Friday, May 13, 2011

First week in Arizona and California

I flew into Phoenix, Arizona Saturday May 7 and then took a shuttle to Flagstaff to meet the project coordinator for my summer field position as a Southwestern Willow Flycatcher surveyor. Sunday morning, I was able to take an hour drive, which wasn't a lot of time, to bird around Flagstaff, but I was able to pick up a few good birds. I was able to locate a few Pygmy Nuthatches, Steller's Jay's, Grace's Warbler, Evening Grosbeaks, and a Western Bluebird.

Western Bluebird

Steller's Jay
Sunday afternoon, I headed to Park Moabi, located just west of the Arizona/California border for a 3 day training session. I was excited to be able to bird for a couple of days with people familiar with the species in that area. I picked up a few life birds that evening before sunset including Gambel's Quail, Great-tailed Grackle and White-winged Dove.

Monday morning, I spent an hour and a half birding before the long day of lecture and powerpoint session (I thought I was done with lectures for the summer!) of the first day of training. I just walked around Park Moabi Campground and picked up Western Tanager, Verdin, Albert's Towhee, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Clark's Grebe, Greater Roadrunner, Phainopepla, and Macgillivray's Warbler. After the training session, a few of the crew members and I birded the same area and came up with a few more species including Black-chinned Hummingbird, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Western Flycatcher (probably Pacific-slope Flycatcher based on range), Lucy's Warbler, and Vaux's Swift.

Western Flycatcher (probably Pacific-slope, but could be Cordilleran)

Clark's Grebe

Great-tailed Grackle

Tuesday morning was the field portion of our training and we headed out to Lake Havasu NWR to survey for Willow Flycatchers. We resighted one that the banders had caught on Sunday. At the refuge, we observed Lesser Nighthawks, Western Wood-Pewee, Common Moorhen, White-faced Ibis, Black-headed Grosbeak, several Yellow-breasted Chats, Bank Swallows, Summer Tanagers, and a Gila Woodpecker. That afternoon as we were walking up to the main office to use the internet, we spotted a Say's Phoebe. Also, we observed a Ladder-backed Woodpecker the same afternoon.

Wednesday morning, we had a 3 hour boat training session as my field partner, Jesse Vooz, and I will be on the boating most of the time on the Lower Colorado River while surveying for Southwestern Willow Flycatchers!

Thursday, we drove down to Cibola NWR to meet the refuge biologist and on the way we observed several Burrowing Owls, American White Pelicans, and a Red-tailed Hawk (amongst the million blackbirds).

Red-tailed Hawk

American White Pelican
While on the refuge, Jesse and I managed to spot a few more Burrowing Owls, Say's Phoebes, Western Kingbirds, and two Blue Grosbeaks. That afternoon, we were driving around to try and find a few sites, so we could get a jump on this morning's habitat monitoring, but we were unable to locate any, but we did find some sweet birds! We were able to find 2 Black-necked Stilts, Snowy and Great Egrets, and a White-faced Ibis in one of the few wet areas on the refuge.

Burrowing Owl

Snowy Egrets (two on left) and Great Egret (on right)

Black-necked Stilt

White-faced Ibis
Last evening, we were sitting outside eating dinner and observed a few close Lesser Nighthawks.

Lesser Nighthawk
Today, we managed to collect habitat monitoring data from one site and observed many Phainopepla, a Say's Phoebe pair near a nesting cavity, Summer Tanager, and Western Kingbirds.

Say's Phoebe outside of a nest cavity
At the house, we set up 2 seed feeders and a hummingbird feeder. A nice looking male Black-chinned Hummingbird has been frequenting the feeder throughout the morning and early afternoon as well as a female Anna's Hummingbird.

Black-chinned Hummingbird
Sorry for the lengthy post as I will try and keep them shorter, but due to the lack of internet access that may not be possible!

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