North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO2 2016

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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Page 102 of 139

V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R 2 277 A R I Z O N A no fewer than 12 Winter Wrens, were reported during the winter statewide; while numbers vary a bit from season to season, it has become abundantly clear that Pacific and Winter Wrens are both rare, regular winter visitors to the state. Amazingly, the Sinaloa Wren at Tubac continued all winter (m.ob.), and the one in Huachuca Canyon turned up again 3 Feb+ (ph. DB). Small numbers of Golden-crowned Kinglets were seen in lowland loca - tions around s. Arizona beginning by the end of Nov. An apparent mini-in - vasion of Eastern Bluebirds occurred, with 4 at Tucson Country Club 14 Dec (DS; ph. R. Carlson), up to 6 at nearby Fort Lowell Park, Tucson 31 Dec–26 Jan (MP, MMS; ph. J. Medina), and 3 in the Santa Catalina Mountains along Syca - more Trail 13-26 Feb (ph. PS); the breeding "Mexican" subspecies in Arizona is thought to be resident, and these birds were believed to have been from the "eastern" population. A Townsend's Solitaire was at Bill Williams River N.W.R. 29 Dec (DVP, K. Cocks), and possibly a second bird was at a different location in Bill Williams River N.W.R. 7 Jan (K. Blair); this species is casual in low-elevation riparian ar - eas in Arizona during the winter. Six Rufous- backed Robins were found across s. Arizona, including at unusual locations for this species, such as at Parker, Ajo, Camp Verde, and Sun - flower; although this species is considered rare but regular in the state during winter, 6 in one season is a good number. Similarly, 8 Varied Thrushes and 5 Gray Catbirds were found this winter statewide. Up to 6 Sprague's Pipits were discovered in fields in the Santa Cruz Flats nw. of Tucson 10 Jan–28 Feb (M. Ochs; ph. DPe; A. Krogstad, KR, CR et al.); although this spe - cies is a rare regular winter resident in grass- land habitat in se. Arizona, it has not been reported in this area in many years. Another species that might be a good indi - cator of the effects of warmer winters is Olive Warbler, which mostly pulls out of Arizona and winters in the mountains of Mexico; this winter, more than usual were reported in s. Arizona, suggesting a northward shift to the winter distribution. The 2 Lapland Longspurs that were found at Babbitt Tank w. of Flagstaff during the fall were still present 1 Dec (ph. S. Hough), and up to 3 were near Buckeye 19 Dec–19 Jan (ph. C. Strand); sightings of this species have increased in recent years, so much so that it has been removed as a review species by the A.B.C. McCown's Longspurs were found at a number of unusual locations away from the se. portion of the state, where they are regular; 2-3 were near sw. Phoenix 18 eyed Vireo was at Portal 21-26 Dec (D. Jas - per, E. Moisan; fide REW). No fewer than 8 Bell's Vireos were reported during the season, with some clearly overwintering individuals, while others appeared in mid-Feb as singing territorial males; this appears to be yet another example of a species that normally winters far - ther south, and typically arrives in the spring during Mar, possibly changing status and distribution. Of course, more information is needed. This winter brought more clarity re - garding the winter distribution of Gray Vireo in sw. Arizona, with additional reports from areas such as South Mountain Park near Phoe - nix, White Tank Mountain Park, mountains near Ajo, and the Gila Mountains. An appar - ent out-of-range individual was in the Tucson Mountains 11 Jan–8 Feb (ph. S. Birky). Two Hutton's Vireos were at Bill Williams River N.W.R. 29 Dec (DVP, K. Cocks), where the species is casual during winter. American Crows were seen at a number of odd locations this winter, including one at Tucson 1 Dec (RF), at least 20 at Fort McDow - ell Indian Reservation 13 Dec (KR, CR), one calling at Granite Reef along the Salt River 4 Jan (T. Marquardt), and one at Sierra Vista 10 Jan (ph. DB). Up to 60 Tree Swallows were present at Coachline Gravel Pit pond in Ma - rana between 26 Dec and 26 Jan (MMS, MP et al.); elsewhere, there were scattered individu - als around s. Arizona during the same period. More unusual were up to 8 Bank Swallows at Coachline Gravel Pit beginning 24 Dec–27 Feb (DS; ph. AC et al.), and 2 at Buckeye 24 Jan (C. Strand); during Dec and Jan, this spe - cies is casual at best. A Cliff Swallow at Coach- line 18 Jan (WR) was very early as a migrant in s. Arizona. Also casual during winter, Barn Swallows were reported from Cibola N.W.R. 31 Dec (A. Greenwood) and near Laguna Dam 3 Jan (LHa et al.). About 7 Pacific Wrens, and another was located at Buckeye 26 Jan–20 Feb (C. Strand; ph. B. Buck); Greater Pewee is casual in the state at best in winter away from the southeast. A Least Fly - catcher was well described from along Sonoita Creek near Pata - gonia 23 Jan (†S. G. Mlodinow); if accepted by the A.B.C., this would represent about a tenth record for Arizona. Observers are still encouraged to document out-of-range Empidonax reports with photographs, audio record - ings, and detailed descriptions. Several Hammond's Flycatchers were reported during the win - ter n. and w. of typical areas of occurrence in Arizona, with the northernmost report at Oak Creek Canyon 13 Dec (V. Nelson); this species is a regular winter resident in extreme s. Arizona but more casual anywhere n. of the Tucson region. The status of Dusky Flycatcher is similarly regu - lar in extreme se. Arizona in winter and ca- sual elsewhere, so several seen in mid-Dec and early Jan in the Phoenix area and points n. were of interest. No Fewer than 9 Pacific- slope/Cordilleran Flycatchers, some calling, some silent, were found during the winter in s. Arizona; this is a higher number than normal (for a winter), and, along with the other Empidonax species, may be indicative of changing climate patterns allowing birds to linger or winter farther n. in the state. Five Eastern Phoebes were found across s. Arizona during the winter, about normal numbers for this rare but regular wintering species in the state. Vermilion Flycatchers were also found a bit n. of usual areas in the state (Sedona and Verde Valley areas), but more amazing was a high count of 387 seen on the Tucson Valley C.B.C. 14 Dec (fide R. Hoyer). This record count is another indication that some species are wintering farther n. than usual. One of the more incredible birds of the season was an apparent Couch's Kingbird (awaiting review by the A.B.C.) at the Texas Canyon Rest Area along I-10 e. of Benson 23-25 Jan (ph., † B. Zimmer, B. Mulrooney; †LH; ph. A. Ripley); if accepted, this would represent only a second record for Arizona. In the category of one of the oddest reports of the season, an imm. male Rose-throated Becard was discovered at Chir - icahua N.M. 20 Jan (ph. PS); this species has not been documented breeding in the state for many years, and there are only a handful of winter records from Arizona. A Northern Shrike, casual in the state dur - ing the winter, was at Mormon Lake 15-20 Dec (JC). Very unusual for winter, a White- This Glaucous-winged Gull at Katherine Landing, Lake Mohave 18 January 2015 marks the eighth Arizona record. Photograph by David vander Pluym.

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