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September 27th, 2011
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TAS Field Trip Paton's

Eight birders joined me for a Tucson Audubon Society field trip, exploring Paton’s Hummingbird Haven and the nearby area.

We began at the house and watched the feeders for a while. The hummingbirds were buzzing and included BROAD-BILLED, BLACK-CHINNED, RUFOUS, ANNA’S, several VIOLET-CROWNED and a smart female MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD. There was plenty of action at the other feeders too, with scads of LESSER GOLDFINCH, HOUSE FINCH, GILA and ACORN WOODPECKERS, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, SUMMER TANAGER and more.

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Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Walking along Pennsylvania Avenue heading towards Patagonia, we found several BLUE GROSBEAKS and LAZULI BUNTINGS feeding in the grass, but getting good views wasn’t easy. The same could be said of a couple of elusive LINCOLN’S SPARROWS. A pair of GRAY HAWKS were calling and we eventually got great views of thsese in flight and then perched in a cottonwood tree.

There were interesting insects to be found, the most striking being these two large grasshoppers, HORSE LUBBER and PLAINS LUBBER.

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Horse Lubber

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Plains Lubber

We headed back to Paton’s and continued along Blue Haven Road to search for birds in the other direction. I was pleased to find a singing RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW, a species I’d not seen at Paton’s before. It turns out they are in the mesquite bosque on Blue Haven Road all the time, but I normally drive past that part so must have always missed them. Further along, by the cut bank, a RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, which had presumably come out of the foothills to drink, provided a nice contrast.

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Rufous-winged Sparrow

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Rufous-crowned Sparrow

We had several brief glimpses of GREEN-TAILED TOWHEES but never out in the open, while a vocal YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT remained completely hidden. There were a few migrants around, such as WESTERN TANAGER and ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, but it was otherwise fairly quiet. We headed back to Paton’s and watched the hummingbirds as we ate lunch. In the afternoon we added MacGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER and INCA DOVE to the list.

My thanks to all the participants for a very pleasant if unspectacular day of fall birding.

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Queen

 

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