Date: 12/28/17 7:33 am From: Troy Corman <aplomado...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] CEAZ: Gila River CBC Highlights - 27 December
Yesterday's Gila River CBC just southwest of the greater Phoenix area was blessed with great weather and awesome Area leaders and teams. This was the 37th year for this rural, river valley and desert count which had never accomplished that magical 150 species on count day. Although over the years, we made it frustratingly close with 149 species on several occasions. I'm thrilled to announce that not only did we finally break our record, we blew it out of the water. If the many rarities are all sufficiently documented, the new record for the count will be 159 species, plus two count week birds!
Now for the highlights: The 20 species of ducks and geese, including a GREATER SCAUP and four geese species.The four grebe species including a HORNED. After missing them altogether last year, it was wonderful to have SANDHILL CRANES back in several areas. We managed to find 14 diurnal raptors, including a WHITE-TAILED KITE and a light-morph HARLAN'S and of the five owl species, a SHORT-EARED was the obvious star.
Notable passerines were many. Of the six species of flycatchers, the best was a HAMMOND'S and it was great weather for swallows, with four species including BARN and very casual in winter, VIOLET-GREEN. A calling AMERICAN CROW was seemingly out of place and a few RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES lingered at one of the few stands of Aleppo pines within the count circle. A GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET was a great find and highlights of the seven warbler species included YELLOW, CHESTNUT-SIDED, and a first count record of a TENNESSEE. And finally, of the 19 sparrow and towhee species, the best included a FOX (SLATE-COLORED) SPARROW, several SWAMP and a WHITE-THROATED.
I want to thank the 45 Area Leaders and team members for all the time and effort they provided for the count. It was such a success due to their thorough coverage, keen eyes and ears, and careful inspection of the many unique micro-habitats out there.