Southwest Birders
Read about our adventures and thoughts on birding in Arizona, California, and other locales. Check back weekly for updates!

September 2012
« Aug   Oct »
Salton Sea Adventure
Filed under: California
Posted by: Henry @ 8:57 pm

Greetings Birders,

Cal, Jeff, Ethan, and I headed out for a day of birding early on Saturday, Sep 22, 2012.  Our first stop at Cattle Call Park was quite productive, and among the many birds we located were several GILA WOODPECKERS, a male RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, a WILLOW FLYCATCHER, and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

Red-necked Sapsucker, Red-tailed Hawk, Cattle Call Park, Brawley

Loggerhead Shrike, Jeff, Cal, & Ethan, Cattle Call Park, Brawley

When we first arrived at Ramer Lake, we couldn’t find a LESSER NIGHTHAWK anywhere amonght the Athel tamarisks, but before too long we’d flushed about six of them, and Cal was able to get some photos as they hawked around the treetops.  Here we also flushed a BARN OWL, scoped both CLARK’S and WESTERN GREBES, and watched a pair of COOPER’S HAWKS.  While looking at the COOPER’S, a rabbit-like squeaking under a nearby bush caused Cal to investigate, and he found a wounded ABERT’S TOWHEE.  We thought the bird had escaped from the clutches of the accipiter, until we saw that the bird was being held by a snake.  As Cal and I ran back to the car for our cameras, Ethan and Jeff moved closer for a better view, and the coachwhip released the towhee.  The bird didn’t waste any time flying away! 

Stilt Sandpiper & Marbled Godwit, Salton Sea

Burrowing Owls, Young Road

Along Bowles Road, at the south end of the Salton Sea, were thousands of shorebirds, waders, gulls, and waterfowl.  Ethan and Jeff racked up lifers as fast as I could get the scope on them.  At least twenty Stilt Sandpipers were mixed in with a close flock of Long-billed Dowitchers.  Cal spotted a pair of Burrowing Owls on nearby Young Road; they watched us as we took our fill of photos. Driving and birding our way north along the levee road, we ticked off a variety of shorebirds and gulls, and before too long had our first handsome adult YELLOW-FOOTED GULL.

Yellow-footed Gull, Salton Sea

Lunch was at the headquarters, in the company of the palm-roosting BARN OWL, COMMON GROUND-DOVES, a roadrunner, and lots of GAMBEL’S QUAIL.

At Morton Bay we added more shorebirds and waterfowl, but couldn’t turn up any lingering storks or skimmers.  Close to the old ice house we had a second PEREGRINE FALCON, which let us creep up to within a few car lengths of it’s perch.  The birding was slow at the overgrown remediation ponds on McDonald, so we headed over to Poe Road. 

Double-crested Cormorants, Salton Sea Levee

It turned out to be a good choice, as this was where our only flocks of BLACK and FORSTER’S TERNS were resting and feeding.  Here we also added a GREEN-WINGED TEAL and a flock of NORTHERN PINTAIL.  Driving out to the end of the spit of land, we all got terrific looks at an adult WESTERN GULL.

Western Gull, Poe Road

And so ended another fine day at the Salton Sea!
Good birding!
Henry Detwiler

1 comment
Yuma West Wetlands
Filed under: Arizona
Posted by: Henry @ 4:18 pm

Greetings Birders!

I spent about 2 hours at the Yuma West Wetlands on Saturday morning (15 Sep 12).  It was the first nice morning of the season, with temperatures in the 70’s!  There were more signs of falls as I found several firsts among the returning birds:  two WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS and a GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE.  There was a huge flock of LESSER GOLDFINCHES, but I couldn’t find any Lawrence’s among them.  One of the two WILLOW FLYCATCHERS from this morning was calling, making its identification a breeze.

Townsend’s Warbler, Lesser Goldfinch, 15 Sep 2012

I found another NORTHERN PARULA east of the hummingbird garden “pond” and down by the river.  This one was a first-year bird, as oposed to the adult we saw about a month ago close to the same location.

Northern Parula, 15 Sep 12, Yuma West Wetlands

I was surprised by the paucity of birds around the pond, until I found a Cooper’s Hawk lurking in one of the trees there. 

On Wednesday of last week I had my first PRAIRIE FALCON of the season on the way to work, just west of Yuma. 

