Nov. 7, 2017
While visiting my dad in Heber (Navajo Co.) this morning, besides resident forest species we had single WILLIAMSON’S and RED-NAPED SAPSUCKERS, 11 EVENING GROSBEAKS, 25+ CASSIN’S FINCHES, 6+ RED CROSSBILLS, and at least one flyover CEDAR WAXWING at the yard.
Late in the morning we drove up to Chevelon Crossing (Coconino Co.) northwest of Heber. Along the way on the Navajo Co. portion of Forest Rd. 504, we had 3 WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKERS, 3+ SAGE THRASHERS, a late-staying PHAINOPEPLA, and two CANYON TOWHEES. At Chevelon Crossing in Chevelon Canyon (Coconino Co.), highlights included a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL, single WILLIAMSON’S and RED-NAPED SAPSUCKERS, 2+ GOLDEN-CROWNED and 9+ RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS, five TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRES, a HERMIT THRUSH, dozens of bluebirds and several robins, four RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS, dozens of juncos, 8+ CASSIN’S FINCHES, and 19 PINE SISKINS.
Heading north we saw a herd of seven javelinas in pinyon-juniper woodland and then birded the riparian area of West Chevelon Canyon along the road at Mormon Crossing (Coconino Co.). Here we had a couple each of CANYON TOWHEES and RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS, along with similar species as earlier. Heading north towards Hwy. 99, the road gets rocky and rough once you leave the national forest land and pass through a patchwork of private and maybe other (state trust? BLM?) land.
Next we hit McHood Park at Clear Creek Reservoir southeast of Winslow (Navajo Co.) where highlights included a SNOW GOOSE, a decent assortment of waterfowl including a possible Gadwall x American Wigeon hybrid, three late migrant AMERICAN AVOCETS, and four RING-BILLED GULLS.
In Winslow we checked the La Posada Hotel gardens, which seem like they should attract something interesting, but this windy afternoon just had a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, a few YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, and a couple of DARK-EYED JUNCOS.
Driving past Cholla Lake (power plant cooling ponds) near Joseph City on I-40 (Navajo Co.) I spotted at least four AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS and 15-20 cormorant spp.
Our last stop of the day was the wastewater ponds, agricultural fields, abandoned tree farm, and reservoir around Hidden Cove Golf Course near Holbrook (Navajo Co.). *Note that the area north of the golf course is currently accessed by permission only (call the City of Holbrook or ask at the golf course club house). The reservoir north of the golf course had ~2,700 waterfowl, highlights including five RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS and four WESTERN GREBES. At sunset a couple of CRISSAL THRASHERS were calling nearby. One of the Russian-olives in the tree grove had a lot of fruit, but the only bird at that time visiting them was a NORTHERN FLICKER. We ended the day watching a gorgeous sunset while listening to the amusing calls of the hundreds of ducks nearby.