Date: 8/11/17 12:56 am From: Eric Hough <thebirdwhisperer22...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] CEAZ: Yavapai Co. 67+ Cassin's Sparrows (8/7/17)
Sorry for the belated post, but here’s a quick recap of birding around Yavapai County that Felipe Guerrero and I did on Monday, August 7, 2017. After finding the GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS at Peeples Valley that I previously reported to the listserve and Felipe met up with me there, we decided to check other grassland areas in the county that he had not yet checked for Cassin’s Sparrows during this summer’s apparent irruption. Altogether we had a minimum of 67 singing male CASSIN’S SPARROWS, with 49 in the valley west of the Weaver Mountains and north of the Date Creek Mountains (apparently called Sunflower Flat) and smaller numbers around Skull Valley and between Peeples Valley and Kirkland Junction areas. The highest densities were in desertscrub-grassland mixtures with grasses, broom snakeweed, and catclaw acacia being dominant. Of course this is only a minimum number of singing males, so it is unknown how many females might have been present. Previous breeding activity in Yavapai County may also suggest local breeding populations rather than simply occurring from an irruption, although the presence of this species further north in the state suggests that numbers might be inflated at least in the area this summer due to an irruption.
Other highlights included a molting male LARK BUNTING along Hwy. 15 near Hillside, a couple of BARN and WESTERN SCREECH-OWLS throughout the day, ZONE-TAILED and SWAINSON’S HAWKS, and migrant WILLOW and GRAY FLYCATCHERS, WARBLING VIREOS, a lingering LUCY’S WARBLER, a WILSON’S WARBLER, and LAZULI BUNTINGS.