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Delia & Ed’s Big-Year off to a Roaring Start
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Delia & Ed’s Big-Year off to a Roaring Start

Delia & Ed’s Big-Year off to a Roaring Start

Posted Jan.9, 2012 from Seattle

Delia’s and my BigYear is off to a great start—We passed 100 species for the country in the quickest time ever for us.  On New Year’s Day we left Di Ann’s Mountain Valley Resort in Rodeo (We stayed there so we wouldn’t have to go back up the Canyon after the Portal Count) and drove to Animus, New Mexico and drove/walked into my parents-in-law’s land from the eastern slope of the Peloncillos for the Peloncillo Christmas Count.  We got Sandhill Crane and Ferruginous Hawk on the way over.  On the Count we picked up our most-cherished-target-bird, the Montezuma Quail.  Normally we see Montezuma when we almost step on them and they flush with explosive energy.  This time we spotted them in the open crossing bare rock.   As usual with these fancy-plumaged birds:  Sorry no Pics.


We also lucked onto a new bird ever for the Peloncillo Count, the Canvasback Duck, which was on a cattle pond on Animas Rancher Clint Dunagin’s land.  I always knew Canvasbacks were beautiful, but maybe it was something in the winter desert sun that made me ask myself, “Is this America’s most gorgeous bird?”    This less-than-mediocre photo I snapped for documentation doesn’t inspire that same question, so I’ll chalk it up to one of those magical moments that you can only get by going out in the field.


In Seattle, it took us two days to pick up American Robin, the bird in the cover shot for this blog-post is from Discovery Park where we also found a flock of Evening Grosbeaks.

 

Here’s our list so far:

1

White-crowned Sparrow

2

Red-winged Blackbird

3

Gambel’s Quail

4

Eurasian Collared Dove

5

House Sparrow

6

Curve-billed Thrasher

7

Red-tailed Hawk

8

Sandhill Crane

9

Mourning Dove

10

Ferruginous Hawk

11

Northern Harrier

12

Common Raven

13

Western Scrub Jay

14

Mexican Jay

15

Bridled Titmouse

16

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

17

Sage Thrasher

18

American Kestrel

19

Mallard  (and Mexican Duck)

20

Canvasback

21

Montezuma Quail

22

Northern Cardinal

23

Pyrrhuloxia

24

Cooper’s Hawk

25

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

26

Northern Flicker

27

Red-naped Sapsucker

28

Cedar Waxwing

29

Western Bluebird

30

Mountain Bluebird

31

Bewick’s Wren

32

Phainopepla

33

Spotted Towhee

34

Canyon Towhee

35

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

36

Vesper Sparrow

37

Brewer’s Sparrow

38

Black-throated Sparrow

39

Lincoln’s Sparrow

40

Black-chinned Sparrow

41

Chipping Sparrow

42

Dark-eyed Junco

43

House Finch

44

Green-tailed Towhee

45

White-winged Dove

46

Townsend’s Solitaire

47

Juniper Titmouse

48

Arizona Woodpecker

49

Loggerhead Shrike

50

Horned Lark

51

Bendire’s Thrasher

52

Northern Shoveler

53

Say’s Phoebe

54

Song Sparrow

55

Lark Bunting

56

Eurasian Starling

57

Rock Dove

58

Vermillion Flycatcher

59

Anna’s Hummingbird

60

Verdin

61

Rufous-winged Sparrow

62

American Crow

63

Glaucous-winged Gull

64

Black-capped Chickadee

65

Fox Sparrow

66

American Robin

67

Canada Geese

68

Cackling Geese

69

Golden-crowned Kinglet

70

Bushtit

71

Pacific Wren

72

Purple Finch

73

Common Merganser

74

American Goldfinch

75

American Wigeon

76

American Coot

77

Bufflehead

78

Ring-billed Gull

79

Mew Gull

80

Barrow’s Goldeneye

81

Herring Gull

82

Horned Grebe

83

Lesser Scaup

84

Hooded Merganser

85

Bald Eagle

86

Pied-billed Grebe

87

Great Blue Heron

88

Steller’s Jay

89

Varied Thrush

90

Pine Siskin

91

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

92

Brown Creeper

93

Downy Woodpecker

94

Greater Scaup

95

Yellow-rumped Warbler

96

Double-crested Cormorant

97

Surf Scoter

98

Western Grebe

99

Gadwall

100

Golden-crowned Sparrow

101

Evening Grosbeak

Here’s a distant shot of a Mountain Bluebird wintering in the Peloncillos.  Two Cedar Waxwings were hanging with the Mountains.

This big male Coatimundi doesn’t count, but we also keep a Mammal list and it’s at something like 8.  Delia surprised a Desert Cottontail at one point and a Gray Fox took right off after it.  I asked Delia if it seemed like the rabbit would become dinner.  “No,” she said, “the Fox didn’t seem to have it’s heart in the chase.”  Indeed, there was Gray Fox scat everywhere and it was full of nothing but juniper berries. 

It’s a big Snowy-Owl invasion year so we have to make sure to see those before the next at-least 3 year Snowy-Owl drought begins.  The bird above, a presumed female in Nisqually, is from 2011.  What have you done for me lately?

 

And did I mention this?  Our final species totals for the State and Country will be miniscule compared to the serious birders who really are doing Big Years.

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