Cinder cones north of Sunset Crater
15 Feb 2018, 11:38 AM,
#1
Cinder cones north of Sunset Crater
My appointment with jury duty got canceled today, so I made use of a couple hours of unscheduled time to wander around some of the cinder cones north of Sunset Crater. I explored Forest Road 546, which heads north just beyond the east boundary of Sunset Crater National Monument. The road is a nice cinder surface and passes through open pinyon and ponderosa forest. I went as far as Black Mountain, which I scrambled up to see the view and stretch my legs. Full disclosure is that Sunset Crater has historical winter records of rosy-finches, which I did not see today, but FR546 is a good way to explore a lot of appropriate habitat.

The whole area was pretty finch-y today, though there was nothing unusual. There were several good-sized flocks of Cassin's Finches, totaling 100+ birds, a couple smallish Red Crossbill flocks, a handful of Clark's Nutcrackers, and three nuthatch species.

The light coating of melting snow made for spectacular scenery.

   

   

   

   

Jason
Flagstaff, AZ
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15 Feb 2018, 1:46 PM,
#2
RE: Cinder cones north of Sunset Crater
Here is some audio from the crossbills. Please feel free to explain to me what I am hearing...(alarm call?, flight call?, something else?, Type 2 birds?)

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16 Feb 2018, 10:56 AM,
#3
RE: Cinder cones north of Sunset Crater
From the good folks at Cornell who remain incredibly upbeat about interpreting clips of crossbill vocalizations, here is an interpretation of the sound file above: "This sounds and looks like chitter/song fragments."

In other words, not flight calls, and so not diagnostic to crossbill sub-type.

Jason
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