Snowflake to St. Johns (11/29): WTSP, SNGO, NECO, late migrants
2 Dec 2012, 1:09 AM,
Snowflake to St. Johns (11/29): WTSP, SNGO, NECO, late migrants
On Thursday (11/29/2012) I went birding at Snowflake/Taylor (in Navajo County), Concho Lake, St. Johns wastewater treatment plant, and Lyman Lake State Park (the latter three sites in Apache County). Starting off at the Taylor wastewater treatment plant on Bullduck Ln., the best birds were an adult WHITE-THROATED SPARROW, two SAVANNAH SPARROWS, a FERRUGINOUS HAWK, and a late migrant GREATER YELLOWLEGS with an injured left leg (the whole leg was broken, flopping around when it moved with the tarsometatarsus missing). Next I went to the northern outskirts of Snowflake along Hwy. 77 at the confluence of Silver Creek and Cottonwood Wash where a very late BLACK PHOEBE and two 'MEXICAN' MALLARD hybrids were highlights.

The next stop was Concho Lake where highlights included one NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, three PHAINOPEPLAS, single adult BALD and GOLDEN EAGLES, large flocks of robins and bluebirds, and great waterfowl diversity. At least 28 PIED-BILLED GREBES was the highest count of that species I think I've ever had at one location. Back in August I found two Neotropic Cormorants here, which were the first recorded for Apache County and the White Mountains region, so this individual is likely one of those two birds. Either the same GOLDEN EAGLE or a different bird was flying over Hwy. 61 near Concho on my way to St. Johns.

The St. Johns wastewater treatment plant and the surrounding habitat along Water Street in the early afternoon was mostly dead, with the only bird on the basin with water being an immature SNOW GOOSE. A flock of seven BREWER'S BLACKBIRDS were hanging around cattle in one of the nearby fields, which are a rare wintering species on the Colorado Plateau.

Lastly I visited Lyman Lake State Park and spent almost three hours birding there until sunset. Highlights at Lyman Lake included three late GREATER YELLOWLEGS, a late YELLOW-RUMPED "AUDUBON'S" WARBLER, a lingering CLARK'S GREBE among ~35 WESTERN and ~150 EARED GREBES, an estimated total of 760 RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS streaming by in small flocks of 15-50 birds towards the south end of the lake before dusk, and at least 200 MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS, mostly near the mudflats and snags on the south end of the lake and in the cottonwoods near the central peninsula of the lake. NOTE: online I saw that this park closes December 2nd (today) and is not scheduled to be reopened until May 2013 (presumably due to the state budget cut issues).

Below are the species lists for each site:

Taylor WTP
Mallard (5)
Red-tailed Hawk (3)
Ferruginous Hawk (1)
Eurasian Collared-Dove (6)
Common Raven (10)
Horned Lark (15)
Mountain Bluebird (3)
European Starling (~65)
Savannah Sparrow (2)
Song Sparrow (1)
White-crowned Sparrow (~55)
Red-winged Blackbird (2)

Snowflake (confluence of Silver Creek/Cottonwood Wash)
Mallard (45, including 2 'Mexican' hybrids)
Red-tailed Hawk (1)
American Coot (2)
Say's Phoebe (2)
Common Raven (35)
Horned Lark (2)
European Starling (8)
Song Sparrow (6)
White-crowned Sparrow (2)
Red-winged Blackbird (~55)

Concho Lake
Canada Goose (7)
Mallard (26)
Gadwall (28)
American Wigeon (12)
Northern Pintail (6)
Green-winged Teal (12)
Canvasback (55)
Common Merganser (~118)
Bufflehead (10)
Double-crested Cormorant (4)
Western Grebe (6)
Pied-billed Grebe (28)
Eared Grebe (22)
Bald Eagle (1)
Golden Eagle (1)
Red-tailed Hawk (1)
American Coot (~460)
Northern Flicker (1)
Western Scrub-Jay (1)
Common Raven (2)
Juniper Titmouse (1)
American Robin (~75)
Western Bluebird (~35)
Mountain Bluebird (~36)
Cedar Waxwing (3)
Phainopepla (3)
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)(1)
House Finch (10)
American Goldfinch (8)

St. Johns WTP
SNOW GOOSE (1 imm.)
Northern Harrier (1)
Red-tailed Hawk (1)
Loggerhead Shrike (1)
Common Raven (15)
European Starling (13)
White-crowned Sparrow (1)

Lyman Lake State Park
Canada Goose (~30)
Mallard (2)
Gadwall (12)
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser (36)
Great Blue Heron (2)
Western Grebe (~35)
Eared Grebe (~150)
American Coot (6)
Northern Flicker (1)
Say's Phoebe (1)
Common Raven (2)
Horned Lark (~30)
Rock Wren (2)
American Robin (5)
Mountain Bluebird (~200)
American Pipit (2)
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)(8)
Western Meadowlark (9)
Red-winged Blackbird (~760)

Good birding!

Eric Hough

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