24 April, 2014

14 April, 2014

Painted Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina ciris

Range / Habitat: Wooded areas in otherwise open habitat. Winters in southern Mexico, including Yucatan, Central America, some Caribbean islands, and the southern tip of Florida. Summers in northern Mexico, Texarkana, and the southeastern coast of United States.

Field Notes: Typical bunting size, shape and bill. Males are unmistakable in range with blue head and neck, rufous chest and belly, yellow and green on the back. Females, as above, are distinctly green to the back and head, yellow to the breast, pale eye ring. Other female buntings are clearly grey or brown in colour.

Personal Notes: A new species for us in El Rey ruins of Cancun, Mexico.

Blue Grosbeak

Scientific Name: Passerina caerulea

Range / Habitat: Found in forest edge, costal scrub, second growth and similar. Winters in southern Mexico, including Yucatan, down through Central American, and many Caribbean islands. Summers in northern Mexico and southern US.

Field Notes: Large, bright blue passerine with an enormous slate-colored bill and chestnut wing bars. Indigo Bunting much smaller overall and smaller bill.

Personal Notes: We captured the essential parts for identification in this photo from El Rey ruins in Cancun, Mexico.

Lesser Greenlet

Scientific Name: Hylophilus decurtatus

Range / Habitat: Year-round in humid forest of southern Mexico, including Yucatan, Central American and just barely into northwestern South America.

Field Notes: Small passerine, with pale yellow underparts, olive wings and back, grey head. Compared to similarly-sized passerines, large head with stubby tail. As with all greenlets, sexes are similar.

Personal Notes: We had previously seen, but not photographed, this bird in Costa Rica. We came across it again in Cancun, Mexico where Richard persevered in both the photo and the identification.

03 March, 2014

Limpkin

Scientific Name: Aramus guarauna

Range / Habitat: Year-round resident in swamp / marsh areas of Florida, the Caribbean, southern Mexico, Central America, and most of South America.

Field Notes: Large wader, overall brown with large white spots to back, neck and head, giving speckled appearance. Long, thick, slightly decurved yellow bill.

Personal Notes: Highlight of our trip to Disney World, found on an abandoned island in Bay Lake, which used to be the Disney Zoo, in the pouring rain.

03 February, 2014

Canyon Wren

Scientific Name: Catherpes mexicanus

Range / Habitat: Year-round in arid canyonlands of western North America and Mexico.

Field Notes: Medium-sized wren with rufous back, tail and belly but white throat. Long decurved bill and no eyestripe. Song a series of cascading notes.

Personal Notes: We had been searching for this bird a long time before finding him in Joshua Tree National Park.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Picoides scalaris

Range / Habitat: Year-round in arid, desert areas of southwestern US and northern Mexico where it forages and nests in cacti.

Field Notes: Small black and white woodpecker with barring complete across its back and spotting on chest. Males with red crown. Downy Woodpecker with smaller bill length relative to head, white stripe down back and clear underparts.

Personal Notes: Seen in Joshua Tree National Park.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Scientific Name: Vermivora celata

Population Estimate: Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in shrubs and low vegetation. Breeds in Canada, Alaska and the western US. Winters in the southern US and Mexico.

Field Notes: Dusky olive-yellow warbler with yellow under tail. Breeding male has orange crown.

Personal Notes: Richard took this amazing photo at the Salton Sea.

Least Sandpiper

Scientific Name: Calidris minutilla

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Breed in wet tundra and interrupted boreal forest across much of northern Canada and Alaska. In winter found along muddy shores and estuaries of the southern US, Mexico, and northern South America. They are not common on ocean beaches.

Field Notes: Smallest of the "peeps," not much bigger than a sparrow. They have a brown back and head with white eyestripe. White underneath with subtle neck striping. Distinctive yellow-green legs and a high-pitched "creep" call. Semipalmated Sandpipers and Western Sandpipers are slightly larger with stouter bills and black legs instead of the Least Sandpiper’s yellowish legs.

Personal Notes: A common sight, but hard to photograph, on the Salton Sea in California. Shown above with a Dunlin in the middle of the photo.

Black Phoebe

Scientific Name: Sayornis nigricans

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round near water sources in coastal California, Mexico, Central America and into South America.

Field Notes: Sooty black flycatchers with white belly. Eastern Phoebe only overlaps in range in winter in Mexico, but has pale neck and chest.

Personal Notes: Richard first spotted this bird from the car near Palm Springs. We were later rewarded with photos at Salton Sea.

