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JOIN THE GLOBAL BIG DAY IN ARIZONA
13 May 2017
 
By Doug Jenness
 
If you like to get out in the spring sunshine and count birds, you should sign up to participate in the annual Global Big Day in Arizona on Saturday, 13 May 2017. The GBD, as it is called by eBird, is coordinated in Arizona by Arizona Field Ornithologists and supported by local Audubon societies, bird clubs, and other interested organizations. This will be the second year AZFO merges its 12 years of experience coordinating volunteers for the North American Migration Count into eBird's Global Big Day.
 
With hundreds of volunteers in the field from all 15 counties, we will strive to get a "snapshot" of the progress and character of the spring migration, and most of all have fun! You can be flexible about the amount of time you spend in the field, or you can just sit in your yard and count birds. The last three years we've see more than 300 species, and every year we discover unexpected rarities. Last year we found six species that were new to our 13-year cumulative list. Making this survey part of the Global Big Day has provided an opportunity to build on what we had previously achieved in Arizona and makes our statewide count part of a broader national, even international, effort.
 
The GBD is organized by county. If you want to volunteer, check out the list of county coordinators. If you wish to bird in one of the four counties that don't have coordinators yet, let me know: Doug Jenness, statewide Global Big Day coordinator.
NOTES ON RECENT SURVEYS AND EXPEDITIONS
 
 
SANTA CRUZ FLATS RAPTOR COUNT
28 January 2017
 
By Doug Jenness
 
Eighteen volunteers on the annual Santa Cruz Flats Raptor Count tallied 578 raptors of 16 species, the second highest individual bird total in the 12-year history of the count. This total was lower than the all-time high of 752 set last year, but well above the average of 395. The only species to register a 12-year high was Great Horned Owl with 18. However, the totals for Red-tailed Hawk (237), American Kestrel (87), and Crested Caracara (50) were the second highest, and for Northern Harrier (46) the third highest. The most notable report was of an adult Bald Eagle at Arizona City, the second ever for the count.
Bald Eagle
28 January 2017 – Santa Cruz Flats, Pinal Co.
Photo/Muriel Neddermeyer
Photographs of leg bands on the eagle were submitted to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, where it was found that the bird was a male hatched on the San Carlos tribal lands in 2012; it has not begun breeding. No Sharp-shinned Hawks were found, a species which has been reported on six of the 12 counts. A wintering Osprey reported up to the day before the count was missed on the count day; it would have been a first for the raptor count. Twenty raptor species have been reported over the past 12 years. A total of 66 volunteers have participated in the count since 2006. The final tallies for all years are on the AZFO website. The next count will be held on 20 January 2018.
 
 
VIRGIN VALLEY AND MOUNTAINS EXPEDITION
18-19 February 2017
 
By Felipe Guerrero
 
The AZFO field expedition to the Virgin River Valley and Virgin Mountains was organized for the purpose of increasing our knowledge of the wintering birds of this region in Mohave County. Despite rainy weather throughout the weekend, the expedition yielded a handful of notable firsts: Sandhill Cranes for northwestern Arizona; Neotropic Cormorant for the Virgin River in Arizona; Barn Owl for the Virgin River in Arizona in winter; and "Slate-colored" Fox Sparrow for the Virgin Mountains.
Mohave Desertscrub
18/19 February 2017 – Virgin River Valley, Mohave Co.
Photo/Micah Riegner
Sandhill Cranes
19 February 2017 – Beaver Dam, Mohave Co.
Photo/Felipe Guerrero
Other highlights included Chukar, Sage Thrashers and Sagebrush Sparrows. The complete results are available on the eBird website (www.ebird.org). Felipe Guerrero, Autumn Amici, Brett Gleitsmann, Michael Lester, Chris McCreedy, Micah Riegner and David Vander Pluym participated in the expedition.
SEASONAL HIGHLIGHTS
  January-February 2017

By Tyler Loomis

The winter months in Arizona are typically the most birded months of the year, due to great weather and an influx of birders from the northern states. January and February are the prime months for surveying for our winter resident birds. During this period, birders volunteer to assist with Christmas Bird Counts around the state, the Greater Phoenix Area Waterbird Survey and Santa Cruz Flats Raptor Count in central Arizona, and longspur surveys in our southern grasslands, to name a few. The presence of more birders in the field has led to some great discoveries.

The southern portion of the state had its fair share of rare birds so far this year, the most notable finds being a NUTTING’S FLYCATCHER found on the Atascosa Highlands CBC in Santa Cruz Co. and probably three separate ROSE-THROATED BECARDS along the Santa Cruz River in Santa Cruz Co. In the same corridor as the becards, a VARIED BUNTING was found and photographed, one of only two records in eBird for the state during winter. Other great finds in the southern portion of the state included a potential first county record of BARROW’S GOLDENEYE in Yuma, Yuma Co. A pair of RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS was discovered off Rock Corral Canyon, Santa Cruz Co., a new location for this species.

