Showing posts from February, 2010

CA/AZ trip summary

I'm back home after 9 days of birding southern California and Arizona. Overall the trip was a great success. Over the next few days I'll be posting a detailed day-by-day trip summary with photos. You can access all of my postings on this trip by clicking the 'CA/AZ 2010' tag below. My final route was pretty similar to my original plan except for cutting out a few stops because I just could not squeeze them in. At times it felt as though I bit off more than I could chew, despite trying my best not to rush around too much. Birding southern CA in 4 days and SE AZ in 5 days is quite difficult if you want to try to see everything! The final route was as follows: Day 1&2) San Diego area Day 3) Laguna Mtns and Salton Sea Day 4) Salton Sea and Tacna, AZ Day 5) Superior to Tucson Day 6) Patagonia area and San Rafael Grasslands Day 7) Florida Canyon, Madera Canyon, and vicinity Day 8) Tucson to Willcox Day 9) eastern Chiricahua Mtns and Sulphur Springs Valley I had to cut out

Off to CA and AZ (for real this time...)

After postponing my trip last month due to weather, I'm finally leaving for the desert Southwest tomorrow afternoon from JFK. Here's the tentative plan: Fly into San Diego. Bird SD & environs for 1-2 days, then move east across the Laguna Mtns, and through the Anza-Borrego Desert to the Salton Sea. I'll give a full day to the southern Salton Sea, then birding in Brawley and El Centro on my way towards Yuma. A few stops around Yuma before continuing eastward to Phoenix, then southeast to Tuscon. I'll be based in the Tuscon area for a few days from which I'll bird around southeast AZ. That should keep me busy until my flight out of Phoenix on Feb 24. My goal isn't to just tick and run. I hope to spend some time studying the more interesting species I run into. This is my first visit to the southwest, and I can't see everything the first why try? I'll be sure to snap some photos and post the highlights when I get back. - NB


Yesterday Ken Elkins and Bill Banks found an EARED GREBE at Seaside Park in Bridgeport. Formerly on the ARCC's Review List , this species was removed after a handful of sightings, both coastal and inland, last decade. I think it's been at least few years since the last one, so it's quite a nice find by Ken and Bill. This bird may find it's way back onto the Review List in future years if they remain so scarce. - NB

European thrushes: Time to look hard

As has been mentioned before, birders in the northeastern states and Maritime Provinces have been on alert for two European thrushes: Redwing ( Turdus iliacus ) and Fieldfare ( Turdus pilaris ). Why on high alert? An unusually frigid winter in northwestern Europe and the UK, particularly around the New Year, drove incredible numbers of these thrushes to the extreme western limits of Britain and Ireland. As Dave Brown mentions , this situation could only increase our chances of finding one of these vagrants on this side of the pond. Here is a brief (and certainly incomplete) summary of the status of these two thrushes in the New World: REDWING ( Turdus iliacus ) The Redwing breeds from Greenland east to Siberia and winters in southern Eurasia and northern Africa. The Greenland population was supposedly just established in the 1970s, indicating current westward expansion, and this population apparently continues to grow. Redwing is increasing in North America, with most

3 Feb - Outer Cape (PACIFIC LOON+)

James P. Smith and I teamed up for a midweek day trip, this time to the Outer Cape. Nothing earth-shattering to report, but we were able to relocated an adult PACIFIC LOON among the throngs of Red-throats at Race Point. adult Pacific Loon Alcids also put on a good show...not in numbers, but in quality views. In addition to the hundreds of Razorbills, we had 5 COMMON MURRES (all solitary basic-plumaged birds sitting on the water) and a fantastic prolonged view of a passing THICK-BILLED MURRE with the sun at our backs. Common Murre 1 of 5 Common Murre 2 of 5 We spent a fair amount of time on gulls. This adult Glaucous Gull was really nice. adult Glaucous Gull Race Point Light Race Point Beach as the weather begins to break We came across the following [presumed] seal tracks. They led from the water's edge up to the edge of the dunes, where the seal apparently seated itself for a while before returning back to the ocean. Looking up the beach's slope toward the dunes, one could see