Whiteriver area: DIPPERS, MONTEZUMA QUAIL
2 Mar 2013, 10:33 PM,
#1
Whiteriver area: DIPPERS, MONTEZUMA QUAIL
March 2, 2013
Late this morning my dad and I went birding on the White Mountain Apache (Fort Apache) Reservation, primarily spending time along the North Fork of the White River near the Alchesay Hatchery in the hopes of documenting breeding dippers after having observed a few singing along the river almost a month ago. We found one pair of AMERICAN DIPPERS vigorously defending their probable nesting site from a third DIPPER. Besides chasing off the unpaired dipper invading their territory, the birds just foraged and preened near the probable nesting site. We did not see either bird go to a nest during the hour that we hid in the dense thicket across the river from them, although we spotted what may have been a partially-built nest under a root tangle over the river where the birds were hanging out. If they haven't started building a nest or laying eggs yet, my suspicion is that they will soon.

Later on in the day we spotted a male MONTEZUMA QUAIL perched on top of a large rock, which was a new Navajo County bird for me. This area is essentially the western slope/foothills of the White Mountains where a population of these quails occurs, but there are still not many Navajo County records (most of the population occurs in adjacent Apache and Greenlee Counties). At the Alchesay Hatchery we found the lingering 'MYRTLE' YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER and on the way out we found another 'MYRTLE' WARBLER near the Diamond Creek/White River confluence, probably one of the wintering birds we found in that area a couple of weeks ago. Also near this confluence was at least one GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET. The ponds at the hatchery were unfortunately closed due to construction, so we were unable to check for sparrows in the weeds along those ponds. We also saw our first-of-season WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS flying along the cliffs high above the river below the hatchery.

In Pinetop an adult BALD EAGLE was flying over Hwy. 260 near Rainbow Lake and the 6th Street wastewater treatment plant in Show Low had five duck species, including 18 Canvasbacks. Earlier in the day we had a flock of five WILD TURKEYS along Hwy. 73 south of Hon-Dah.

The full species lists will be entered onto eBird.

Good birding!

Eric Hough
thebirdwhisperer22@yahoo.com


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