Date: 11/18/17 6:23 pm
From: trose <trose...>
Subject: [AZNMbirds] SEAZ Tucson More Red Crossbills South Lawn Cemetery
November 18, 2017
Tucson - South Lawn Cemetery (Park Ave. S of Irvington Rd.)

[side note to begin with - darnit, I forgot to keep the info about the
person that wanted Red Crossbill recordings - I have a camera movie
clip, not the greatest, but it shows two male birds in a vocal face-off
that ended in a tussle. Not sure how useful it would be for
identification since the vocalizations are not flight calls per se, with
the aggressor(?) calling a clear kyerp-kyerp-kyerp and the
subordinate(?) a constant answering barrage of squeaky twit-twit-twit
notes, but I'd like to get the movie to the person anyway. If someone
could please forward me the contact info, I would be grateful.]

Anyway, this morning I decided to try one of John Higgin's haunts and
headed to the South Lawn Cemetery in south Tucson, specifically to see
if I could find any RED CROSSBILLS, since the location has lots of *big*
pine trees, and it just seemed like a great place to check.

Yep! Found some! Wasn't having much luck (although plenty of other birds
to see) until 10:30am when a small flock arrived from the north, from
outside the cemetery, briefly calling "kip kip kip" as they flew, which
clued me in. Small flock, at least eight (might have been nine or ten -
they came in behind me at first, so I only got a brief look at them in
flight initially, before they entered a tree).

Spent a fun time watching these guys work several big trees while I was
there. Other than two very brief sets of flight calls as they switched
trees, and a few very quiet contact twitters and kips, they were pretty
darned silent, with only the teeny tiny crackling sounds of pine seeds
shucking to give them away. As others have mentioned, these guys are
surprisingly hard to spot up in the trees, even when you know they're
there! Got some reasonably good photos anyway (which I will include in
an eBird list tomorrow).

Also garnered a nice "field clue" to help locate birds - whenever they
were high in a tree, even when I couldn't spot any, a steady little
"rain" of papery tan pine seed husks would waft down on the light
breeze, like tiny golden moths fluttering in the sunlight. At one point,
while watching something else, I accidentally ended up directly under a
tree with the Crossbills in it, which resulted in a fair bit of debris
(seed husks and pine needles) falling through the sunroof of my car. Ergh.

Also seen and heard: a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH (got one poor photo).
Scanned through scads of House Finches and White-crowned Sparrows to see
if there was anything else hanging around with them. Only thing I got
was a PINE SISKIN calling (certain), which I hoped to get a photo of,
but no luck on actually seeing it well - only got one brief look of its
silhouette as it finally flew away, calling. Also, unseen, either a
Plumbeous or Cassin's Vireo calling for a half a minute. Couldn't
relocate it after that to peg it down.

Tonya Holland
Three Points AZ

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