Hart Prairie Vicinity (6/15/11): Lots of good stuff!
15 Jun 2011, 11:52 AM,
#1
Hart Prairie Vicinity (6/15/11): Lots of good stuff!
Inspired by Gary's post this weekend regarding Wilson Meadow, I drove up Forest Road 151 this morning. My sense of where Wilson Meadow is located turned out to be wrong, and I didn't actually bird there (although I found it on the way out). I ended up parking just below the entrance to the Nature Conservancy's Hart Prairie Preserve (wow, do I wish this was open to the public for birding!). Where I parked there is a small running stream coming out of the Preserve which wraps around the base of Fern Mountain, with a beautiful aspen grove and Bebb willow thicket. The area is not signed as private, and is clearly outside of the Preserve fenceline, so I believe this to be National Forest land (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). This little spot may be one of my new favorite places - its absolutely stunning!

Highlights were singing Wilson's, orange-crowned, and MacGillivray's warblers. Given the late date, and the appropriate appearance of the habitat, it seems like all three of these species may be breeding here. This appears out of the known breeding range for Wilson's warbler, but I don't have a copy of the AZ Breeding Bird Atlas - does anyone know the status of WIWA as breeders in the state?

Other really cool sights included a pair of mountain bluebirds ferrying food into a nest cavity in a dead aspen tree, a pair of raucous Clark's nutcrackers overhead, and numerous green-tailed towhees skulking about.

On the way home I stopped along 151 and found a few Grace's warblers and hermit thrushes, but nothing else of note.

Jason


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15 Jun 2011, 12:37 PM,
#2
 
Wilson's Warbler doesn't appear in the index of the AZ Breeding Bird Atlas.

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15 Jun 2011, 12:46 PM,
#3
 
Well, I'll say that the willow-dominated riparian habitat looks awfully similar to where I've seen them in known breeding locations in Colorado and New Mexico. I suppose this bears further investigation.

Jason
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15 Jun 2011, 3:13 PM,
#4
 
I agree.
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16 Jun 2011, 8:26 AM,
#5
 
I am interested to see that Jason found Wilson's Warblers up there. I have never seen one in the 6 years or so of birding I have done at Wilson Meadow.

Also, when I reported seeing my Townsend's Warbler last weekend at Wilson Meadow to ebird, they seemed to think it was a good find for some reason. They asked me to confirm it.

So, what can be done to "further investigate"?

Gary
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16 Jun 2011, 9:59 AM,
#6
 
That would include returning to the site to find out if the male is still singing and holding a territory or at least still present and also watching for other behavioirs suggestive of breeding.

The Townsend's Warbler is likely just a late migrant, which could also be the case for the Wilson's Warblers. But there are a scant few AZ records of unexpected breeding by wood warbler species that normally breed far away from AZ.
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16 Jun 2011, 11:39 AM,
#7
 
I'm heading out of town for a few days, but will go back up there next week at some point. If anyone else goes looking, the riparian area is fairly small, and I saw/heard the WIWA about 200' upstream from the road in the willows immediately surrounding the stream. The song is somewhat similar to orange-crowned warbler, which are also singing heartily up there (so are the MacGillivrays), so it might help to be familiar with WIWA's voice beforehand.

Jason
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16 Jun 2011, 2:00 PM,
#8
 
I attended a plant and herb walk at Hart Prairie a few years and there was a native american elder as a guest speaker and she said that this particular site has long been considered sacred and mystical by the tribes.

Indeed, when I entered it I clearly felt "something", but can't describe it. One dude on the walk (kind of freaky) was literally shaking in his boots and had to be "calmed down" by the good looking women in the group :freak:

I agree with Jason, it's stunning and unique and a place that I love to bird when at Hart Prarie.
Cheers
Tom
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18 Jun 2011, 4:51 PM,
#9
Ovenbird
I worked the area pretty hard this morning. No Wilson's but an ovenbird was singing all morning in the dense understory just upslope of the stream, less than 100 m from FR 151. I tried to get a glimpse of the darn bird for about 40 minutes - I actually got quite close to it - but in true ovenbird style it stayed so close to the ground that I never did see it.
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18 Jun 2011, 8:36 PM,
#10
 
Geez - I seem to be missing every ovenbird in the state! I worked that area quite well for an hour and a half on Tuesday and certainly didn't detect an ovenbird. Too bad the WIWA didn't show/moved on, but at least now I have some incentive to get back up there.

Jason
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22 Jun 2011, 10:24 AM,
#11
 
I made a quick trip this morning to the area where the ovenbird and Wilson's warbler were seen - both were not around this morning. There are continuing MacGillivray's and orange-crowned warblers that are fairly conspicuous. The only other birds I saw of potential interest were two Virginia's warblers (this site is quite a bit higher than I've ever seen them before) and several singing Lincoln's sparrows. I believe LISPs are known to breed in the San Francisco Peaks.

Jason
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23 Jun 2011, 12:47 PM,
#12
 
[rquote=12120&tid=5456&author=jawilder]Inspired by Gary's post this weekend regarding Wilson Meadow, I drove up Forest Road 151 this morning. My sense of where Wilson Meadow is located turned out to be wrong, and I didn't actually bird there (although I found it on the way out). I ended up parking just below the entrance to the Nature Conservancy's Hart Prairie Preserve (wow, do I wish this was open to the public for birding!). [/rquote]

Howdy,
Neil Chapman here - TNC's Hart Prairie Preserve Manager

We offer guided nature walks every Sunday, other access is by appointment only.
You can schedule a visit almost anytime - we just need to know who is coming and when.
Call me @ 928-774-8892 ex5 or email hartprairie@tnc.org and try to give us at least 24 hours notice.
Nature walk info, butterfly, bird, animal and plant lists on our website http://www.nature.org/hartprairie.
Thanks!!
Reply


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