Meteor Crater & Buffalo Range Rd: Montane species, interesting flycatchers
5 Oct 2017, 11:14 AM,
Meteor Crater & Buffalo Range Rd: Montane species, interesting flycatchers
Meteor Crater RV Park had very high activity this morning, including a number of species of interest for the location. Notable, were a handful of species that are unusual away from the mountains: 1 Cassin's Finch, 1 Lewis's Woodpecker and 1 Townsend's Solitaire. A Lewis's Woodpecker was also seen on Saturday, 30 September at Raymond Ranch, suggesting possible widespread movement of this species.

Other birds at Meteor Crater included very strong numbers of flycatchers...about half a dozen Hammond's and one Gray. Robins are increasing and I found two Hermit Thrushes skulking about. There were many Yellow-rumped Warblers (all Audubon's) and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

At Buffalo Range Road I was surprised to find a second Cassin's Finch at Anderson Canyon, suggesting the possibility that this species may have a major irruption year.

Here are some pictures of the very cooperative flycatchers today. I think that all the birds are Hammond's Flycatchers, but I am perplexed at the difference in bill color of the last bird (#3) in the series below.

Flycatcher #1 (2 pics):


Flycatcher #2 (2 pics):


Flycatcher #3 (2 pics) - this bird has a long primary projection (makes me think Hammond's), but a bright orange bill...thoughts?:


Flagstaff, AZ
6 Oct 2017, 6:03 AM,
RE: Meteor Crater & Buffalo Range Rd: Montane species, interesting flycatchers
Birds of North America Online has the answer I was looking for regarding the bright orange lower mandible of the third Hammond's Flycatcher above:
"Lower mandible dusky with slightly paler base in adults to mostly orange in immatures (Pyle 1997c).“
Odd that this trait isn't mentioned more often in field guides.

6 Oct 2017, 1:35 PM,
RE: Meteor Crater & Buffalo Range Rd: Montane species, interesting flycatchers
Lewis's Woodpecker at Wupatki HQ Friday.  Also a Flicker at 3 other sites along that road, migration.

Also had a bird at Doney Picnic Area (USFS within Wupatki) that was rufous brown over the whole back.  Didn't look like a long tail of Brown Thrasher; brief look, I reported it as a Veery.  That was about 8:55 AM.  Birds were staying in Junipers so probably not worth a trip out unless you want to harvest Juniper berries.

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