Seven birders and our leader, John Higgins traveled south to the Benson sewage ponds. I drove with John, a local bird trip leader named Steve, and fellow from Vancouver, BC named Jason who is in town on business. As we drove south, we spotted Chihuahua Raven and red-tailed Hawk. At the ponds we saw American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Eared Grebe (in full breeding plumage), Blue-winged teal, Cinnamon Teal, and Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, Ring-necked Duck, a female Canvasback, Eurasian-collared Dove, Mourning Dove, Barn Swallow, Spotted Sandpiper, Killdeer, and a Say’s Phoebe feeding young in an overhang.
We then traveled to Willcox where we spent about an hour observing the ponds. We saw many of the same ducks and grebes as in Benson, but added Pied-billed Grebe, great Blue Heron, about 100 white-faced Ibis*, 50 Willet, a Baird’s Sandpiper*, 2 American Avocet, Dunlin, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson’s Phalarope, several western Kingbirds, and a Savannah Sparrow. Of course, no trip to Willcox would be complete without a stop at Stoudt’s Cider Mill for Apple-berry pie and cinnamon swirl ice cream!