Date: 1/13/18 7:39 pm From: Sharon Goldwasser <azfiddle...> Subject: [AZNMbirds] SE AZ: Sulphur Springs Valley
Chuck and I took a group of 5 kids from Desert Sky Middle School down to Willcox and Whitewater Draw today- the first birding trip for all of them.
A few highlights: I glimpsed the Eurasian Wigeon at Lake Cochise (Twin Lakes Golf Course) but couldn’t re-find it for anyone else- there were about 400 or 500 American Wigeon on the golf course, somewhat distant, and moving around a lot. The kids got great looks at a lot of the birds though, including two Snow Geese and a nice male Bufflehead on the big lake.
We only saw a few Ferruginous Hawks today as we drove south, one near Kansas Settlement, and 2 or 3 more in the Elfrida area, but a great view of one on a phone pole was a big hit with the kids. No falcons except for American Kestrels.
At Whitewater Draw, in addition to the big draw (thousands of cranes) and close up views of ducks (Pintail and Green-winged Teal were also kid favorites), we had one Barn Swallow, lots of Snow Geese, Greater Yellowlegs and probably a dozen Least Sandpipers, and a group of Long-billed Dowitchers. I didn’t see Dunlin or Stilt Sandpipers, but with the kids in tow, we had to spend our time focusing on getting them good looks at big, colorful, active or close up birds- like a perched Northern Harrier that filled the scope.
The kids were excited to have a couple of species to add to the big checklist board at the Wings Over Willcox expo (the Barn Swallow and the Bufflehead weren’t listed).
I recommend a trip with enthusiastic neophytes- it’s a good reminder why a lot of us love looking at birds! They may not stick with it, but nature makes a long-lasting impression.