Directions to the Yuma West Wetlands are at:

Good birding!

comments (0)
Cibola Valley & Cibola NWR
Filed under: Arizona
Posted by: Henry @ 5:14 pm

Greetings Birders!

This morning (9 Sep 2012) Mickey and I spent six hours at Cibola NWR and the Cibola Valley Conservation Area.  A beautiful sunrise awaited us.

Colorado River, La Paz County

We found 81 species, including several that were firsts for the season: NORTHERN HARRIER, SORA, TOWNSEND’S WARBLER, BREWER’S SPARROW, and SAGE SPARROW.  As the sun was rising several flocks of 100’s of WHITE-FACED IBIS flew south along the Colorado. There were herds of BLUE GROSBEAKS in the bird-filled Cibola Valley, and some of the fields were loaded with newly-arrived sparrows. Mosquitoes were thick in a couple of spots, but didn’t drink more than a couple of quarts of blood.

Burrowing Owl, Great Egret, Cibola NWR

Hart Mine Marsh at Cibola NWR was as beautiful as ever, with a great variety of waders.  Shorebirds and waterfowl were in short supply, and we found only one tern all day.  Raptors are slowly returning, and the Peregrine along the Cibola NWR Goose Loop gave us opportunities for some great photos.  It was a excellent morning of birding!  And we also got some good beasts:  gray fox, bobcat, racoon, and a coachwhip.

Peregrine Falcon, Cibola NWR

Peregrine Falcon, Cibola NWR

Good birding!
Henry Detwiler
Yuma, AZ

Cibola valley & Cibola NWR - 9 Sep 2012
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Western Grebe
3 Double-crested Cormorant
4 Least Bittern
5 Great Blue Heron
6 Great Egret
7 Snowy Egret
8 Cattle Egret
9 Green Heron
10 Black-crowned Night Heron
11 White-faced Ibis
12 Canada Goose
13 Mallard
14 Cinnamon Teal
15 Northern Shoveler
16 Northern Pintail
17 Ruddy Duck
18 Osprey
19 Northern Harrier
20 Cooper’s Hawk
21 Red-tailed Hawk
22 American Kestrel
23 Peregrine Falcon
24 Gambel’s Quail
25 Clapper Rail
26 Sora
27 Common Moorhen
28 American Coot
29 Killdeer
30 Black-necked Stilt
31 Solitary Sandpiper
32 Least Sandpiper
33 Long-billed Dowitcher
34 Turkey Vulture
35 Forster’s Tern
36 White-winged Dove
37 Mourning Dove
38 Inca Dove
39 Common Ground-Dove
40 Eurasian Collared Dove
41 Greater Roadrunner
42 Burrowing Owl
43 Anna’s Hummingbird
44 Rufous Hummingbird
45 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
46 Western Wood Pewee
47 Willow Flycatcher
48 Black Phoebe
49 Say’s Phoebe
50 Western Kingbird
51 Loggerhead Shrike
52 Common Raven
53 Tree Swallow
54 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
55 Barn Swallow
56 Verdin
57 House Wren
58 Marsh Wren
59 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
60 Crissal Thrasher
61 European Starling
62 Townsend’s Warbler
63 Wilson’s Warbler
64 Orange-crowned Warbler
65 Yellow Warbler
66 Yellow-breasted Chat
67 Common Yellowthroat
68 Macgillivray’s Warbler
69 Western Tanager
70 Abert’s Towhee
71 Chipping Sparrow
72 Brewer’s Sparrow
73 Sage Sparrow
74 Song Sparrow
75 Blue Grosbeak
76 Lazuli Bunting
77 Red-winged Blackbird
78 Yellow-headed Blackbird
79 Great-tailed Grackle
80 House Finch
81 House Sparrow

comments (0)
Yuma West Wetlands
Filed under: Arizona
Posted by: Henry @ 5:47 pm

Greetings Friends!

Early on Sunday morning (Sep 2, Suzanne’s birthday!) Suzanne and I spent an hour walking around various parts of the Yuma West Wetlands.  Not as much activity as we hoped for, but we did add two birds that were new for the season–a House Wren and a Willow Flycatcher.  These were both below the Hummingbird Gardens, which is one of the best areas of the park.  Unfortunately the “gardeners” are at it again, and have chopped down a beautiful palo verde tree.  No idea why.  On the east end of the park we heard the chortle of a Cactus Wren, a bird that for some reason is pretty scarce in this park. 

Good Birding!

comments (0)