Saturday, October 6, 2007

Esperanza Ranch

Fourteen birders, including our leader Kendall Kroesen assisted by Moaz Ali, birded the Esperanza Ranch conservation area between Amado and Tubac. The area follows the riparian area along the Santa Cruz, but also has a number of other habitats which make for a great variety of birds. One of the most prominent birds seen was Lawrence's Goldfinches which seemed to be everywhere. Kendall estimated there were about 100. We got some excellent scope looks at them in really good light.

Another prominent bird was Swainson's Hawks which were migrating in large kettles above us. We also saw Gray Hawk, Northern Harriers, American Kestrel, Cooper's and Red-Tailed Hawks. Also in the air, we saw a small flock of both Great Egret and Cattle Egret. Of course, there were also many Turkey Vultures scanning the fields.

Lots of sparrows and a couple of warbler species were founded among the grasses and mesquites. Rufous-Winged, White-Crowned, Brewer's, Vesper, Chipping, Lark, Grasshopper and a few only the experts could see well enough to identify. Warblers included a fairly large flock (10 or 12) of Orange-Crowned Warblers. We also got good looks at Wilson's, Nashville, Lucy's, and Black-Throated Gray.

We had a great view of a Greater Roadrunner running down the path and leaving us in his dust. Also a good day for tyrant flycatchers: Black Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Cassin's Kingbird, and Western Kingbird. Other passerines included: White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Gila Woodpecker, Northern Flicker (Red-shafted), Loggerhead Shrike, Chihuahuan Raven, Tree Swallow (one only), Barn Swallow (many), Bewick's Wren, House Wren, Phainopepla, Summer Tanager, Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting (female), Yellow-headed Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser Goldfinch and House Finch.

Next up...birding New Zealand!

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