Date: 2/22/17 12:50 pm
From: Tim Helentjaris <tnhelentjaris...>
Subject: [AZNMbirds] Puerto Canyon & Spring, Santa Cruz County
This morning, my penchant for getting there too early and which has worked against me all winter, finally ended up in my favor, as I arrived here before the sun came over the ridge and the spring area was alive with activity. A number of different species began to climb up into the sun, either in tall sycamore branches or lower shrubs to warm in the morning sun. I could forgive the vocal exuberance of the NORTHERN CARDINAL and CRISSAL THRASHER but it made it hard to parse out the other avian voices against that background. After about 45 mins, their activity subsided and I could start to make out a slew of other participants. A number of sparrow species in this area but the most common and vocal were the numerous RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS. Watched as first a WESTERN BLUEBIRD and then a HERMIT THRUSH and NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD appeared to take turns feeding on the fruits from a hackberry tree in the wash. One fun find was a WESTERN SCREECH-OWL who responded to my playback that I was trying instead to draw in some passerines with otherwise no success. Overall, there is a noticeable uptick in song the last couple of weeks in the lower elevations.

The road into the spring area is in excellent shape and passable via any vehicle type. This is a nice area to just take in and study a number of different species in relative solitude. I recommend it for a visit, particularly between now and migration. Never know what you might find here.

Afterwards, I decided to stop in at Santa Gertrudis Lane for a short while. Nothing much of note here except for a very striking HARLAN’S subspecies of RED-TAILED HAWK soaring in lazy circles overhead and moving north along the riparian corridor.

Tim Helentjaris
Tucson, AZ

“I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.”
- Mae West

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