Date: 7/20/17 3:26 pm From: Richard Hoyer <birdernaturalist...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] Continuing Rarities in SE Arizona and lack of Willcox Water
I just finished five days of guiding here in SE Arizona, and with nothing new and exciting to report just wanted to comment on continuing rarities.
RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER – On 15 June we had one very cooperative singing bird in Florida Canyon about 100 m above the dam, very close to the trail (on the E side of the stream). It foraged for a while then disappeared around the bend upstream, so presumably that's where they are nesting. We met one birder who had heard it was seen near the big tank below the dam, so he was prepared to just sit and wait there rather than walk above the dam to find it, which might have been a bit disappointing.
BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER – Not a rarity any more, really (especially considering the Green Valley-Madera Canyon CBC had 26), but it is still very local and is outnumbered by the very similar Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. On 15 June we had one in the more open mesquite across the road from the lower corral (about halfway to Florida Canyon), as well as one or two above the dam in Florida Canyon. (There was a pair of Black-tailed on the trail up from the parking area though). We had another one in Montosa Canyon about halfway between the stream crossing and the culvert.
ROSE-THROATED BECARD – These birds are not easy. We found the nest with some luck and good descriptions of the site from previous posts here (and having been to the site before the nest was found in May), but there was no sign of the birds for at least 1 1/2 hours of waiting there, and they were not among the many birds that responded well to pishing and owl imitations. We went to dinner and came back with not much light to spare and finally saw the male in the trees across the river from the vantage point at 7:20 p.m. If they are incubating eggs, that might account for their infrequent appearance; one can hope they are feeding young soon, which would greatly increase one's chance of seeing them at the nest. Park personnel have removed all pink flagging, so it's not easy to find the spot. Using GPS, navigate to N31.57023° W111.04563°. If you stand about 2 arm lengths south of the tall cottonwood closest to the bank there (with small branches of the cottonwood low over your head), you can see a gap through the trees on the opposite bank and the nest is really obvious. Google Rose-throated Becard nest images to get a search image, and don't look to high. It's not visible from any other vantage point as far as I could tell.
TUFTED FLYCATCHERS – on 17 June we found one at Reef Townsite Campground in Carr Canyon, in the previously described location down the wash from campsite #9. It was mostly high in the smaller trees about 100 meters from the campsite, just before you break out into the small clearing with lots of dead trees. On 18 June we hiked into Ramsey Canyon from Ramsey Vista Campground and I heard one near the described nest area exactly 1/3 mile upstream from the Brown Canyon trail junction (I used my GPS). There is a cairn on the left side of the trail as you are hiking up.
FLAME-COLORED TANAGER – On 18 June we had the continuing singing male at the first stream crossing below the overlook at 11:15 a.m.; we sat down for lunch without any sign of it when it began singing rather high on the hillside to the north across from the trail, and it came and went a few times over the next 15 minutes. Since we wanted to hike in on a day that the TNC visitor center was closed we started at Ramsey Vista Campground in upper Carr Canyon. It's mostly downhill from there, but it is 3.75 miles one way to the Flame-colored Tanager spot. It's a very invigorating hike back to Ramsey Vista, taking me just under 1 1/2 hours of good cardio workout, but my client walked the mile or so down Ramsey through the visitor center, which is apparently permissable even on closed days. With nowhere to park, you still can't start your hike there or leave a car on days that the center it closed (Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
Slate-throated Redstart – On 19 June we made a good attempt for this bird which hasn't been seen since young fledged. We hiked up the draw about 1/3 mile, and we found a mixed flock that contained a singing Painted Redstart and a juvenile redstart that appeared to be pure Painted Redstart from the amount of white in the tail and wings, but I don't have much comparative material on hand. Anyone with museum access want to photograph tails of juv PARE and STRE specimens for me? It's possible that she is re-nesting, so it's certainly worth stopping and looking here if you're in the area. And if you find it, be sure to make the nest site public. The bird is obviously very tolerant of much human traffic, but birders looking for an undisclosed nest could very easily trample it in their own search if they don't know where it is.
Also yesterday, we confirmed the continued lack of water in Cochise Lake at the Willcox Sewage Ponds. Don't spend your money in Willcox, as the current city government obviously doesn't care much about birds or birders.