01 February, 2014

California Thrasher

Scientific Name: Toxostoma redivivum

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year- round in chaparral of California and Baja California.

Field Notes: Large, long-tailed songbird. Overall brown with faint white eyebrow and "whiskers". Long, decurved bill. Crissal Thrasher has little overlap, darker and grayer all over, has a black mustache stripe, light eyes, and reddish under the tail. Le Conte's Thrasher is paler sandy gray, with the pale belly contrasting with the wash of rusty under the tail. Curve-billed Thrasher also with little overlapping range, but has spotting on the chest and orange eyes.

Personal Notes: Our last spot at dusk in Big Morongo Preserve outside Joshua Tree National Park.

Scott's Oriole

Scientific Name: Icterus parisorum

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in arid and semi-arid foothills and canyons with open woodland. Summers up to southwestern US, year-round in central Mexico and Baja.

Field Notes: Medium-sized songbird, male brilliant yellow and black, unmistakable in range. Female with light grey head and back, overall duller.

Personal Notes: Chance finding on our first drive-through of Joshua Tree National Park.


Lesser Goldfinch

Scientific Name: Carduelis psaltria

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status.

Range / Habitat: Year-round in scrubby oak, cottonwood, and willow habitats of the western US and Mexico.

Field Notes: Males bright yellow underneath with a glossy black cap and back Wings black with white patches. Tail black with large white corners. Females and immature males overall olive-yellow, wings darker with two whitish wing bars. American Goldfinch breeding male brighter yellow both above and below, black cap not complete. Non-breeding adult American Goldfinch more grey, more boldly patterned black and white wings, and pink bills.

Personal Notes: Seen at Barker Dam in Joshua Tree National Park.

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Scientific Name: Polioptila melanura

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in a variety of desert habitats in the desert southwest of the US and into northern Mexico.

Field Notes: Long-tailed small songbird with grey-brown upper parts, lighter underparts, black tail and white eye ring. Similar to the Blue-grey Gnatcatcher, but breast colored greyish not white, less distinct eye ring, black bill, and more black to underside of tail.

Personal Notes: Charming little pair of birds seen at 49 Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park.

Bushtit

Scientific Name: Psaltriparus minimus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in shrubs and thickets of western North America into northern Mexico.

Field Notes: Plain brown-and-gray songbirds with a long tail. Often in flocks, moving continuously and making soft chips and twitters

Personal Notes: First seen at Petrified Forest NP, later photographed at Joshua Tree NP.

08 January, 2014

Canyon Towhee

Scientific Name: Pyrgisoma fuscum

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in rocky, arid scrubland of the southwestern US and Mexico.

Field Notes: Large, long-tailed sparrow frequently found on ground, particularly in parking lots picking bugs off of cars. All brown with rufous cap and under tail.

Personal Notes: Our last Arizona bird, found just before leaving Sedona after hiking Bear Mountain.

Juniper Titmouse

Scientific Name: Baeolophus ridgwayi

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in pinyon-juniper woodlands of the Great Basin / southwestern US.

Field Notes: Small, all-grey bird with small tuft to the head and beady black eye.

Personal Notes: Amazing photo by Richard in Arizona.

Costa's Hummingbird

Scientific Name: Calypte costae

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in desert and arid areas of the Baja Peninsula of Mexico, extending inland and up into southwestern US in summer.

Field Notes: Green upper parts and grey underparts. Male with iridescent violet face and gorget, which can appear black in places. Small, straight bill.

Personal Notes: Seen at the Sonora Desert Museum aviary.

Anna's Hummingbird

Scientific Name: Calypte anna

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in wooded, savannah, and urban areas along the Pacific coast of the US and extending into the southwestern US. In summer will extend up into Canada.

Field Notes: Green upper parts and grey underparts. Males with iridescent pink head and throat. Females overall duller, with few reddish feathers at throat as above. Short, straight bill. Costa's Hummingbird similar with range overlap but males with purple gorget, not pink.

Personal Notes: First spotted in urban Seattle and then later photographed in California.


Harris's Hawk

Scientific Name: Parabuteo unicinctus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in arid desert and savannah in southeastern US, Mexico and Central America, and much of South America.

Field Notes: Medium to large hawk, deep brown overall, white rump and under tail and white tip to dark tail. Legs and bare face skin yellow. Juvenile mottled as in bottom photo.

Personal Notes: A common sight in our travels in southeastern Arizona

02 January, 2014

Hutton's Vireo

Scientific Name: Vireo huttoni

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-rould in forested areas in along the US Pacific coast, southwestern US and northern Mexico.

