Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Madera Aztec Thrush

I've updated the maps to show the location of the Aztec Thrush that was reported on 11/17 and 11/20. Basically it is about 250 yards up the Old Baldy Trail from the well-documented "x" (which is about 1.75 miles from the parking lot). There is a Madrone tree with lots of fruit (red berries) just left of the trail - both sightings have been from this tree.
I've also included the 11/16 observation of the Eared Quetzal and the 11/18 observation of the Crescent-chested Warbler, the only ones I know of for either since the last update. I wonder if the recent cold front that moved through had an effect, or if there are fewer birders looking... I suspect the former. There's another front coming through - who knows what could blow in. Or out.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Map Key
Red: Aztec Thrush
Green: Eared Quetzal
Orange: Crescent-chested Warbler

detail of upper Old Baldy Trail, looking south - click for larger

upper Madera Canyon, looking south - click for larger

area map:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Madera 13Nov07

Just a quick update to the maps, plus a revised list of sightings and times. I finally saw this Crescent-chested Warbler this morning on my fourth try and was pleased to make some new friends as well. I heard the Eared Quetzal well up the canyon from the "X" at 9am. It would probably have been audible from the Agua Caliente Trail. I hiked all the way up to the Agua Caliente Trail from the X, something I do not recommend. Any self-respecting quetzal heard me coming a mile away and departed long before I made it up... only the kinglets stuck around to laugh at me as I "hiked" - more like a controlled fall uphill. I'll stick closer to the trails next time.

See previous posts for more details on these two birds.

Eared Quetzal

10-28-07 . . . 1:30pm
10-29-07 . . . 4:15pm
10-31-07 . . . 12:00pm
11-1-07 . . . 10:40am
11-3-07 . . . 12:30pm
11-4-07 . . . 9:30am
11-4-07 . . . 11:00am
11-4-07 . . . 12:00pm
11-4-07 . . . 12:30pm
11-6-07 . . . 4:15pm
11-9-07 . . . 9:10am
11-9-07 . . . 10:00am
11-10-07 . . . 12:30pm
11-13-07 . . . 9:00am

Crescent-chested Warbler

10-30-07. . 10:00am
11-6-07 . . . 9:00am
11-7-07 . . . 10:40am
11-9-07 . . . 10:00am
11-10-07 . . . 1:15pm
11-10-07 . . . 2:00pm
11-11-07 . . . 11:45am
11-12-07 . . . 1:00pm
11-13-07 . . . 10:15am
11-13-07 . . . 11:50am

An updated view of the upper canyon, looking south. Green is for Eared Quetzal, Pink for Crescent-chested Warbler. Click for larger view.

Detail of the Old Baldy Trail near the top, click for larger view:

The red "x" is where the main wash crosses the trail, marked by two crossed logs. As you can see most of the observations are from this area.

Map of area:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Madera Canyon Update

Update to the previous entry

I have plotted 8 of the reported encounters with the Eared Quetzal(s) of Upper Madera Canyon. A ninth report was limited to “Agua Caliente Trail.” If anyone can give a better estimate of a location (preferably GPS coordinates) I will update the map. In addition I have plotted the two Crescent-chested Warbler sightings to the best of my ability.

Eight data points is enough to make some preliminary observations. Elevations range from 5920 feet along the Carrie Nation Trail to 7330 feet on the Agua Caliente Trail. 25% of the observations (2) are from the eastern Old Baldy / Super Trail drainage, and 75% (6) are from the western Carrie Nation / Vault Mine trail drainage.

The observations fall into 3 clusters (see maps below). The first cluster is near the Carrie Nation / Vault Mine split about 0.75 mile from the parking lot. These three observations occurred at 9:30am, 11:00am, and about 12pm.
The second cluster is centered on the original observation at the top of the Carrie Nation drainage and is west of Jack Mountain. The times for these are 10:40am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm.
The third cluster is closest to Josephine Saddle and is east of Jack Mountain. The times for these two data points are 4:15-4:45pm.

More observations would certainly help decipher any patterns. If you see or hear either bird please post, or email someone who can. You could even use the "comment" section below. Good descriptions of locations will help immensely (see Moez's for an exceptional example). Other observations or conclusions are welcome and solicited!

Here are some perspectives created in Google Earth. Green circles are quetzal, pink stars are Crescent-chested warbler sightings. Click for larger view.

looking south - all sightings with dates and times, trails labeled

looking south - cleaner, showing clusters of sightings

looking south - more of a ground perspective

Here also is a map of the location. I recommend the larger view. Green placemarks with black dots are sightings, the others are heard only. Purple is the warbler.

View Larger Map

Here is a list of all reported encounters of both birds taken from the AZNM listserv.

