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Yet another SE AZ trip; thoughts welcome

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Old Wednesday 31st October 2018, 04:13   #1
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Yet another SE AZ trip; thoughts welcome

We're down to hunting nemeses, and pending any additions to the target list, we'll be shooting for three birds in mid February 2019.

LeConte's Thrasher
Lawrence's Goldfinch
Olive Warbler

We're looking at flying into Phoenix and hitting what's described on ebird as 'the thrasher spot,' East of PHX near Wintersburg, for the LeConte's.

Thinking to stay 2 nights, and drive an hour or so North to Wickenburg Meadow for the Goldfinch.

Then pull up stakes and spend a couple of nights in the mtns East of the city in the Globe/Claypool area for the Warbler.

Any thoughts on that plan are welcome, like "perfect plan, Dave," or, "you dope, you could sit on a bench at 34th and Vine and see all those;" anything like that.
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Old Monday 19th November 2018, 05:38   #2
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I'm currently near PHX ....... Lawrence's Goldfinch is nomadic so it's best to go to a spot where they have been recently seen; it was a bogey bird for me for a long time.... Olive warbler is territorial in the breeding season, I think LeConte's Thrasher is too if I recall, so if you are using calls you have a very good shot at good views of those two if they are around (not sure if Feb is considered the breeding season though). Olive warbler also responds to western screech.
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Old Thursday 22nd November 2018, 15:29   #3
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Earlier this year, my wife and I waffled between the choice of Phoenix birding or northern Minnesota. Eventually, despite the low species count and the extreme cold expected, Duluth and Sax-Zim bog won out. The difference was that we only had time for a one week trip and we wanted more time for the western trip.

The attraction to Phoenix was the LeConte's Thrasher that we've searched for in several states and a couple of other targets, Gray Flycatcher being another we've managed to miss. Sorting through eBird and some trip reports, February should be the beginning of the breeding season for LeConte's, meaning singing birds in known locations. EBird data shows in February, for the past three years, the Thrasher has been seen at Baseline Road and Salome Highway, with a couple of alternate locations nearby. I don't see any Wintersburg sightings for that time period.
I didn't research Olive Warbler or Lawrence's Goldfinch since we saw both of them this past year, the Warbler in Arizona (Barfoot Campground) and the Goldfinch in California (See California trip report, Post 12 https://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=356035).

A byproduct of searching for other "worthwhile" species in the area turned up recent Ruddy Ground-Dove sightings near Picacho Peak State Park southeast of Phoenix. One report from 2017, the birder saw a Rufous-backed Robin and the Ruddy Ground-Dove in one 33 minute visit! Worth a short drive, for those of us hunting ABA nemesis birds.

Currently, we're focused on a December trip to central Florida and buying clothing for below zero daytime high temps. Our conversation varies between lined coveralls and swimming with the manatees!

Steve
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Old Thursday 29th November 2018, 00:45   #4
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Sax Zim was a great experience for us! We whiffed on Spruce Grouse, but got 6 other targets up there (Sharp-tailed, Evening Grosbeak, Boreal Chickadee, Black-backed WP, Snow Bunting, and, after three tries, finally, the Great Gray Owl!), plus an unexpected bonus-- a Gyrfalcon. Our flight barely made it out in a snowstorm, but all went well for a 5-day trip. Good luck!
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Old Saturday 1st December 2018, 12:29   #5
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We're looking forward to birding the Bog but have some anxieties about the cold and traveling in the extreme winter weather. Also, I'm wondering how one finds a pimple sized shutter button with two pairs of gloves on?! Should be an adventure...

Re Arizona, since we seem to be straying, through eBird research, I also noted the possibility of Sprague's Pipit near Picacho SP, though not reported this past February. And, there's always the ABA countable Rosy-faced Lovebird within the city limits. Some day, we may replicate your trip so hopefully, you will report on your success there.
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Old Monday 3rd December 2018, 16:23   #6
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We already have the Sprague's. And if Peach-faced Lovebird (Sibley can call it Rosy if he wants!) is countable, then I MUST chase that one! I have two of them living in my kitchen for the past 5 years, but if I can count them officially, I'm all for it.



As for the cold in Sax-Zim, don't agonize over it. It's not like Antarctica or anything. I brought layers I didn't even wear. My daily suit was flannel-lined jeans, polypro long-john shirt, wool sweater, and heavy insulated carhartt jacket, and a fleece hat. Any decent pair of gloves was fine. I used to winter-camp a lot, where you worry about it more cz you're outside 24 hrs a day, but you'll be near your car all the time at the bog, so a heater is never far away.


oh, and p.s.: I wouldn't trust the warmth of my toes to anything but a good pair of Sorels. Too big to pack, we just clumped onboard the plane with them.

