birds but three were reported 1 Mar (LHal). Despite much searching by subsequent parties, the only later report was of two seen 18 May (K. Eckert et al.). It is possible that the warblers move to nearby higher elevation as temperatures rise (and they do have elevational movements in response to temperature as demonstrated last winter) or that they have departed. Wilson’s Warbler, usually an abundant migrant, seemed less plentiful than usual this spring. The first report of Red-faced Warbler came a bit late 17 Apr (fide JLew) in the Chiricahua Mtns. As in recent years, migrant Painted Redstarts were seen in some numbers in the lowlands, with 14 reported 20 Mar-1 Apr. The first report of Yellow-breasted Chat came on the not early date of 7 Apr (J. Wee fide GW).
Rufous-winged Sparrow has a very restricted range in the region and state. Outside the core range, the only reports this season were at known locations in Benson 2-23 Apr (ARi) and San Bernardino NWR 10 Apr-31 May (RWe). Also outside its core range, a Botteri’s Sparrow was at a known location near Oracle 4 Mar (DJ). This is a very early date for the species in the region, but a small spate of recent reports suggests that at least some Botteri’s Sparrows winter on the breeding grounds here. In the past, spring reports of Botteri’s Sparrow would begin with a few arriving in early May and numbers rising after mid-May. Again this spring, there were multiple reports during April, with the first on 2 Apr and the second on 22 Apr, totaling eight birds by the end of the month. This is still a small number, but also a notable departure from long-observed norms. Searching multiple areas for them in early spring would be a worthwhile project for birders. Singing Cassin’s Sparrows were a surprise in saguaro-studded habitat at Cactus Loop Drive, Saguaro NP where eight were found 26 Mar (MA) and near the base of the Catalina Hwy. where one was found 7 Apr (MPo). There were a couple of reports of Clay-colored Sparrow, with one singing at Willcox 25 Apr (DSt) and another at Rio Rico 10 May (ph. MLe). A Vesper Sparrow was nearly a week late near the San Pedro House 12 May (LHar et al.). Similarly, a Savannah Sparrow was late at Willcox 22 May (BWal, LHal). Rare visiting Fox Sparrows were in lower Florida Canyon 8 Mar (LHal) and at Patons’ in Patagonia 26 Apr (SBi). White-throated Sparrow is another “common rarity” in the region. Among nine reported during the season, the standouts were somewhat late birds at Duncan 25 Apr-11 May (D. Hileman) and the San Pedro House 26 Apr-4 May (ph. ARi). Golden-crowned Sparrows were reported at Cave Creek Ranch, Portal 28 Mar-21 Apr (RPet), and near the San Pedro House 8 Apr (J. Harned). Very surprising was a Yellow-eyed Junco near the San Pedro House 26 Apr (ph. C. Murphy); this species is very seldom seen out of habitat in the lowlands and even then, most often in winter.
A tanager displaying features of a hybrid between Flame-colored and Western tanagers was in upper Miller Canyon 21 Apr-4 May (ph. JWo), where individuals of this combination have been found multiple times in the past. Among 17 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks reported, the highlight was a male at Duncan 9-10 May (D. Hileman); there are few if any previous reports from Greenlee Co. A male Blue Grosbeak was on the early side at Saddlebrooke (near Catalina) 14 Mar (B. Bowers). Similarly, a first spring male Indigo Bunting was at Kino Springs 2 Apr (SH). There were a few reports of out of habitat Varied Buntings. Single singing males were found along the Carrie Nation Mine Trail, Madera Canyon 24 May (D. Muschalek et al.) and at the lower picnic area, Huachuca Canyon 30 May (DSt et al.). It was a good spring for Common Grackles in the state and this region sported an adult male at Quailway Cottage east of Portal 24-27 Apr (ph. JY; ph. DSt). A Black-vented Oriole sighting was reported near Sonoita 18 Apr (T. Leonardini); there is only one accepted record of this species in the state, a male that visited a hummingbird feeder at Patagonia L. SP 18 Apr1991. A Streak-backed Oriole visited a hummingbird feeder in ne. Tucson 23 Mar (ph. R. Haupt). Among several reports of Baltimore Oriole, the only one documented was an adult male along the Portal-Paradise Rd. 21 May (ph. DSt). A Cassin’s Finch at San Bernardino NWR 16 Apr (RWe) was a surprising find in the desert, particularly in a season that saw few reports of the species in the region.