Eared Quetzal
October 28, 2007, 1:30-1:45pm. Seen Reported by: Laurens Halsey
Location: “Agua Caliente Trail, Santa Rita Mtns, Santa Cruz Co, AZ (about ½ mile west, or towards Agua Caliente Saddle, from Josephine Saddle”

October 29, 2007, 4:15 - 4:45pm Reported by: John Yerger
Location: “The subject area is about 0.25 mi west of Josephine Saddle, and is recognized by the short, dense oaks just right of the trail.”

October 31, 2007, about 12pm Reported by: Jerry Bock
Location: “perhaps a little more than halfway up the Agua Caliente trail from its junction with the Carrie Nation trail when I heard the call of the quetzal somewhere behind me and up the slope”

November 1,2007, 10:40am. Seen Reported by: Dave & Sharon Telford
Location: “a half mile from the Josephine Saddle on the Agua Caliente Trail (exactly 0.52 mi according to my GPS). We put a small pile of rocks at the base of a pine tree three feet up on the uphill slope to mark the spot. The Quetzal was 60 feet down slope about 20 feet high in a tree then it flew off to the SW.”

November 3, 2007, 12:30pm Reported by: Laurens Halsey
Location: “Our location was approximately the same spot that I heard and saw it last Sunday afternoon (31d41.50N, 110d52.26W), we were on the Agua Caliente Trail as described in previous postings. The bird vocalizing was downhill, northeast, and possibly a few hundred feet from our location.”

November 4, 9:30am. Seen Reported by: Wayne Irvin
Location: “The location was, at most, a mile farther upstream on the Carrie Nation Trail from the fork with Old Baldy Trail.
From Mike Brady: “Headed to the spot marked near the Carrie Nation trail where he saw the bird which was roughly 100 yards up from the Vault Mine trail head.”

November 4, around 11:00am Reported by: Mike Brady
Location: “We heard the bird vocalize a couple of times upslope in an area between the Carrie Nation Trail and the Vault Mine trail.”

November 4, 12:30pm. Seen Reported by: Mike Brady
Location: “Another birder reported seeing the quetzal around 12:30 up along the Agua Caliente trail. Basically it sounds like this bird is moving around, up and down a lot but pretty much sticking to the Canyon draw the Carrie Nation trail goes up.”

November 6, 2007, 4:15pm Reported by: Moez Ali
Location: “Take the Old Baldy trail from the parking lot and hike up about 1.5 miles to a very prominent hairpin curve in the trail that has a well-defined drainage crossing the trail, now marked with two large burnt logs making an "X" just above the trail. This is the main draw we first heard the bird, about 300 yards directly up from the trail. The draw acts as a decent trail to go up the drainage and the small side draw is about 200 yards up from the trail. This area would be a good bet for the bird first thing in the morning when perhaps the bird starts out lower in the drainage around the fruiting madrones and moves up canyon later in the day, perhaps accounting for the detections later in the day.”

Crescent-chested Warbler
October 30, 2007, 10am Reported by: Matt Brown
Location: “a little more than a quarter-mile west of Josephine Saddle. The spot was near a small saddle which separates the Temporal/McBeth Spring drainage on the left from the Hopkins Fork of Madera Canyon below and to the right. The bird moved close to the trail in small silverleaf oaks”

November 6, 2007, 9am Reported by: Jim Ambrose
Location: “along the Old Baldy Trail... about half way between the trailhead and Josephine Saddle. On his way down it was about half a mile up the trail.”
The bird was reportedly in a huge mixed flock on the trail. (Moez Ali)

Friday, November 2, 2007

Casa Grande Golf Course

UPDATE 11/3/07: It is a Northern Jacana! There are only three accepted Arizona records. According to some golfers, it has been here for a month or more. Today it was on the northwestern pond on the back nine.

View Larger Map

see some stunning photos here:

Access: it is suggested that any one going to look for the jacana check in at the pro shop first to ask permission/check in. They are aware of the bird and of the birders. Be prepared for a variety of reactions from golfers (stay out of their way), and beware of stray golf balls!

From I-10: exit 190 (McCartney Rd), travel west to Pinal Ave (387), south 2 miles, right on Korsten, west 1 mile, right on Thornton to clubhouse.

From I-8: exit 172 (Thornton), travel north about 5 miles to clubhouse.

From clubhouse to best viewing spot: south on Thornton to Korsten, left to Pinal Ave, north 1 mile to Rodeo. Left on Rodeo to end of pavement; park and walk south along west edge of golf course. Bird was along edges of first pond (northwesternmost).

Note that the Casa Grande Wastewater Treatment Plant located just west of the golf course. I have not been there but recall the occasional bird report.