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April 15 Bird Sightings Report
Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society Bird Sighting Report
April 15, 2009

Read the current issues of Ravens.

This is the one-hundredth in an on-going series of twice-monthly bird sighting reports of local interest in the four counties of southwestern New Mexico. Please contact me if you have sightings to report (species, location, and date); and feel free to inform others that they can receive these reports if they send me their e-mail address.

Photographs appearing in these Reports are the result of the generous contributions of subscribers, and may not be used for commercial purposes without their consent.

Thank you.
David Beatty
On the web at:
Learn more about the SW New Mexico Birding Trail

Flitting through the trees at Lake Roberts this bird was photographed by Jim Rogers on April 10. It will be identified at the end of this Report.

Eighteen participants identified 35 species during SWNM Audubon’s April 18 birding field trip to Cherry Creek Campground.  Highlights included 2 Peregrine Falcons at the nearby cliffs, and eight species of warbler:  Orange-crowned, Virginia’s, Grace’s, Black-throated Gray, Yellow-rumped, Wilson’s, Red-faced (2), and Painted Redstart. First-of-season Ash-throated Flycatcher (5), and Plumbeous Vireo were also in evidence. Jerry Bird has the complete list if you would like to contact him ( Earlier, on April 14 Ric and Rosemary Samulski birded the same area and contributed two more warbler species to the April list: Townsend’s and Olive Warbler. These species were along the nearby Cherry Creek Canyon Road.

On an April 15 visit to Signal Peak, north of Cherry Creek in the Pinos Altos Mountains, Larry Malone spotted an Olive Warbler and Band-tailed Pigeon. Many of the species that the chapter field trip tallied later in the week at Cherry Creek Campground, Larry found on this date, plus, rather unusually, a Wild Turkey. He also had a Zone-tailed Hawk at Lake Roberts during this day-long trip. A week earlier (4/7) Julian Lee spotted a Zone-tailed Hawk soaring above Highway 15 about two road miles south of  Cherry Creek Campground.

This pristine male Yellow-rumped Warbler was one of several birds eating aphids on the rose bushes in Laurie Morehead’s Bayard yard on April 13.

A Lucy’s Warbler was yard bird #135 at Larry and Carolyn Malone’s south-of-Deming yard on April 18. It was one of three new yard birds that day (Black-throated Gray Warbler and Gray Flycatcher were the others.) Also notable, a pair of Verdins were nest-building in a cactus bush on the property. Karen Beckenbach had a Virginia’s Warbler as a yard bird on April 14 in the Dos Griegos neighborhood. It was also a life bird for her.

A windy April 11 provided an opportunity for Paul and Delores Sellin to see the white neck feathers of a Chihuahuan Raven perched on a telephone pole just north of downtown Silver City. Fence-post-sitting Bald Eagles drew the notice of Carol Fugagli at her Cliff area property on April 13 and Eleanor Wootten on April 8 just west of the village of Cliff. Carol thinks that this might be rather late for this species. Patricia Taber counted 57 Turkey Vultures circling above the San Vicente Creek cottonwoods near Pope Street in Silver City on April 8.

A male and female Western Bluebird visited Rich Matthews’ Dos Griegos feeders on April 6. He had the opportunity to take contrasting photos.

Rinda Metz and Karen Beckenbach believe they found both sub species of Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s and Myrtle) during a trip to San Vicente Creek on April 7. Myrtle is less common, but regular here. They also observed the now-almost-regular Common Black-Hawks that now arrive each Spring. Other sightings of this species (either a single, or two together) were made by Carrie Tomlinson and me on 4/8, WNMU’s Beginning Birding class on 4/20, and Bob Wilson also on 4/20.

A Montezuma Quail surprised Linda Zatopek at her Burro Mountain property on April 16. Karen and Andy Beckenbach had a pair on the Gomez Peak trail near Little Walnut Picnic Area on April 20. Roland Shook heard this species calling near his house in Silver City a week ago. It is fairly easy to see Cactus Wren right now on Silver City’s Boston Hill. Several are singing near the east slope trails, and Bill Norris found  an active nest on another part of the hill on April 10. Northern Mockingbird is another species that appears to be active this Spring on Boston Hill.

April 24 is a quite late date for a White-throated Sparrow to be present in Silver City. Dale Zimmerman took this photo in his yard. This could be the bird which has been present most of the winter attending the Zimmermans' feeders.

A first-of-season male Black-headed Grosbeak showed up at one of the Zimmermans' yard feeders on April 18. On 4/22 a male Lazuli Bunting made a brief appearance. There are couple of recent reports of Green-tailed Towhees at feeders:  April 12 brought one to upper Swan Street in Silver City, that Karen Beckenbach saw; and Connie Adler and Judith Nelson had a pair of towhees in their Boston Hill area yard on April 16. Dale and Marian Zimmerman had a female of this species in their yard from April 17 through 24. And it was a new yard bird for Debbie and Jerry Bird on April 24.

Gene Lewis had a nice Black-crowned Night-Heron at the Tyrone ponds on April 12. On the water were a half dozen Cinnamon Teal and nearby a Loggerhead Shrike. A Gray Flycatcher was a nice find for Bill Norris on McComas Peak in the national forest on April 19.

Reports have come in on our three regularly appearing orioles. This Scott’s Oriole was an April 13 visitor to Karen Beckenbach’s yard.

Other Scott’s showed up in Mill Canyon in Hidalgo County on April 15 for Julian Lee, and for Steve London in his yard on 4/17 in Hanover (despite overnight temperatures in the high 20’s). Dale Marcy had a Hooded Oriole in the village of Gila on April 14. And a sparkling male Bullock’s visited a hummingbird feeder in Connie and Judith’s yard on April 21. This species was visiting Jerry Bird's yard on 4/24.

Among recent reports of hummingbird arrivals were 5 Black-chinned Hummingbirds at Eleanor Wootten's Cliff-area yard on April 9, and three (male) Rufous/Allen’s Hummingbirds at Spirit Canyon Lodge at Lake Roberts on April 12. (Frances Land, who made the report, also said that a male Yellow-headed Blackbird had passed through her property on 4/12.) This is a female Black-chinned Hummingbird which Jim Rogers photographed in the Hanover area on April 21.

This House Finch may appear to be trapped. It is not. That’s the bird’s nest, inside a light fixture at Silver City’s Big Ditch Park.  Marian Zimmerman found the location and Dale took the picture on April 23.

The species pictured at the beginning of this Report is a Yellow Warbler.

Our chapter’s Friday May 1 program meeting features Helen Snyder discussing  Elf Owl and Flammulated Owl nesting behavior near Portal, AZ. Helen set up a photo blind in the nest box of these birds and has a dramatic video record of their lives through the breeding season. Helen is an experienced bird researcher (she has previously presented her work on Short-tailed Hawks in the Chiricahua Mountains to our chapter). You won’t want to miss this owl show. It begins at 7 p.m. in Harlan Hall on the WNMU campus. Call 538-3398 for more information.

There are no chapter field trips in May. Instead, two annual bird counts will be held.  Saturday May 2 is the Gila River Count coordinated by Roland Shook. Call 388-3441 to participate. The Grant County Spring Migration Count will be held on Saturday, May 9. Jerry Bird coordinates the activities (534-4940).

Chapter news and activity can be found at our web site: