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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Arizona Desert Grasslands

The wide, arid valleys of south-east Arizona are much changed from the grasslands of 100 years ago. Agricultural irrigation has a significant effect on the birds present, often concentrating activity around active fields. The Sulphur Springs Valley is renowned for its raptors, like this Ferruginous Hawk.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area near McNeal in the Sulphur Springs Valley is a major wintering site for Sandhill Cranes. Up to 25,000 can be seen at the peak, but by late March most have departed, only 1000 or so remained.

The shallow floods attract other waterfowl such as American Avocet...

...and Black-necked Stilt as well as Least Sandpiper, Long-billed Dowitcher and Greater Yellowlegs.

Small flocks of Lark Bunting were fairly easy to find, but other sparrows were in short supply.

An adult Swainson's Hawk.

Loggerhead Shrike: probably the most widespread and regularly seen species in the lowlands - due in part to its prominent perching of course!

1 comment:

TTPBRS Coordinator said...

Nice selection of photos! Anything of an Eared Grebe?