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August 5th, 2013
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Montosa Canyon, Mt Lemmon, Agua Caliente Park

Great day of target birding in Pima and Santa Cruz counties in SE Arizona… 81 species, big on quality.

Mt Hopkins Rd:
I was delighted to see a pair of SCALED QUAIL at the side of the road. There are occasional records from this area, but for me it was the first time I’d seen this species west of the Santa Ritas.
Target sparrow number one, RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS, were all over the place, singing heartily from roadside mesquites.

Montosa Canyon:
Several RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS were target sparrow number two. After about an hour of scanning and listening, number three, a male FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW began singing from the previously described location, the hillside on the right, just beyond the concrete creek crossing. Today it was a little further up, and we eventually located it for good scope views from the rough road on the right.
More quail fun. A male MONTEZUMA QUAIL was calling from higher on the same hillside as the sparrow. I briefly saw the quail in flight as it landed in a different spot on the ridge, then we watched incredulously as it flew over our heads, right across the canyon, and began calling from the opposite hillside. My first ever fly *over* Montezuma Quail!
A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO was calling from the creek, and several VARIED BUNTINGS were joined by a male INDIGO BUNTING.


Madera Canyon Rd:
Like London buses, you wait eleven years and two records come along together… another SCALED QUAIL was heard calling from the desert.

Mt Lemmon:
We found two big mixed flocks, one by the gate at Incinerator Ridge Rd, the other near the Steward Observatory on Mt Bigelow Rd. Both flocks were dominated by PYGMY NUTHATCHES with additional ‘filler’ species including MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, BROWN CREEPER and YELLOW-EYED JUNCO. The highlights were our main target on Mt Lemmon, a pair of OLIVE WARBLERS (at Steward Observatory), plus YELLOW-RUMPED, BLACK-THROATED GRAY, HERMIT and GRACE’S WARBLERS, PAINTED REDSTART and an early RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET (Incinerator Ridge Rd).

Agua Caliente Park:
NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULETS are feeding young on a nest near Rose Cottage.
Fabulous looks at a ZONE-TAILED HAWK low overhead.


This evening, 26 WHITE-FACED IBIS were heading south along the Santa Cruz.

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