Thursday, March 27, 2014

Volunteer Spotlight Brian Nicholas' Top Bird Lists


Brian Nicholas is the Volunteer Spotlight in the April/May/June issue of the Vermilion Flycatcher. We couldn't fit all the interesting info about him in the magazine article (or here for that matter), so read on for some of Brian's birding hot lists.

Favorite birding spot. The varied habitats along the Tanque Verde Wash, and our yard. When I was young I envisioned my dream house to have fields and moutains and a stream going by the house. This habitat has a wash, desert scrub, nearby mountains, fields, a pecan grove, a cattail pond and lake, along with beautiful riparian stretches of mesquite, cottonwoods, and Arizona Walnut. I do believe I found my dream house and more.

Favorite sighting. The semi-annual sightings of Long-eared Owl in our area are always unpredictable and breathtaking.

Funniest Birding Experience. Sending in a video to Mark Stevenson of a Grasshopper Sparrow for verification, and having him not only verify the sparrow but to point out a Bobolink I had miscalled earlier in the tape. It's one of the best birds seen in our neighborhood and I am thankful for his catch.

Best birds in neighborhood. Bobolink, Clay-colored Sparrow, RB Merganser, Long-eared Owl, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Horned Grebe (Paul Suchanek), Bay-breasted Warbler (Richard Fray). Yellow-eyed Junco, Sagebrush Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Mexican Jay, Prothonotary Warbler, American Redstart, American White Pelican, Arizona Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Common Grackle, Rusty Blackbird (Mark Stevenson), American Crow, Least Bittern, Greater Pewee, Tropical Kingbird, Lewis's Woodpecker, Tricolored Heron, Cattle Egret, Sage Thrasher, Gray Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Bald Eagle, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Grasshopper Sparrow. White-eyed Vireo, Violet-Crowned Hummingbird, Greater White-fronted Goose.

Neighborhood Wish list
Common Black Hawk
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Crested Caracara
Many warbler species
Varied Bunting
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow

Biggest Challenge
Getting out early to bird. Sometimes yard birds make it difficult to go out since it is so exciting just looking out the window. Our cats also encourage me to sleep in with them. I recently led a sleep in special bird trip which was very popular, so it is comforting to know I am not alone. There others who enjoy birds, and sleeping in!

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