Nutting's Flycatcher
2 January 2017 – Lower California Gulch, Santa Cruz Co.
Photo/Dave Stejskal
Barrow's Goldeneye
4 January 2017 – Hidden Shores Resort, Yuma, Yuma Co.
Photo/Henry Detwiler
Central Arizona, of course, receives considerable birder coverage during these first months of the year, and many interesting discoveries were made. Rare waterbirds found in this portion of the state included a WHITE-WINGED SCOTER at Lake Margherite, Scottsdale, and one or two BARROW’S GOLDENEYES at the Granite Reef Recreation Site, Lower Salt River Recreation Area, Tonto National Forest— all in Maricopa Co.
White-winged Scoter
1 January 2017 – Lake Margherite, Scottsdale, Maricopa Co.
Photo/Troy Corman
Rarely birded Greenlee Co. was visited by birders in February and some notable county birds were discovered, including first eBird records of WOOD DUCK and MERLIN along the Duncan Birding Trail, and YELLOW-EYED JUNCO near Granville. Graham Co. had a good first couple months of the year, with an OVENBIRD discovered at Roper Lake State Park and a GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW at Howard Well  A HARRIS’S SPARROW was discovered at Hidden Valley, Pinal Co.; there have been very few records of this species in the county.
Ovenbird
30 January 2017 – Roper Lake State Park, Graham Co.
Photo/Arlene Ripley
Last but not least, the northern portion of Arizona had many interesting observations. The most notable records included the discovery of three longspur species in Yavapai Co.—CHESTNUT-COLLARED in the Chino and Prescott valleys, and LAPLAND and McCOWN’S in Chino Valley, all representing eBird county firsts. Other county firsts included a SPRAGUE’S PIPIT at Lonesome Valley, and both a TENNESSEE WARBLER and LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH at the Page Springs Fish Hatchery. Mohave Co. had some good finds, with a DOWNY WOODPECKER (fewer than five county records) and two BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES all appearing in Colorado City.
Black-capped Chickadee
14 January 2017 – Cottonwood Park, Colorado City, Mohave Co.
Photo/Chris McCreedy
MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL REMINDER
 
By Kurt Licence
 
We are grateful to the 88 AZFO members who have already renewed their memberships for 2017! If you are not part of this group, please consider renewing your membership today. 
 
As a reminder, your membership supports our mission to increase the knowledge of the identification, status, and distribution of Arizona’s birdlife. Membership dues will remain at $15/Student, $25/Regular, $35/Family or Organization, and $500/Lifetime. The renewal form can be easily completed online, or by printing and filling out the membership form. Send the membership form with a check to our treasurer, Matt VanWallene; his address is on the form. We are a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, which means that all payments to AZFO are tax-deductible.
 
If you are a lifetime member or have already renewed for 2017, thank you for your important contribution to Arizona Field Ornithologists. Your support has made AZFO the organization it is today.
AZFO LOGO ITEMS AVAILABLE NOW
 
By Walter Thurber
 
A regular feature at our annual meetings is a sales table where short- and long-sleeved T-shirts, polo shirts, caps, mugs and lens cleaning cloths are available. Each item carries our famous Red-faced Warbler logo. You may now purchase these items at other times. Simply contact me at wathurber@cox.net with any questions or to place an order. We can arrange to meet someplace and complete the transaction.
 
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UPCOMING EVENTS
 
13 May 2017
Global Big Day in Arizona
Coordinator: Doug Jenness
(d_jenness@hotmail.com)
 
October 2017
AZFO Annual Meeting, Verde Valley
(details on website soon)
AZFO BOARD MEMBERS
 
President
     Kurt Radamaker
     Cave Creek AZ
 
Vice President
     Jennifer MacFarland
     Tucson AZ
 
Membership Secretary
     Kurt Licence
     Phoenix AZ
 
Recording Secretary
     Carol Beardmore
     Phoenix AZ
 
Treasurer
     Matt VanWallene
     Chandler AZ
 
Board Members
     Walt Anderson    
     Prescott AZ
     Andy Bridges
     Petrified Forest Natl Park AZ
     Walter Thurber
     Scottsdale AZ
 
OTHER CONTACTS
 
Arizona Birds
     Doug Jenness, Interim Editor
     Catalina AZ
     Sabine Deviche, Design
     Liège BE
 
Newsletter
     Walter Thurber, Editor
     Scottsdale AZ
     Andy Bridges, Design
     Petrified Forest Natl Park AZ
 
Field Expeditions
     Felipe Guerrero, Chair
     Prescott AZ
 
Photo Documentation
     Lauren Harter, Co-Editor
     Lake Havasu City AZ
     David Vander Pluym, Co-Editor
     Lake Havasu City AZ
 
Webmasters
     Kurt Radamaker, Developer
     Cave Creek AZ
     Edwin Juarez, Support
     Phoenix AZ
Copyright © 2017 Arizona Field Ornithologists. All rights reserved.


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