Morning Birding Species List | September 19, 2017
September 19, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 7:30AM – 10:30AM
Weather: sunny, breezy
Location: Rock Bottom Ranch
Today’s outing was particularly fun with a mix of wonderful new and seasoned birders in our group, as well as a few exciting bird observations that punctuated an otherwise somewhat quiet day. As expected, Pine Siskins and both American and Lesser Goldfinches were gorging on ripe seedheads in a weedy area behind the chicken barn. Over the lower Buckhorn Trail, a Sharp-shinned Hawk was mobbed by Black-billed Magpies, putting on an aerial show for several minutes running. There was a lot of chasing and close maneuvering, and even possibly some contact between the hawk and the mapgies. We were able to see key field marks for separating Sharp-shinned Hawk from Cooper’s Hawk: this bird appeared ‘neck-less’ (when perched); had pencil-thin, yellow legs and fine, long toes; its tail was squared off at the tip (in flight); and the hawk was a wee bit smaller than the magpies… all stacking up as a Sharp-shinned. Size is usually very difficult to estimate in the field, but with the magpies so close to the hawk, the comparison was easy and very helpful in clinching this ID. This moment was one of the finest in birding, and so rich in learning for our group! Afterward, we observed more than a dozen wild turkeys crossing the Rio Grande Trail, another treat! Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jays finished off the morning for us, with many great views of these birds both perched and in flight overhead. This wraps up our Morning Birding outings at Rock Bottom Ranch for the year. Join us at ACES for Morning Birding through the winter on the first Tuesday of each month, and for the Christmas Bird Count, date TBD!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong