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Gavin Bieber reports from Southeastern Arizona

May 17: Gavin Bieber reports from Southeastern Arizona

The 2022 WINGS Spring Arizona tour combined a wealth of the namesake owls and warblers as well as several truly rare species among some of the best scenery on offer in the country.  The spring of 2022 was warm and a lot of our lingering wintering birds and earlier migrant species had long since headed north before our tour dates.  Despite the rather light presence of migrants, we very much enjoyed the week, tallying an impressive 208 species.  Our avian highlights were many.  Resident birds such Cactus Wrens, Acorn Woodpecker, Broad-billed Hummingbird, and Steller’s Jay all showed very well.  Summer migrants were in excellent form too, with particularly good views of Elegant Trogon, Blue-throated Mountain-Gem and Red-faced Warbler.  This tour focuses on night-birding too, and among the three nightjars and seven species of owls we enjoyed this day-roosting Spotted Owl and a nocturnal encounter with Whiskered Screech-Owl.  Perhaps the most unique thing this year was our very good luck with vagrant flycatchers.  We started the trip with a successful journey into Happy Valley for a Nutting’s Flycatcher, caught up with a cute Tufted Flycatcher in Rucker Canyon mid-tour, and then capped the trip off with a newly discovered Pine Flycatcher high up in the Catalinas.  Not all the vagrants were Mexican in origin though, as we found this adult Laughing Gull in Willcox. As is always the case we found a host of non-birds as well, including odonates like Blue-eyed Darner and Gray Sanddragon, and a number of lizards including this bulky male Desert Spiny Lizard.  All in all, just a fantastic week in the field!

Cactus Wren

Acorn Woodpecker

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Steller’s Jay

Elegant Trogon

Blue-throated Mountain-Gem

Red-faced Warbler 

Spotted Owl

Whiskered Screech-Owl

Nutting’s Flycatcher

Tufted Flycatcher in Rucker Canyon

Pine Flycatcher in Catalinas

adult Laughing Gull in Willcox

Blue-eyed Darner

Gray Sanddragon

male Desert Spiny Lizard

Posted: May 17, 2022