Clear Creek Campground and Sycamore Creek
22 Feb 2013, 5:27 PM,
#1
Clear Creek Campground and Sycamore Creek
Today Tom Linda, Chuck LaRue, Jim Logan and I drove down to Clear Creek Campground, in Yavapai County near Camp Verde. Our first stop was the now-famed sycamore that a number of folks have documented as home to a Western Screech-Owl (which would be a life bird for me). Unfortunately, no one was home today, and the owl was a no-show. The dry wash that leads out of the campground to the northeast was packed with birds, mainly White-crowned Sparrows, but also a handful of Lincoln's & Black-throated Sparrows, Verdin, and Abert's Towhee. The highlight was a flock of no fewer than 12 stunning LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCH. Also notable was a single Orange-crowned Warbler foraging in the campground. We also found a small cave with an over-wintering group of bees, which made for an interesting site (bees were huddled in back - not quite visible in the pic below).

   

After finishing up in the campground we headed to Sycamore Creek - which lies just south of Dugas Road about 9 miles east of I-17. Chuck had seen numerous Western Screech-Owls at this site about 17 years ago and remembered it being interesting riparian habitat. Here we had a Belted Kingfisher and with a bit of work were able to turn up two Western Screech-Owls, one of which Tom spotted perched in the open on top of a juniper snag that gave absolutely fantastic looks:

           

Nearby we also turned up this Long-eared Owl, which made for quite a fantastic day in the owl department!

Long-eared Owl, Yavapai County AZ

An outstanding day out there!

Jason
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