Ruddy Ground-Dove, Dateland RV Park

   
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Yuma Area - Dec 2005
by Henry Detwiler

Winter time along the Colorado River and in the desert often brings some nice birds. This page describes some of the rare and unusual birds present in December 2005.  
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized photos.   

One of the best birds to show up this winter was this Broad-billed Hummingbird; Bobbie first noticed it at her hummingbird feeder at the beginning of December.  When we visited her patio, the bird came in to feed on the  sugar water every few minutes.  It was loud and aggressive, chasing away the male Anna's Hummingbird on several occasions.

 


 

Broad-billed Hummingbird - Yuma
Canon D10 digital SLR
  

 

  Thick-billed Kingbird, Canon D10

Look for this bird on the wire above the canals and in the large cottonwoods in the area.
 

The Thick-billed Kingbird is present for its fourth season along the Yuma Main Drain, just east of Somerton Ave at 32nd Street (County 8th).  This year we found the bird in late November; usually we don't see it until January!


Thick-billed Kingbird, Canon D10
 



Red-shouldered Hawk, Bard
Sony DSC W7
  

  
Northwest of Yuma, across the California border, is the small community of Bard. Dominated by agriculture, it is the site of the Sunland Date Groves.  Here you can find a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks feeding in the grove and the adjacent fields.

Earlier this month I got an early Christmas present--a Sony DSC W7 compact digital camera--and have begun digiscoping again.  This hawk and the Peregrine Falcon are both shot using the Sony hand-held up to my Swarovski 65mm spotting scope.
 

 

Ferruginous Hawk, south of Yuma
Canon D10


Ferruginous Hawk

Ferruginous Hawks are common every year in the large fields south of Co. 19th Street, where they are fond of eating the plentiful gophers. A conservative estimate would be 16 separate individuals hunting south of town.  And look for Red-tailed Hawks in the same area by the dozens!


Ruddy Ground-Dove, Dateland RV Park
Canon D10

Ruddy Ground-Doves have been having a banner year in southwest Arizona.  There have been good numbers sighted around Wellton, Tacna, and Dateland.  This individual (one of 5) was in the Dateland RV Park, which is just south and west of the Dateland Cafe, off I-8.
 

 

Mountain Plovers south of Yuma - Canon D10
 

 

Mountain Plover along Ave B. - Canon D10

Joining the plovers in the ag. fields are Prairie Falcons, Long-billed Curlews, Horned Larks, American Pipits, sparrows, and the odd Great Blue Heron. 
 

Mountain Plovers are uncommon to rare winter residents of the large round agricultural fields south of Yuma, mostly south of County 19th Street, and west of Ave B. Look for them in fields that have been grazed by sheep.  Earlier this month we found a flock of at least 300--the most I've ever seen in Arizona.
 


Mountain Plover


Chestnut-sided Warbler in a cottonwood at
Imperial NWR, Canon D10

In the same grove we also found an Eastern Phoebe and a Golden-crowned Kinglet.  Another eastern visitor was a Northern Parula found at Betty's Kitchen by Paul Lehman in November.

During the Christmas Bird Count in mid December we found two eastern warblers in the large cottonwood grove of Imperial NWR.  Both were feeding as part of  a bird party in the same tree.
   


American Redstart - Imperial NWR - Canon D10
 

Peregrine Falcons are annual visitors to the area south and west of Yuma.  There are at least three individuals this year--one perch they favor is a large Eucalyptus Tree on Co. 8th, just east of the Thick-billed Kingbird spot.  Also look for them raiding the ag fields south of town.  Merlins are also here this year, so keep an eye out for them, too.


Peregrine Falcon, Yuma
Sony DSC W7


Dusky-capped Flycatcher
Quigley WMA, 25 Dec 2005
Canon D10

 

Suzanne and I saw both this Dusky-capped Flycatcher and three Tundra Swans on Christmas day at Quigley Ponds, which is about 2.5 miles north of Tacna, and just west of Ave 40E.  The photo doesn't do the yellowish belly justice; look for a brightly colored belly and listen for the distinctive, plaintive pee-urr call notes, which it was repeating about every ten minutes. 

One adult and two immature Tundra Swans were present in the northern-most farm field, which was slightly flooded.  They were keeping company with pintails and mallards, and visible from the bluff south of the fields.  Also patrolling the area are two White-tailed Kites.


 
Tundra Swan, Quigley WMA
(Adult with 2 immatures, 25 Dec 2005)
Sony DSC digiscope

Photos Henry Detwiler