Date: 1/30/18 1:27 pm
From: Larry <oldbirdbum...>

Today I tried a different take on the morning lift-off and positioned myself on Tiffany Loop just south of Twin Peaks Road and opposite the Erie Gravel Pit. This viewpoint is unobstructed to the south and more than a mile north of the Orange Grove Pit. I thought it might be about where the murmuration patterns really get moving, and I was right. The flocks are formed up and fly right over the Erie Pit at a low enough elevation to hear the birds passing. Seven murmurations in all between 0710 and 0720. An estimated 28,700 birds in only 10 minutes. The largest murmuration was overhead at 0715 and comprised an estimated 12,000 birds and maybe a half mile long.

After that I drove fast northwest on I-10. I could see the last large flock settling down in the ag lands near the county line. I drove on to Red Rocks Feedlot and during 35 minutes of circling that scenic wonder I came up with only 1 female Ruddy Ground Dove in the 100 or so MODOs. Later, back in the Marana ag lands near Luckett and Marana roads, I saw a FERRUGINOUS HAWK being harassed by a Common Raven after the hawk had swooped down on (or by) the raven. The hawk really did not mind the raven protest and perched nearby, probably to go back for the prey item.

Larry Norris - Tucson

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