Field Notes: Small active bird, greenish gray above and below, white eye-ring broken above eye and two white wing bars.

Personal Notes: Trust us when we say the above bird had those features. This flitty creature was seen in the southern end of the Apache-Sitgreaves NF in Arizona.

01 January, 2014

Phainopepla

Scientific Name: Phainopepla nitens

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in arid habitats of the southwestern US and northern Mexico. In summers extends north into riparian woodlands, in winters clusters in deserts areas of US (particularly Sonoran) and a variety of arid habitats in Mexico.

Field Notes: Long-tailed, crested songbird with red eye. Male all black, female all grey.

Personal Notes: Seen outside the Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson AZ then later in Joshua Tree National Park.

Pyrrhuloxia

Scientific Name: Cardinalis sinuatus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in arid scrubland of southwestern US and northern Mexico.

Field Notes: "The cardinal of the desert," but grey plumage tinged with red.

Personal Notes: Seen in the San Pedro River Riparian Area near Hereford AZ.

Verdin

Scientific Name: Auriparus flaviceps

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in desert scrub of southwestern US and northern Mexico.

Field Notes: Small, active bird with grey body, yellow face, small rufous shoulder patch.

Personal Notes: Quite a task to photograph in the Sonora Desert Museum outside Tucson AZ but we later got better opportunities in Joshua Tree National Park.

Crissal Thrasher

Scientific Name: Toxostoma crissale

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in desert washes and riparian thickets of the American Southwest and central Mexico.

Field Notes: Large, all brown perching bird with a thrasher's long tail and prominent down-curved bill. Curve-billed Thrasher quite similar in appearance and overlapping in range, but habitat quite different.

Personal Notes: Seen in the San Pedro River Riparian Area near Hereford, AZ.

31 December, 2013

Curve-billed Thrasher

Scientific Name: Toxostoma curvirostre

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year round in open areas of Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts of southwestern US and Mexico.

Field Notes: Large passerine with characteristic long body and tail of a thrasher. Accentuated, long down-curved bill. Brown overall plumage. Orange eye.

Personal Notes: Common site in Sonora Desert Museum outside Tucson AZ.

Mexican Jay

Scientific Name: Aphelocoma ultramarina

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in montane mixed oak forests in northern Mexico and up into Arizona and New Mexico.

Field Notes: Non-crested jay with blue head, wings and tail. Greyish back. Dingy white underparts.

Personal Notes: Patience was rewarded with this photo by Richard at the Cherry Lodge picnic site in the Apache-Sitgreaves NF in Arizona.

Gambel's Quail

Scientific Name: Callipepla gambelii

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in the Sonoran, Mohave, and Chihuahuan deserts of the southwestern US —below about 5,500 feet elevation.

Field Notes: Similar in appearance to the California Quail, though Gambel's has white breast with black belly and ranges do not overlap.

Personal Notes: A surprise find near the Clifton mines at the southern edge of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona.

Acorn Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Melanerpes formicivorus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year round in oak and mixed oak-conifer forests on slopes and mountains in the western US down into Mexico and Central America.

Field Notes: Unmistakable in range. As Cornell's All About Birds puts it: "Reminiscent of a troupe of wide-eyed clowns."

Personal Notes: Frequently seen in Ramsey Canyon Preserve, Hereford AZ. Later we found a large group at West Fork SP near Sedona. They were all calling softly to one another as they settled down in several large trees for the night.

Chihauhaun Raven

Scientific Name: Corvus cryptoleucus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in desert grasslands of southwestern US and northern Mexico.

Field Notes: Intermediate between Common Raven and American Crow. The size is approximately that of a crow, but the head is unmistakably raved-shaped as in the photo above. The call is the best differentiation, however.

Personal Notes: First heard, then seen, at Ramsey Canyon Preserve in Hereford, AZ. The photograph was taken later in town.

30 December, 2013

Greater Roadrunner

Scientific Name: Geococcyx californianus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in hot, shrubby expanses of the southwestern US and northern Mexico. They can also be found in open country with patches of shrubs or small trees almost as far east as the Mississippi River.

Field Notes: Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Richard found it for me! The Roadrunner! Beep-beep!

Cactus Wren

Scientific Name: Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in desert southwest US and northern Mexico. Requires the presence of spiny cacti.

Field Notes: Large wren with light breast, spotted dark. Long white eye stripe. Brown, barred back and tail.

