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Harris’s Hawk in flight

This chap displaced a Red-tailed Hawk who was sunning himself on his telephone pole. Saw another Wilson’s warbler, and the small grey bird from yesterday, who has a streaky back. Also a Phainopepla dancing in the morning sun, catching flies.

The paloverdes are fading, the mesquites coming in to full bloom.

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Pink barrel cactus spines

Lots of birds this morning. The warbler I thought was the Yellow Warbler has a dull yellow green color except for a brighter yellow stripe above the eye, which gives the effect of a dark eye stripe below. And its call is a faster version of the Lucy’s Warbler, with a wispy whistle at the end. From the call it has to be an Orange-crowned Warbler. Saw the Townsend’s and the Wilson’s again. Also, in the big paloverde just down in the wash, three birds that were hard to get a good look at: yellow throat, dark cap, wide yellow wing bar [probably a Yellow-rumped Warbler]; chestnut throat, grey head; and a small grey bird with a slight crest, faint white strips above and below eye.

Also a Loggerhead Shrike posed on a dead tree branch, and a hummingbird catching an insect.

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Mesquite bloom

The warblers have arrived, feeding on the paloverdes. I saw a Townsend’s Warbler and a Yellow Warbler [no, Orange-crowned, see tomorrow’s entry] in the same tree on the west side of the wash, in full morning sun, showing off their markings (the Townsend’s has a bright yellow mask and breast, black eye patch with a yellow dot in the middle). Further down the wash in another paloverde a Wilson’s Warbler was feeding on the flowers, bright yellow with black cap.

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Ant nest

A meandering trail of yellow led from a paloverde tree about 20 ft away to this nest, where red ants about 1/4” long carried the petals down into the hole in the middle.

Solitary Vireo and an unidentified chickadee (white mask, black cap and bib) hopping around in a mesquite tree in the eastern channel, a Northern Mockingbird and an American Kestrel perched on cactuses on the west side as I came back down.

Some corrections: Mr. Draper (Abby’s Field Studies teacher) said that Swainson’s Hawks have a dark-faced phase, so that could have been the mystery hawk of a couple of weeks ago. The mottled back and brown mantle fit. And the rapid warble I thought might have come from an Orange-capped Warbler is just a variation on the song of the Lucy’s Warbler.

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Catclaw acacia flower

A kestrel sitting on a telephone pole (yesterday too). Also a flycatcher with an eye-ring, broader behind the eye than in front—possibly a Western Flycatcher.

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San Pedro river

We drove down to the San Pedro river for a field trip with Abby’s school. As we walked down to the river from the Marshall bridge, a Belted Kingfisher flew up and down the river. Warblers, gnatcatchers, and flycatchers were diving into the swarms of midges above the river. The Wilson’s Warblers were particularly spectacular, brilliant yellow with black caps, weaving in and out and fanning their tails. A gorgeous Summer Tanager flew in to the cottonwoods opposite. Also Black-throated Gray Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and various unidentified flycatchers. A Zone-tailed hawk, which Abby’s teacher explained was pretending to be a vulture, hovered above.

One of the boys spotted this Gila Monster from the train tracks as we retraced our steps back up the river. Close up, his skin looked like bead work.

Later we went to the San Pedro House, where flocks of White-crowned Sparrows watched us eat lunch, and Green-tailed Towhees hopped around feeding for the tourists (rusty red crest, white bib, yellow-green tail feathers). We walked to the beaver pond, seeing a  spectacular Vermilion Flycatcher in the fields on the way, and fat bullfrogs when we got there. A Black Phoebe was hunting insects by the side of the pond.

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Red-tailed hawk?

—the same one I’ve seen before.

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Budding prickly pear

Interesting the way it puts out all the spine spots first (I assume that’s what the red protrusions are).

Saw a pair of Ash-throated Flycatchers, confirmed by their call—they have broken silence and started mating. Also some glorious views of the Harris’s Hawk as it followed along from telephone pole to telephone pole.

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Flowering creosote

Saw the Costa’s humming bird in the same area on the west side, just south of the road; this must be his territory. All the Anna’s on the east side have their territory staked out, and sit each morning surveying it from the top of a tree.

Also saw a flycatcher, probably an Ash-throated Flycatcher, showing his brown rump feathers in the morning. The flycatchers don’t seem to be calling yet, so it’s hard to tell them apart. It was a clear, cool morning, and the doves were particularly fetching in the early morning sunlight. The White-winged Doves have a beautiful patch of grey around the bright pink eye.

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Mesquite flower

Saw a Harris’s haw fly by carrying its prey and sit on a telephone pole. After thinking about its size and distance, I’m inclined to think the bird I saw the other day was considerably larger, and so perhaps it was a Golden Eagle.

Also saw a Ladder-backed Woodpecker this morning, and Lucy’s Warbler flashing its brown rump feathers.

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