Date: 8/1/17 8:31 am From: kathy <chswift...> Subject: Re: [AZNMbirds] SEAZ: Tucson Migration morning flight 29-31 July 2017
Another place is the Anza trail at elephant head road. There are lots of birds headed south there in the morning but they are often flying between or just above the widely spaced mesquite trees and so it's hard to follow them. I thought they were mostly blackbirds in flocks of 20-40 but a better birder than I could probably parse them more accurately. I even saw a large flock of greater white-fronted geese once.
The subject of 'morning flight' is fascinating. I love this discussion. Us eastern birders (I live in Massachusetts) can often see and hear hundreds/thousands of migrants if the day and location are right. It is encouraging also this phenomenon is being detected in the west. I am looking forward to other reports this fall as more folks are interested!
I will note on a couple of my birding trips to SE AZ that I detected a fair bit of morning flight. I hope some other folks might chime in and maybe try the locations where I have had success:
1) Mt. Hopkins road, at the observatory gate. (around the 13km post). There is an open area up here where when facing south, Josephine Canyon is on the left, and Montosa Canyon is on the right. I had a good spring day when migrants were selecting which of these canyons they'd use for the day. I suspect this spot would be very, very good in the fall, and perhaps spectacular in the event of a little fog or rain. The eBird checklist is here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S29375435
2) Proctor Road, Madera Canyon. Rather surprisingly (to me) one late April morning at Proctor Road produced a big flight of sparrows, tanagers, and orioles coming up the creek bed from the desert. I had the feeling the birds were out over the desert when the sun came up and flew uphill to the water and deciduous trees they could see in Madera Canyon. This flight included several hundred Lark and Chipping Sparrows, and also a dozen or so tanagers, grosbeaks, and orioles. I suspect monitoring this area could be useful in the future, too.
I imagine there are other spots, and perhaps more productive spots, than the ones I've listed here. I'd love to get out this fall and poke around for more productive locations to observe this phenomenon!