Friday, May 21, 2010
The End of Week #20
As promised yesterday, the photos above are of the very common black-chinned (top pic) and the rare white-eared (bottom) hummers. These were taken at the Beatty guest ranch. Remember to click on the photo to enlarge it.
I began the last day of Week #20 at the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area located just to the east of Sierra Vista. A nice stroll beginning about 7 AM on a sunny 65 degree morning generated no new birds for the year but it did provide some good viewing and exercise.
I next visited the Slaughter Ranch which is located 15 miles east of Douglas. The ranch used to be a 100,000 acres in size. When the border with Mexico was established, the ranch was partly in both countries. It now accepts visitors for a small fee Wed-Sun. There is a large pond and lots of big cottonwood trees. I had never visited before, and I stopped in specifically to look for a ruddy ground dove that had been seen there recently. After over an hour of searching, I was only able to find common ground doves. I did enjoy all the other birds attracted by the trees and water.
Next I visited the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Refuge, a place that I stopped at back in Feb. What a difference 3 months make. The water levels were down dramatically, and all of the waterfowl, including the sandhill cranes, had departed. I did get to see the great horned owl that generally roosts in a large covered area.
I then wound my way over to Turkey Creek canyon located on the west side of the Chiracahua mountains. Enroute I found today's only new bird for the year--an olive-sided flycatcher. I hiked up a trail at the top of the road in Turkey Creek in hopes of seeing a mexican chickadee. I had found some there on another visit, but today I came up dry. I did find a few other birds including western wood pewee, and buff-breasted and cordilleran flycatchers.
My last stop was at the large body of water just outside of Willcox that generally has some interesting waterfowl and shorebirds. Today was no exception. I saw black-necked stilts, american avocets, a wilson's phalarope, a white-rumped sandpiper, ruddy and mexican ducks, and a franklin's gull--all new birds for the week.
Week #20 is in the books, and what a week it turned out to be. When you can bird part of the week in Ohio, catching the eastern spring migration, and then finish out in a place like SE AZ, you are going to have a great opportunity to see lots of birds. With 13 more new birds for the week, the weekly total climbed to 218. This is the most species of birds I have ever seen in a 7 day period. And the YTD number is now at 584. Tomorrow I will be in the Chiracahuas, and expect to find some more new year birds. Stay tuned!