Friday, March 20, 2015

Baseline and Salome-The Famous Thrasher Spot

Greetings from Tucson, AZ

On my way to Tucson, I stopped for a day of birding in the Phoenix area.  When you're in the Phoenix area, at the right time of year, you have no other option other than spending a morning at the "Famous Thrasher Spot".  The spot is rather unimpressive; you just pull off the road and go walking, any which way, into the desert habitat.  The habitat is much more nuanced than it first appears and most of the species stick to their specific niche.

One of the Sage Thrashers
I arrived a little after sunrise, when the desert is still relatively cool.  After going through large flocks of sparrows, I figured it was time to get serious and start looking for the targets.  I quickly found a pair of Bendire's Thrashers and with a bit more searching the "star" of the site, a Le Conte's Thrasher.  The Le Conte's gave great views as it ran between the vegetation and eventually stood in plain view, while preening.

I was also able to get great views of multiple, small flocks of Sage Thrashers.  These thrashers are only winter visitors while the other four species seen at this location are fairly regular breeders.  After heading into some better Crissal Thrasher habitat, it only took a few minutes to locate one.  Luckily, it gave great views while it perched in the open, for a couple of minutes.

One of the main reasons I wanted to bird this site was to study Sagebrush and Bell's Sparrows.  Unfortunately, I only came across one individual, a Bell's.  Hopefully, next time I'm back the sparrows will be in.


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