AZ Bird Network

Full Version: Inner Basin birding - Red Crossbill diversity
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Chuck LaRue and I hiked far into the Inner Basin today, up to a glacial bench above Flagstaff Spring (and below Humphrey's Peak) that sits at ~11,200'. We didn't find anything too interesting bird-wise. Most perplexing was the diversity of Red Crossbill call types we encountered. Near Lockett Meadow there was a group of familiar "Type 2" (Ponderosa) Red Crossbills. Near the intersection of the Waterline and Inner Basin trails we had a flock that seemed to have 3 different call types in it (a few Type 2 plus two other distinct calls). It was a frustrating not to get better looks at this group because one of the calls we heard was...tantalizing. Up near 11,000' we had a Red Crossbill flock that seemed to contain no Type 2 birds at all. Other birds present on the hike included many Clark's Nutcrackers, about a dozen Cassin's Finches, "Oregon" juncos near treeline, and the usual chickadees and nuthatches.

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Of note is that the tank at Lockett Meadow has water (liquid water) and is bringing in a constant stream of birds. Most unusual today were three Sage Thrashers, among about a dozen Townsend's Solitaires, many American Robins, Western Bluebirds, Dark-eyed Juncos, and a few Cassin's Finches. This is a nice spot to sit and watch the birds, and it seems like there could be something interesting in the mix.

The scenery up in the Inner Basin was absolutely spectacular. One of the coolest sights was a small group of Mule Deer high up on the summit ridgeline. The knob they're descending in this picture is 12,098'...I had no idea Mule Deer would go up to above 12K feet!

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Here are a few scenery shots that show a natural arch that is up at ~11,700', and some of the glacial landscape at the head of the Inner basin:

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Jason
Flagstaff, AZ
On Friday 5 January 2018 a male suckleyi Merlin was seen at Lockett Meadow Tank repeatedly pursuing the birds.