Tucson & Home
Thursday August 2nd, 2012: Arthur was already at the airport before Al, Brian, David, and I made an early visit to Sweetwater Wetlands. We got there around 6:30 and stayed about 2 hours. In that time, we found 37 species and added a number of birds to our trip total.
We quickly found American Coot and Mallard. Most of the Mallards seemed be more the Mexican race/species (Mexican Duck) than straight Mallards. None showed any hint of a green head or a curly tail. Some did show a white tail or wider borders on the speculum. All I checked had bill colors consistent with Mexican Duck.
A Sora called a little farther along the path. A Green Heron called somewhere past the half-way point on the front side, and we saw two when we turned into the interior. A Black-crowned Night-Heron was also present there. A couple of breeding plumaged Ruddy Ducks also caught our attention. On the back side an unidentified cormorant flew over. We soon found a perched Neotropic Cormorant, but it was probably not the same bird. Then we added Common Gallinule and Tropical Kingbird. The latter was a surprise. I knew their range had been expanding, but this was the first I had seen in Tucson. That was followed by about 15 Killdeer. As we neared the car, we added our last new bird of the trip, Warbling Vireo. It was a very productive 2 hours of birding, and a nice way to finish our visit to Tucson.
Unlike the participants, I didn't get any life birds on this trip, but I did find 8 new species for Arizona. This brings my Arizona list to an even 300!
Although my flight to Houston went smoothly, my flight to Miami was delayed. In fact, they must have know when we boarded that we would be late getting away. They pushed away from the gate well before the pilot was done with his pre-flight checks. I think that means it theoretically left on-time, even though we were actually 40 minutes late. Deplaning was also delayed while they removed several thousand pounds of mail to balance the plane. I figure that about 40% of my time in the plane was spent sitting on the tarmac.
We encountered 39 species today. Of them, 10 were new for the trip. Our trip total is now 172 species and mine is 171. We identified no new mammals, although a mouse or two zipped by, and the trip total is 12.