Date: 7/26/17 4:28 pm From: Brian Gibbons <thehornedguan...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] East Tucson Fall Migration Morning Flight
Over the last few years I have detected a reliable early fall morning flight from my house in Southeast Tucson (Southeast of Escalante and Houghton). Mid-July through August has the largest numbers of birds with some movement continuing into October.
I have been seeing 50-100 migrants per morning in the last couple of weeks, on a good day at the peak in mid-August I have seen nearly 300 birds in a couple of hours.
I am trying to figure out the genesis of this flight. Along with a few friends that have witnessed this phenomenon we deduced that birds are probably crossing through Reddington Pass, and then moving west or southwest when they encounter Tanque Verde Ridge which run West Southwest from the Rincon Mountains as they clear this they head south over the east edge of town.
I would love to have other folks watch from their east side homes or from selected spots in or around Saguaro National Park East. IF the Ridge is a major influencer I would think Golf Links on the north side, Valencia on the south side and between Houghton and Old Spanish Trail would be a key area for home owners to watch the sky. I also think that Javelina Rocks in Saguaro National Park could be an excellent lookout.
What the flight looks like from my house. Birds are generally quite low, many easily seen naked eye and heard, often just above house and treetops. From my vantage they are almost always headed straight south. So far this fall I have detected Western Kingbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Phainopeplas, Lark Sparrows, Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Bullock's Oriole (high count of 22 on 21 July), and today I added my first Lark Buntings of the year, a flock of 8 headed West! Lark Buntings are the species that I have watched head in all compass directions this time of year. Usually by 8 a.m. the flight is diminishing.
I hope some folks are intrigued by this migration observation and I encourage them to post a short summary of migrants seen, I will try to do this and all my checklists are in eBird for this fall and most of last year.