Thick-billed Kingbird, Yuma Main Drain


South of Yuma
1 Dec 2005
by Henry Detwiler

Lauri & Sylvia Hillberg joined me south of town for a morning trip to look at our local grassland birds and take some photos.  
species -- bird list is at the bottom of the page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.   

I met Lauri and Sylvia at their airport, and then we cruised down Ave A. to our first birdy stop.  Pat's yard had White-crowned Sparrows and Abert's Towhees among others, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Lauri south of Yuma


Loggerhead Shrike - Sony DSC

The shot above was through my 65mm Swarovski; the shot to the right was through Lauri's 82mm Kowa, both shot with my Sony.

Past Co. 18th the road turns to gravel, and we got out to look at a Loggerhead Shrike.  Since it continued to pose, we both set up our scopes, and commenced to take some digiscoped shots.  I was trying out a new Sony DSC-W7 point & shoot digital camera; Lauri had his trusty Canon A95.

Loggerhead Shrike - Sony DSC

Once we passed Co. 19th Street we started seeing more raptors and "shorebirds".  Of course there was no shoreline, but several hundred Long-billed Curlews were working a huge round alfalfa field.  They especially liked following the irrigation sprinkler.  Lauri got some nice pics of them, but mine were all blurry.  A great treat for me was spotting a "flyover" Sandhill Crane! Several Red-tailed Hawks, this Ferruginous Hawk, and this American Kestrel were perched on top of the pivotal, circling sprinkler, so we snapped away at those, too.

Ferruginous Hawk, Yuma - Sony DSC
During the course of the morning,
we tallied about 9 of these big,
beautiful hawks.

American Kestrel, Yuma - Sony DSC

Ferruginous Hawk, south of Yuma
Canon D10


Lauri digiscoping a curlew

The flying Ferruginous Hawk I took with my digital SLR and my 300mm Canon lens.  That's a shot you're not likely to get when digiscoping!

Mountain Plovers south of Yuma - Canon D10

Mountain Plover along Ave B. - Canon D10

On an alfalfa field that had just been grazed by sheep, we found the largest flock of Mountain Plover I've ever seen in Arizona.  At least 300 of these crypticly marked guys were feasting throughout the whole field.  They were joined by Long-billed Curlews, Horned Larks, American Pipits, and the odd Great Blue Heron.  As we headed north, two Common Ravens were unexpected, but welcome, birds.

On 32nd Street, a pair of Peregrine Falcons perched high in a Eucalyptus Trees--the week before it had been a Merlin.  Then we went on to look for our wintering (4th season) Thick-billed Kingbird.  It was across the Yuma Main Drain in a huge cottonwood, flycatching from an exposed snag.

Thick-billed Kingbird, Sony DSC
digiscoped photo

Thick-billed Kingbird, Canon D10
 digital SLR photo

It was so cooperative that I had time to shoot some comparison shots with my Canon D10 and the Sony DSC W-7.  Above with the Sony; to the left with my Canon.  All too soon the morning was done, and I left Lauri & Sylvia back at their motel.  It had been another GREAT morning of Yuma birding!

Yuma, 1 Dec 2005
# Species
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Great Blue Heron
3 Great Egret
4 Snowy Egret
5 Green Heron
6 Sandhill Crane
7 Canada Goose
8 Northern Harrier
9 Red-tailed Hawk
10 Ferruginous Hawk
11 American Kestrel
12 Peregrine Falcon
13 Gambel's Quail
14 Common Moorhen
15 American Coot
16 Killdeer
17 Mountain Plover
18 Long-billed Curlew
19 Turkey Vulture
20 Rock Pigeon
21 Mourning Dove
22 Inca Dove
23 Common Ground-Dove
24 Eurasian Collared Dove
# Species
25 Greater Roadrunner
26 Anna's Hummingbird
27 Gila Woodpecker
28 Black Phoebe
29 Say's Phoebe
30 Thick-billed Kingbird
31 Loggerhead Shrike
32 Common Raven
33 Horned Lark
34 Verdin
35 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
36 Northern Mockingbird
37 European Starling
38 American Pipit
39 Yellow-rumped Warbler
40 Abert's Towhee
41 Savannah Sparrow
42 White-crowned Sparrow
43 Western Meadowlark
44 Brewer's Blackbird
45 Great-tailed Grackle
46 Brown-headed Cowbird
47 House Finch
48 House Sparrow

Photos Henry Detwiler