Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
16 Jul 2017, 9:08 PM,
#1
Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
Cassin's Sparrows appear to be fairly common and widespread in a variety of grassland communities in Yavapai County this summer. In the last week I've recorded multiple individuals at each of these locations: Chino Valley north of Prescott, Kirkland Creek south of Kirkland Junction, Lonesome Valley north of Dewey, Williamson Valley, Wingfield Mesa east of Camp Verde, and Mistake Tank near the Junction of I-17 and HWY 169. It's probable that many of these birds will breed in these locations.

Felipe Guerrero


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25 Jul 2017, 1:08 PM,
#2
RE: Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
Two CASP singing in flutter-flight were easily located mid-morning on the Cornville semi-desert grassland east of the Verde Santa Fe development and south of Cornville Rd.

   
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6 Aug 2017, 4:15 PM,
#3
RE: Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
(25 Jul 2017, 1:08 PM)Roger Wrote: Two CASP singing in flutter-flight were easily located mid-morning on the Cornville semi-desert grassland east of the Verde Santa Fe development and south of Cornville Rd.

Subsequent less-than-thorough strolls through this area and the mile immediately south, suggest CASP might actually be the most numerous bird species in this habitat currently. At least 10 singing birds have been observed over the last couple of weeks without much effort. Site tenacity for some individuals strongly suggests breeding is in progress there. More than 3 inches of rain at this location in July is presumably a catalyst.

Simple access is via the marked trail from the newly constructed Tissaw Trailhead just south of the Verde Santa Fe development on Tissaw Rd.
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11 Aug 2017, 12:58 AM,
#4
RE: Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
Sorry for the belated post, but here’s a quick recap of birding around Yavapai County that Felipe Guerrero and I did on Monday, August 7, 2017. After finding the GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS at Peeples Valley that I previously reported to the AZ/NM listserve (6+ at Milepost 282 along Hwy. 89) and Felipe met up with me there, we decided to check other grassland areas in the county that he had not yet checked for Cassin’s Sparrows during this summer’s apparent irruption. Altogether we had a minimum of 67 singing male CASSIN’S SPARROWS, with 49 in the valley west of the Weaver Mountains and north of the Date Creek Mountains (apparently called Sunflower Flat) and smaller numbers around Skull Valley and between Peeples Valley and Kirkland Junction areas. The highest densities were in desertscrub-grassland mixtures with grasses, broom snakeweed, and catclaw acacia being dominant. Of course this is only a minimum number of singing males, so it is unknown how many females might have been present. Previous breeding activity in Yavapai County may also suggest local breeding populations rather than simply occurring from an irruption, although the presence of this species further north in the state suggests that numbers might be inflated at least in the area this summer due to an irruption.

Other highlights included a molting male LARK BUNTING along Hwy. 15 near Hillside, a couple of BARN and WESTERN SCREECH-OWLS throughout the day, ZONE-TAILED and SWAINSON’S HAWKS, and migrant WILLOW and GRAY FLYCATCHERS, WARBLING VIREOS, a lingering LUCY’S WARBLER, a WILSON’S WARBLER, and LAZULI BUNTINGS.

Good birding,

Eric Hough
Wickenburg, AZ
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17 Aug 2017, 1:01 PM,
#5
RE: Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
I surveyed a stretch of grassland in Big Chino Valley northwest of Paulden yesterday evening and found one of the highest densities of Cassin's Sparrows I've had so far this year - 21 in a three mile stretch of Big Chino Rd stopping for counts at .5-mile intervals - and they were very vocal. I passed a lot of excellent habitat between my points and there is much more throughout the valley. I expect they number well into the hundreds at this location.

Felipe


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18 Aug 2017, 8:55 AM,
#6
RE: Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
Although CASP vocalization on the Cornville site has all but ceased, an adult carrying food this morning testifies to their persistence and success. In this area the sparrows are positively associated with black grama (now 2-3' H) and widely scattered velvet mesquite (mostly 5-10' H) and negatively associated with creosote.

Also present; timely Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and an early flock of Brewer's Sparrow.
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22 Aug 2017, 8:10 AM,
#7
RE: Cassin's Sparrows in Yavapai Co.
A nest containing five nestlings on 20 August confirms breeding for Cassin's Sparrow along Ash Creek north of Cordes Lakes.

Felipe Guerrero


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