Tanque Verde Wash at Wentworth Rd, Tucson (22 Oct 2010)

Keith Kamper, Morgan Jackson and I explored about a mile or so of Tanque Verde Wash west of Wentworth Rd this morning, from about 7:30AM to 9:30AM.  We started off with a BELTED KINGFISHER over the small retention pond located just west of the road, just north of the wash.

The best find was this female BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER about 0.5 mile west of Wentworth Rd.  (Interestingly, Keith observed what may have been this same bird on 10 September 2010.)  It first appeared after a few imitated pygmy owl toots, accompanied by a small flock containing 2 BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS, an ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, a PLUMBEOUS VIREO, HUTTON'S VIREO, "HUSKY" FLYCATCHER (Hammond's/Dusky-type), and several RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS.  Black-and-white Warbler is a rare but regular transient through southeast Arizona.

As we continued, Keith spotted this beautiful adult SHARP-SHINNED HAWK sitting motionless about 40 feet away.  We admired it for some time as it scanned around for its next meal.  It briefly showed interest in some singing LESSER GOLDFINCHES only 10 feet or so from its head but didn't give chase.

On the way back we stepped carefully over some very shallow bits of flowing water (!), and were almost back to Wentworth Road when we found a total surprise - MARSH WREN.  Given the extremely marginal habitat here, this individual is almost certainly a transient.  But it's amazing what incredibly small patches of wet, weedy habitat they'll use as a stopover point!  Just goes to show: you never know how valuable your own neighborhood patch of habitat will be for one of our fine feathered friends in migration...

I'm actually amazed that Keith managed this shot, as uncooperative as the bird was...

Good birding,
John Yerger
Tucson, AZ
Adventure Birding Company
Specializing in flexible, personalized guiding in SE Arizona

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