Monday, March 31, 2014

Catching Up

It's been a few months since I posted here.  I've been keeping very busy and there hasn't been a lot of time to go birding.  But here are a few things I've seen over the last three months.

Harris's Sparrow
This Harris's Sparrow has been hanging around a city park here in Tucson since December, a great bird for Pima County.  It was my tenth lifer of 2013, a nice way to end a slow birding year.  I need to go back and try for some updated photos.

In January I made a trip out to Redington Pass between the Catalina and Rincon Mountains in search of Sage Thrasher and Juniper Titmouse.  I missed seeing the titmouse, but picked up a couple of rare county birds.

Sage Thrasher

Townsend's Solitaire
There were plenty of my favorite sparrows and lots of bluebirds too.

Black-throated Sparrow
Western Bluebird
By far the coolest sighting I've had this year was of a Spotted Owl in a mesquite tree!  This is an amazing bird for Tucson.  Unfortunately someone entered the sighting on eBird and pinpointed its exact location, a definite no-no.  They who shall not be named will no doubt feel the wrath of the birding gods who will surely punish them with only bad looks at common birds this spring.  I on the other hand was "invited" to see the owl with the usual disclaimer to act more responsibly than those other people.  Hopefully others acted responsibly too.

Spotted Owl
This weekend I was able to get out birding around town a couple times.  First I looked for the "easy" Sage Thrasher that everyone else has been able to see at a local park.  No luck.  But there were lots of Lucy's Warblers singing away and a couple American Pipits, a first for me in town in spring.

Lucy's Warbler
American Pipit
Yesterday I dragged the wife and crawler to my patch at a nearby park.  The conditions were bad for photos but I couldn't complain about it being 67 degrees.  As I got out of the car I heard more Lucy's Warblers singing here too.  A Red-tailed Hawk swooped down just above us with a twig in its bill.  It seems to be setting up a couple of nests on the ball field lights.

Red-tailed Hawk
A pair of banded Cooper's Hawks were busy trying to start a family in a eucalyptus tree.  Notice the larger female.

Cooper's Hawks
Next we found a female Vermilion Flycatcher that eventually flew to her nest.  This was a first for me, pretty cool!  The nest seemed tiny.  Spring was definitely in the air.

Vermilion Flycatcher
A squeaky male Ladder-backed Woodpecker was a nice addition to the patch list.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Considering the lighting conditions, it's sad that these are my best Yellow-rumped Warbler shots to date.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Hopefully I'll have more to post about after our trip to San Carlos, Mexico in a few weeks.  Happy spring birding!


  1. Rockin' the patch birding Jeremy, and congrats on that Spotted Owl!
    I haven't ever seen that bird outside of Miller Canyon.

    Sweet shots

    1. Thanks Laurence. Yeah, I've been limited to patch and county birding lately. Have you tried for Mexican Chickadee yet? I still need to make that trip one of these days.

  2. Great shots of many delightful birds! I have missed your posts!

    1. Thanks Carole! I've missed posting (and birding).

  3. Awesome stuff! Excellent owl shot and neat to see two Cooper's together...

  4. Awesome stuff. Will be there in about a month. Looking forward to it.

  5. Very fun! I'm glad you're getting out and seeing birds again. That Sage Thrasher was a real thrill several weeks back. And it was the easiest bird to find!!!!