Date: 2/26/17 6:37 pm From: Erika Wilson <terika88...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] SEAZ: Sierra Vista EOP--26 Feb 2017
A full group of 20 walked the Sierra Vista EOP dikes this morning, with visitors from New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, as well as far-flung parts of Arizona. Despite strong winds, the group tally was 53 species at the end of the trip.
The most obvious sign of spring was the presence of swallows throughout the morning, with 20+ swooping over the sheltered impoundments at Moson Road. A conservative count yielded N. Rough-winged Swallow (7), Tree Swallow (15), Barn Swallow (1), and Cliff Swallow (1).
Other highlights included adult singles of Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, and Black-crowned Night-Heron. Among the 10 duck species we found a female Lesser Scaup and three Bufflehead. A complete absence of N. Pintail was quite a change from the 75+ present most of the winter, while Am. Wigeon numbers were down to four birds. Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, N. Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Duck were still found in good numbers.
A Virginia Rail and several Sora were heard, despite the blustery winds, but they remained hidden. Shorebirds were limited to Killdeer, Least Sandpiper, and Wilson's Snipe. Am. Pipits and Horned Larks were few in number, although we did have good looks at a half dozen Am. Pipits late in the morning at Moson Road. Sparrows were reluctant to pop up in the windy conditions; the seven expected species were seen in small numbers. Likewise, there were no big flocks of blackbirds, with Yellow-headed Blackbird in particular represented by only 100+ birds.
A reminder that the EOP walks will continue to start promptly at 8 a.m during the month of March. It is a good idea to be at the parking lot early, as the sign-in sheet is filled on a first come-first serve basis.