Date: 11/3/17 3:42 pm From: Thor Manson <thormanson...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] A couple days of birding: Pena Blanca Lake and Santa Gertrudis Lane
Hi Birders: On Wed, John Hirth and I headed down to Pena Blanca Lake for a little exploring; ( apologies for the late report ). The Upper Thumb Rock picnic area was pretty active for warblers in the early morning; Black throated Gray, Orange-crowned, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow rumped, and lots of Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Sparrows in the grassy area included: Lark, Vesper, Lincoln, White crowned and Rufous winged.
The trail around the west side of the lake yielded Rock Wren, Song and Lincoln Sparrows, Cassin's Kingbird, Canyon Towhee, and a female Gilded Flicker. We flushed a Great Horned Owl around the cove area.
We later quickly checked Santa Gertrudis Lane on the way home, and the best we could do was flushing another Great-Horned Owl just south of the gate on the De Anza Trail.
This morning I returned to Santa Gertrudis Lane, and along with perhaps 15 birders overall while I was there, saw the Rufous-backed Robin on multiple occasions, mostly in the Pyracantha Bush opposite the house marker no. 12, but also in a Cottonwood heading south towards the river. Others spotted the bird just south of the gate on the De Anza Trail skulking low in the bushes. In fact there are a pair of them in the area, as I was able to confirm when I saw them both clearly in a Cottonwood. Their pattern of behavior, if there is such a thing in this case, is to hide and feed in the Pyracantha bush, and then fly East towards the De Anza Trail south of the gate and hang out and hide in there!! Patience will usually yield decent views, and, if you're lucky you'll catch one or both in a more open tree going back and forth, which probably gives the best photo opportunity.
Other birds in the area that I saw included Northern Mockingbird, Verdin, Northern Cardinal, Red tailed Hawk, Chihuahuan and Common Raven, Vermillion Flycatcher, Bewick's Wren, Lincoln Sparrow, and Hermit Thrush. Cheers, Thor