Last edited by Barr Tender : Monday 3rd December 2018 at 19:44. Reason: add info
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Old Thursday 21st February 2019, 02:28   #7
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We had tremendous luck on this trip! At this point, as Deb told me recently, every bird we can tick at this point will be one at a time. But-- that said, with tons of research of recent sightings on ebird, we went down with a target list of the original 3 mentioned above, and a total of 14 (the more ya read, the more ya gotta chase).

We got 2 of the 3, and 10 of the 14 (9 for me, I already had one).

The ones we got were:

Rosy-faced Lovebird
Ruddy Ground Dove
Sagebrush Sparrow
LeConte's Thrasher! YES!
Monk Parakeet
Rufous-winged Sparrow
White-throated Thrush
Black-capped Gnatcatcher!
Lawrence's Goldfinch! YES!
Violet-crowned Hummingbird

We whiffed on our third nemesis, the Olive Warbler, as well as N Beardless Tyrannulet, Rose-throated Becard, and American Bittern, but we were pretty darned satisfied with the results we got in 3 days of birding. Guess we're just gonna have to go back....!
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Old Saturday 23rd February 2019, 19:26   #8
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Nice to read your latest additions. Can you be more specific about locations for the Love bird (Phoenix?), Ruddy Ground-Dove (Picacho Park?) and LeConte's Thrasher? I heard about the White-throated Thrush being seen but finding the elusive Goldfinch was probably equally as exciting.
Any sort of trip report coming? I'll get something out about our Sax-Zim Bog trip when I get over the flu, certainly acquired during our travels.

Steve
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Old Sunday 24th February 2019, 00:37   #9
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Wasn't really planning to write a formal trip report, so here, by your request, are the cliff's notes!

When I checked ebird for species for this trip, I always narrowed the calendar to this year only. As it's only Feb, that eliminated all but month-old sightings. There are still scads of hotspots for Lovebird. How i picked ours was to find a route from the PHX airport to Tonopah (where we were staying for the trip's #1 nemesis/target, the LeConte's Thrasher), and find a supermarket and a Lovebird hotspot that were on the way. Turns out, the one I picked (Encanto Park) also had a report and photos on the Arizona birding Facebook page of 14 birds from quite recently. And we were lucky. Pulled in, parked, walked 50 feet, and saw six of them.

It was news to us (from ebird, again), but the most reliable spot for LeConte's is "The Thrasher Spot," (Salome Hwy and Baseline Rd). First day, rain and cold kept the birds hunkered down, but we got 'em the following morning.

The Ruddies were almost right around the corner, if you will. Again, check the most recent ebird sightings only. We saw 8 or so along Hazen rd, between Turner and 271st. In fact, we went the night before and scattered seed on the shoulder across from the mailboxes at 271st, and sure enough....

Monk Parakeet is nest-building right at the entrance to the shopping center in Gilbert. Can't miss 'em.

Rufous winged Sparrow has hotspots all around Tucson, but is highly elusive. We went to Kennedy Park, just W of where I10 and I19 converge. Not near the park part, but the scrubby mesquite part by the golf course is where we saw 2.

Lawrence's Goldfinch is highly nomadic, so you almost have to check day-by day, but we saw a nice flock at Canoa Ranch. Whiffed on the Rose-throated Becard, but there are some around Tubac, apparently. Yes on the Violet-crowned at the Paton Center in Patagonia.

Hope that helps.
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Old Sunday 24th February 2019, 23:38   #10
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I thought the exotics might be a "drive-up". Too bad you had to get out of the car!
Good to know those eBird reports worked for the Thrasher. I thought this location looked best. We've gone for this species unsuccessfully a couple of times as well but in different states.
Throwing seed on the ground was a good move. I didn't think the Ground-Dove be that easy to locate... and so convenient!
In planning our trips several months ahead, I can only go by years past but once we're in general vicinity, I get signed into alerts and hope for the best.

Sounds like a great trip to get though the winter season. Maybe next year we'll come up with the February vacation time to do Phoenix.

Thanks for the report -

Steve
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 19:41   #11
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When I planned this trip months in advance, it was for 2 nights Tonopah (including a chase N to Wickenburg Meadows for the Lawrence's) and 2 nights in Globe, for the Olive.

Time passed, and Globe totally looked like Not-the-place, while Tucson had the recent sightings. So we cancelled Globe and booked a bnb in Tucson.

THEN, with all the hub-bub around Madera Canyon about the White-throated, the black capped gnatcatcher, and others (including the Olive), once again, I cancelled and re-booked, this time for a room in Green Valley, which is right around the corner from Madera, as well as the more recently reliable data on the Lawrence's).

After so many trips in the past of booking something "roughly nearby," and then getting up way to early to drive way too far, I'm learning to adapt!
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