Thursday, May 15, 2014

May 15 (Day 135) - Explosion of new birds in Arizona - I've reached 405!

OK, I am going to keep this very short even though I saw a ton of birds today. The evening time that I normally spend blogging will be used for owling each of the next few nights. I will do my best to try to keep up with the blog!

57 miles today - climbed ~1000 feet as well

Today I rode the 57 miles from Lordsburg to the Southwest Research Station in the Chiricahuas of Southeastern Arizona. Interestingly, this research outpost where I am staying is actually an arm of The American Museum of Natural History. It is nestled about 5 miles up into the mountains and provides the perfect spot form which to bird both high and low elevations. As soon as I turned off the main road towards these mountains, a floodgate of new birds opened. The 23 new birds I added today were:

383 - Bendire's thrasher

384 - Gray-breasted jay
385 - Band-tailed pigeon
386 - Bridled titmouse
387 - Brown-crested flycatcher
388 - Black-throated gray warbler
389 - White-throated swift
390 - Dusky-capped flycatcher
391 - Broad-tailed hummingbird
392 - Grace's warbler
393 - Acorn woodpecker
394 - Hepatic tanager
395 - Arizona woodpecker
396 - Blue-throated hummingbird
397 - Magnificent hummingbird
398 - Cassin's kingbird
399 - Violet-green swallow
400 - Yellow-eyed junco
401 - Townsend's solitaire
402 - Spoted towhee
403 - Painted redstart
404 - Elf owl (H)
405 - Mexican whip-poor-will (H)

Most of these birds were added along the road on my ride into the mountains. All of these species are birds that I expected to add. Tomorrow I will start really chasing down the Chiricahua specialty birds. The big news around here at the moment is the Slate-throated redstart that hung around the research station all day yesterday. Despite much searching by many people today, we were unable to relocate the birds. Slate-throated redstart is a Mexican species that only VERY rarely reaches Southeastern Arizona. My guess would be that 1 bird is found in the US each year. The point is that this would be an incredible addition to my list. However, I am not going to spend much time tomorrow looking for it since it is more important that I find the more numerous and regular Chiricahua specialty birds (Elegant trogon, Red-faced warbler, Greater pewee etc).

I am now going to go for a walk to look for night birds. Mexican whip-poor-will, Common poorwill, Whiskered screech-owl, Western screech-owl, Elf owl, and Flammulated owl are all possible (though the last one is notoriously difficult to find). I will try to update this should I find anything exciting.

UPDATE: I am back from the owl walk. Lots of Mexican whip-poor-wills and Elf owls but nothing else. The moon is near full tonight. I noticed that activity quieted down as the moon came up over the mountains. Smaller owls tend to call less on the full moon lest they advertise their whereabout to a bigger owl that could potentially eat them. Ugh, this moon thing could be a problem for  few days.

Here are a few rough pics of some of today's birds. I will be birding from 5:30am until 6:00pm tomorrow so its time for bed!

Brown-crested flycatcher

Acorn woodpecker

Arizona woodpecker

Dusky-capped flycatcher

Grace's warbler

Lastly, here are 2 decent shots of a Say's phoebe


  1. Wow, can't believe so many new birds for the list!! I wasn't into birding when I was in the Chiricahuas in the winter of 1996-97. What I wouldn't give for another shot now. Take care and safe travels.

  2. FYI, this is the third distinct sighting of Slate-throated Redstart this year in Arizona plus one in Texas.