The Best of the Year
The Best of 2011
The Best of 2012:
On January 2nd, Jim Kopitzke and I set out for Lapaz and Mohave County birding in primary pursuit of the ABA code 5 Nutting's Flycatcher found by my friends Lauren Harter and David Vander Pluym. It was a great day of birding, as Jim and I both got lifers and state birds. The Nutting's Flycatcher wasn't cooperative for my camera, but we still had great observations of it to lead off the day. Jim got the Nutting's for his lifer and a handful of state birds. I was able to get four lifers myself that day (Nutting's Flycatcher, Barrow's Goldeneye, Red-throated Loon, and Glaucous Gull). Photographed below are several highlights from the day: Barrow's Goldeneye, Common Loon, and Glaucous Gull
On January 1st, Kurt and Cindy found Arizona's 2nd ever Smith's Longspur. This remarkable find was southwest of Buckeye in a bermuda field that hosted other grassland birds such as McKown's and Chestnut-collared Longspurs, many sparrows including a Grasshopper Sparrow, Lark Buntings, and meadowlarks. The Smith's Longspur was a challenging bird to observe, who skulked in tall grass. Patience was key in getting good views. Record wise, the first Smith's Longspur was found near Springerville in 1953 and was a dead bird that was found. This was the first live Smith's Longspur that was found in Arizona, which in my opinion, was equal to a first state record. This was of course, a lifer for me, and the first addition to my Maricopa County list in 2012. This isn't the best picture of the Smith's Longspur, but it still represents a good memory!
Olive Warbler at Mount Ord
Hooded Mergansers in Chandler
Red-necked Grebe at Tempe Town Lake
Bendire's Thrasher at Red Mountain Park
One of many Bald Eagles at Horseshoe Lake
Brown Thrasher at Gilbert Water Ranch
Northern Pygmy-Owl at Mount Ord
Two Whimbrels at the Glendale Recharge Ponds on April 29th. This bird was a lifer for me and the second addition to my Maricopa County list in 2012!
Scott's Oriole at Mount Ord
Dickcissel at Hassayampa River Roadside Rest on May 13th, 2012-a very rare spring migrant in Arizona!
Female Rose-breasted Grosbeack at Hassayampa River Preserve. My third addition to my Maricopa County list in 2012, which have all been lifers! Rose-breasted Grosbeak was a lifer and what feels like a very long "overdue" bird I still had yet to see an Arizona.
Brendon Grice and I explored Montosa Canyon and we were both rewarded with our lifer Plain-capped Starthroat which has been seen by many. This is a bad photo, but it is stii identifiable and you can tell what it is!