Personal Notes: A conspicuous resident in Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson AZ.


Gila Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Melanerpes uropygialis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in southern Arizona, the Baja Peninsula, and western Mexico. Favors arid habitats with large cacti or scattered trees,

Field Notes: Medium-sized woodpecker, all brown head and chest, wings barred black and white. Male with red spot on forehead.

Personal Notes: Seen at Sonora Desert Museum outside Tucson AZ.


15 December, 2013

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Scientific Name: Accipiter striatus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in forested areas throughout much of the United States. Summers into Canada, winters into Mexico. In winter will often be found in treed urban areas.

Field Notes: Small, long-tailed hawks with relatively small heads. The tail tends to be square-tipped and may show a notch at the tip. Cooper's Hawk similar in range and coloration, but larger.

Personal Notes: Great find, and photo, by Richard in Burlington, Vermont on a cold December day.

12 December, 2013

Snowy Owl

Scientific Name: Nyctea scandiaca

Population Estimate: Unknown but Least Concern status. Not globally threatened, but uncommon to scarce.

Range / Habitat: Summers in open Arctic tundra from near tree-line to edge of polar seas. Winter irruptions to lower latitudes were found in marshes and dunes.

Field Notes: Large white owl with small yellow eyes, rudimentary ear-tufts normally invisible. Male entirely white, female and juveniles with brown barring above and below.

Personal Notes: A bird that eluded us for over four years. Finally on a winter walk in Acadia National Park (during a extensive East Coast irruption year, after we looked unsuccessfully the weekend before) I said "wouldn't it be funny if that log were a Snowy Owl….." Thankfully, Richard thought to actually look through the binoculars!

11 December, 2013

Tufted Titmouse

Scientific Name: Baeolophus bicolor

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in lowland, mature deciduous and mixed woods of the eastern United States.

Field Notes: Large, short-crested and long-tailed tit. Grey upperparts, white underparts including check. Rufous flanks. Large, black, beady eye.

Personal Notes: A wonderful find on a wonderful day with friends in New Hampshire. We had a picture for years from Minnesota that we debated about being a Tufted Titmouse. This time we were sure!

08 October, 2013

Harris's Sparrow

Scientific Name: Zonotrichia querula

Population Estimate: Unknown, stable, Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in woodlands and brushy habitats. Breeds in central Canada and winters in a relatively small area of the Great Plains. 

Field Notes: Large sparrow with white breast, black bib and throat, black crown, pink bill. 

Personal Notes: Seen in autumn in the Minnesota River NWR after a long hiatus. 

29 July, 2013

Indigo Bunting

Scientific Name: Passerina cyanea

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Winters in southern Mexico, Central America, and Carribbean. Summers in temperate forest in eastern North America.

Field Notes: Medium-sized perching bird. Male all blue with black wing ends, black eye and silver, conical beak. Female and non-breeding males drab brown, darker above than below.

Personal Notes: We saw these lovely birds at Fort Snelling without a camera. Years later found them again at the Minnesota Arboretum.



23 March, 2013

Common Wood Pigeon

Scientific Name: Columba palumbus

Population Estimate: 27M - 51M

Range / Habitat: Wooded areas in southern and western Europe, extending to eastern Europe and western Asia in summer.

Field Notes: Large pigeon, generally grey-purple, with conspicuous white neck spots, white eye-ring, and white shoulders in flight.

Personal Notes: A common sight around Alhambra in Granada, Spain and then again at Kew Gardens in London.


20 March, 2013

Montagu's Harrier

Scientific Name: Circus pygargus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found throughout Europe, except Norway where it is not present. The breeding range extends as far east as the Urals. Breeding also occurs in northern Africa, mostly in Morocco.

Field Notes: Adult males are characterized by their overall pale grey plumage contrasting with black wingtips. Compared with other harriers this species has characteristic black bands along the secondaries, both above and below the wing and rusty streaks on belly and flanks. It has a particularly graceful flight, with powerful and elegant wingbeats which give an impression of buoyancy and ease.

Personal Notes: Seen at Donana National Park, Spain.

Crested Lark

Scientific Name: Galerida cristata

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Non-migratory bird that breeds in open areas across most of temperate Eurasia from Portugal to northeast China and eastern India, and in Africa south to Niger.

Field Notes: Smallish lark, slightly larger and plumper than Skylark. It has a long spiky erectile crest. It is greyer than Skylark, and lacks the white wing and tail edges of that species.

Personal Notes: Seen at Donana National Park, Spain