Cited observers: Moez Ali (MA), Joey Alsadi (JAl), Walt Anderson (WA), Keith Archibald (KAr), Rich and Nanette Armstrong (R&NA), John Arnett (JAr), Charles Babbitt (CBab), Mary Jo Ballator (MJB), Jack Bartley (JBa), Tony Battiste (TBa), Harvey Beatty (HBe), Dave Beaudette (DBe), Robert Behrstock (RB), Chris Benesh (CBen), Barbara Bickel (BBi), Gavin Bieber (GB), Ron Bimrose (RBi), Susan Birky (SBi), Scott Blackman (SB), Kathleen Blair (KB), Terence Blows (TBl), Jerry Bock (JBoc), Helga Borgardt (HBor), Al Borgardt (AB), Gary Botello (GBo), Matt Brooks (MBr), Steve and Sue Burk (S&SB), Jim Burns (JBu), Laurence Butler(LBt), Richard Carlson (RCa), Sue Carnaham (SC), Cliff Cathers (CCa), David Chorin (DCho), 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), Rich Ditch (RDi), Cynthia Donald (CD), Sue Drown (SDr), Gregory Dunn (GD), Lanie Epstein (LEp), Craig Fischer (CFi), Steve Ganley (SG), Brian Gatlin (BGa), Sharon Goldwasser (SGo), John Grahame (JGra), Gary Graves (GG),Tina Greenawalt (TGr), Brendon Grice (BGri), Laurens Halsey (LHal), Jay Hand (JHan), Olga Harbour (OH), Lauren Harter (LHar), Stuart Healy (SH), Brian Healy (BHe), Melanie Herring (MHe), John Higgins (JH), Jim Higgs (JHi), John Hildebrand (JoH), John & Marty Hirth (J&MH), Gus Hollenbeck (GHo), Justin Hopkins (JHo), Steve Hosmer (SHo), Bob Hough (BHo), Eric Hough (ErH), Richard Inman (RI), Brian Ison (BIs), Doug & Diane Iverson (D&DI), Doug Jenness (DJ), Marianne Jensen (MJen), Tom Johnson (TJ), Phyllis Kegley (PKe), Melody Kehl (MK), Brian Keil (BK), Diane Kelley (DKe), Sonia Kirkendall (SKi), Claudia Kirscher (CK), Philip Kline (PKl), Pam Koch (PKo), Dave Lamkin (DLam), Nancy Lange (NL), Larry Langstaff (LL), Chuck LaRue (CLR), Jim Lawrence (JLaw), Karen LeMay (KLM), Michael Lester (MLe), Jackie Lewis (JLew), Grant Loomis (GL), Carl Lundblad (CLu), Vivian MacKinnon (VMac), Adam Martin (AMar), Phyllis Martin (PMar), Tracy McCarthey (TMc), Chris McCreedy (CMc), Mickey McLean (MMc), Barb Meding (BMe), Charles Melton (CMe), Richard Messenger (RM), David Moll (MO), Cyrus Moqtaderi (CMo), Elaine Morrall (EM), Jim Morris (JMs), Peter Moulton (PMo), Ken Murphy (KM), Mike Nicosia (MN), Larry Norris (LN), Jan Parrott (JPar), Dave Pearson (DPe), Loretta Pena (LPen), Reid Peters (RPet), Sara Pike (SP), Diane Poleyquiva (DPq), Molly Pollock (MPo), Dave Powell (DPo), Cindy Radamaker (CR), Kurt Radamaker (KR), Debbie Rasmussen (DRa), Jan Richmond (JRi), Mark Riegner (MRi), Micah Riegner (MiR), Arlene Ripley (ARi), Steve Ritt (StR), Jeff Ritz (JRz), Gary Rosenberg (GR), Mike Rourke (MR), Rose Anne Rowlett (RAR), Will Russell (WR), Peter Salomon (PSa), Alan Schmierer (ASc),Tim Schreckengost (TSch), Myron Scott (MSc), Mark Sharon (MSh), Ryan Shaw (RSh), Dominic Sherony (DShe), Bruce Sitko (BSi), Sue Sitko (SSi), Nicholas Sly (NSl), Chrissy Smith (CSm), Dave Stejskal (DSt), Jeff Stemshorn (JStem), Mark Stevenson (MSt), Lindsay & Keith Story (L&KS), Mary Strang (MStr), Tice Supplee (TSu), David Sussman (DSu), Rick Taylor (RT), Rick Thompson (RTh), Walter Thurber (WT), Carl Tomoff (CT), Diane Touret (DT), Christie van Cleve (CVC), David Vander Pluym (DVP), Marceline VandeWater (MV), Brian Walsh (BWal), Marcus Watson (MWa), Tim Weber (TW), Magill Weber (MWeb), Richard Webster (RWe), John West (JWe), Ellen West (EWe), George West (GW), Joan Wike (JWik), Jason Wilder (JWi),Nathan Williams (NWil), Sheri Williamson (SW), Brett & Peg Wilmore (B&PWil), Erika Wilson (EW), Tom Wood (TWo), Joe Woodley (JWo), John Yerger (JY), Barry Zimmer (BZ).
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