Saw-whet Owl, Maricopa County


Southwest AZ:  Jan-Jun 2007
by Henry Detwiler

Here are a collection of both unusual and common birds that we've seen this year, all within a few hours of home.  At the end of the page is my year list for Yuma County for 2007--I'm aiming for 225 this year.
199 species--bird list is at the bottom of the page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.   

The year started off to a great start when Paul Lehman called me with the news that he'd found a Couch's Kingbird in Tacna.  I chanced waiting until Saturday morning before driving out to see it -taking our Audubon Society field trip there.  Despite freezing temps, we eventually all got nice looks at it feeding on bees at a near-by hive.

Couch's Kingbird, Tacna

Couch's Kingbird, Tacna


The kingbird remained in the neighborhood for a couple of months--maybe it will return next season, just as our Thick-billed Kingbird has returned to the Yuma Main Drain for five years running.

Red-naped Sapsucker, Yuma

Two of our regular winter visitors are the Red-naped Sapsucker and Ferruginous Hawk.  The sapsuckers like the woods around the West Wetlands and Mittry Lake.  The hawks like the alfalfa and hay fields south of town.

Ferruginous Hawk, Yuma


Rufous-backed Robin, Jake's Corner

In March I drove up to my Reserves duty in Phoenix a day early and made a side trip to Jake's Corner.  My quest was to try for some photos of the Rufous-backed Robin--and the bird cooperated!

Rufous-backed Robin, Jake's Corner

Green-winged Teal, Yuma
There are a couple of backwaters off of the Colorado River just west of Yuma.  One of these is good for wintering ducks.  Often you can find all three teal in this location.

In addition to teal, this winter I was fortunate to see a Black and White Warbler at this location--a bird I'd always missed in Yuma County up that point. 

Blue-winged Teal, Yuma

American Kestrel, Aztec

One nice thing about taking monthly trips to Phoenix is that I can bird on the way there and back.  The trailer park at Dateland is good for wintering sparrows (Golden-crowned this year), doves, and the birds that prey upon them.

Cooper's Hawk, Dateland

As spring rolled around, we started seeing different birds in our yard, like the early Rufous Hummingbirds and Western Kingbirds.  Later in the spring Black-headed Grosbeaks and Lazuli Buntings showed up to eat the sunflower seeds and millet.

Black-headed Grosbeak, Yuma


Rufous Hummingbird, Yuma

Regular visitors to our bird-feeding station since early May have been a few Bronzed Cowbirds.  But they are far outnumbered by doves and grackles.  Other regular visitors this summer season are Abert's Towhees, Hooded Orioles, Verdins, House Finches, and hummingbirds.

Bronzed Cowbird, Yuma

Another first for Yuma County (for my records), this Baltimore Oriole was at the West Wetlands in Yuma, in a cottonwood along the Colorado River in mid-May.  The photo is blurry since I used my digital automatic held up to my binoculars--digibinning?  Not optimum, but it did work to record the sighting.

Baltimore Oriole, Yuma



Great Blue Heron, Gilbert


This Great Blue Heron was shaking itself dry at the Gilbert Water Ranch--another quick trip from Luke on one of my Reserves weekends.

A small flock of five juvenile Wood Storks at the  Mittry Lake overlook on 16 June was a really big surprise.  In distant years they were apparently quite common, but these were the first I'd seen in Yuma County since arriving here in 1991.

Juvenile Wood Stork, Mittry Lake



Yuma County 2007

Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Little Blue Heron
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Wood Stork
White-faced Ibis
Sandhill Crane
Greater White-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Ruddy Duck
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Prairie Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
Gambel's Quail
Black Rail
Clapper Rail
Virginia Rail
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Wilson's Phalarope
Red-necked Phalarope
Turkey Vulture
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
White-winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Inca Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Western Screech Owl
Great Horned Owl
Elf Owl
Burrowing Owl
Lesser Nighthawk
Common Poorwill
Vaux's Swift
White-throated Swift
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa's Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Gila Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker


Northern Flicker
Gilded Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Gray Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Pacific Slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Vermilion Flycatcher
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Couch's Kingbird
Thick-billed Kingbird
Western Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Bell's Vireo
Gray Vireo
Plumbeous Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cactus Wren
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
Mountain Bluebird
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
Northern Mockingbird
Sage Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher
Crissal Thrasher
Leconte's Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Macgillivray's Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Lucy's Warbler
Summer Tanager
Western Tanager
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Canyon Towhee
Abert's Towhee
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Black-chinned Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Lark Bunting
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Black-headed Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Scott's Oriole
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Hooded Oriole
Baltimore Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow


Photos Henry Detwiler