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February 26th, 2013
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Sweetwater Wetlands

I spent a great morning birding with Debbe and Harvey Klein from Vermont. We spent the morning at the wonderful Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson.

We didn’t find anything outrageously rare, but we did see a lot of the cool birds that are here in winter.

The wintering SOLITARY SANDPIPER gave us great views on the stream. It’s becoming a bit everyday, but we should remember that, until this bird decided to winter last year, Solitary Sandpiper had NEVER  been recorded in SE Arizona in winter before. So it’s still an amazing bird!

Also wintering, a first-winter male SUMMER TANAGER gave us amazingly close views, and hopefully Harvey got some interesting photos. This individual still looks very much like a female, but the reddish tail and slightly reddish undertail coverts show that this is a somewhat retarded first-winter male. Great bird!

Beyond that, we had splendid views of the HARRIS’S HAWKS, which were mating again, plus LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER and ABERT’S TOWHEE. We all enjoyed watching an ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD feeding at that one bush that is flowering in February(someone told me what this was last week, but I’ve forgotten already!)

A few NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS reminded us that spring has sprung. The GREAT HORNED OWLS occupying the former Harris’s Hawk nest reinforced that fact. I wonder where the Harris’s Hawks are nesting this year… it’s obviously close by, and judging by the amount of mating I’ve seen at Sweetwater the past few weeks, it happening right now.

My grateful thanks to Harvey and Debbe for their delightful company this week.

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