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01 - 04 September 2000

by Jay Taylor

Over the holiday weekend (Sept. 1-4, 2000), Martha Auslander, Kelly Hutton, Andre Lehovich and I made a birding trip to Yecora and the surrounding area.  We left Friday afternoon and spent the night camped along the Rio Yaqui near where it is crossed by Rt.  16.  We used Saturday to bird various spots along Rt.  16 between the river and Yecora, Sunday to bird along the highway between Yecora and the Sonora/Chihuahua border, and Monday to bird the Rio Sahuaripa on the road to Santa Ana and to revisit some of the birdier spots along Rt.  16 west of Yecora.  In Yecora we stayed at the King Hotel which now has hot water and is cheap at 280 pesos per room per night for a room with two large double beds.

The highlights of this trip were Golden Eagle, Gray-crowned Woodpecker, White-striped Woodcreeper, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Northern Parula, and Slate-throate Redstart.  We also had the pleasure of seeing many hatch-year birds, some still being fed by their parents, including Golden Eagle, Elegant Quail, Montezuma Quail, Verdin, Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush, Brown-backed Solitaire, Spotted Wren, Happy Wren, Rufous-capped Warbler, and Rusty Sparrow.

Locations cited are:

HD = desert along Rt.  15, about 40 km north of Hermosillo.

PR = Presa Rodriguez in Hermosillo; the reservoir is on the east side of Rt.  15.

RY = Rio Yaqui; Rt.  16 crossing (km 168).  We camped on the east bank of the river, south of the bridge and birded a small side canyon on this same side about 1/3 mile down from the bridge.

EP = first site with Sabal palms on north side of Rt.  16

k192 = bridge at km 192; you can get down into the canyon crossed by this bridge by using a cattle trail on the northeast side.

k196 = barranca at km 196; there is a large fig tree on the south side of the road and a rough trail that heads up the slope on the north side.

k257 = Bed and Breakfast at km 257; we ran into a group from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum here who were banding hummingbirds as part of a study of pollinator ecology and who kindly allowed us to stop and watch their activities.

k260 = barranca at km 260; we birded here Friday afternoon and hiked up to the second tier in search of the Gray-collared Becard nest reported by Forrest Davis - we found the nest but believe that the young have already fledged as there were no signs of activity at the nest.  A second stop early Monday morning provided some of the best birding of the trip.

k322 = km 322 along Rt.  16; there is a creek which runs perpendicular to the road.

k350 = Sonora/Chihuahua border; it is an easy hike up to the ridge on the south side of the road which was very birdy and gave great views over the adjoining valley and cliffs (these aren't visible from the road).

EY = various stops east of Yecora along Rt.  16 where we made brief stops but didn't record the km marking.

RS = Rio Sahuaripa; there is a rough dirt road to Santa Rosa at km 243 which crosses the river about 5 miles from the intersection with Rt. 16.  We birded downstream from the bridge along a trail which runs along the river.

The numbers given below are approximate.


Neotropic Cormorant : 2 RY

Great Blue Heron: 2 RY

Great Egret: 1 PR

Cattle Egret: ~75 PR

Black-crowned Night-Heron: 1 RY

White-faced Ibis: 1 PR

Mexican Mallard: ~50 PR

Turkey Vulture: many

Black Vulture: many

Red-tailed Hawk: ~5 along Rt. 15, 1 k192, 1 km 260, ~3 EY

Gray Hawk: 2 k192, 1 k196, 1 RS

Golden Eagle: 3 km 260 (1 adult with 2 vocal juveniles)

American Kestrel: 2 along Rt. 15

Crested Caracara: 1 Rt. 15; 3 Rt. 16 west of Tecoripa

Elegant Quail: 2 adults with ~ 5 young around km 140 on Rt. 16

Gambel's Quail: 1 around km 75 on Rt. 16

Montezuma Quail: 2 adults with 1 chick at k350

Black-necked Stilt: ~20 PR

Calidris sp.: ~10 PR (Western and/or Least Sandpipers)

Spotted Sandpiper: 2 RY

Rock Dove: urban areas

Mourning Dove: at various sites

White-winged Dove: Rt. 15, RY, k192, RS

Common Ground-Dove: at many sites east of the Rio Yaqui

Ruddy Ground-Dove: 1 seen at the Rio Yaqui, others heard calling

Inca Dove: RS

Band-tailed Pigeon: 1 EY

Greater Roadrunner: 1 k196; 4 EY (these 4 birds were in a group alongside the road and seemed to be chasing and playing with each other - could these be sibs hatched earlier in the year?)

Geococcyx sp.: 1 Roadrunner seen at km 197 which looked small and whose bill seemed small relative to the head; unfortunately, we never saw the throat, but this may have been a Lesser Roadrunner.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo: 1 RS

Great Horned Owl: 1 RY

Western Screech-Owl: 1 RY

Whiskered Screech-Owl: 13 along Rt. 16 in the first 10 km west of Yecora; some of these birds were giving an odd assortment of calls and screams quite unlike the two familiar calls associated with the species.

Elf Owl: 1 along Rt. 16 about 3 km west of Yecora

Northern Pygmy-Owl: 1 EY

Lesser Nighthawk: several along Rt. 15

Whip-poor-will: 1 along Rt. 16 about 5 km west of Yecora

Blue-throated Hummingbird: 2 k260

Berylline Hummingbird: ~5 k260; ~5 k257

Violet-crowned Hummingbird: 2 RY, 3 k257, 2 RS

Black-chinned Hummingbird: 1 k257

White-eared Hummingbird: 3 k260

Broad-billed Hummingbird: 1 k260, 1 RS

Rufous Hummingbird: 2 k350

Elegant Trogon: 1 k192, 1k60; 1 EY

Trogon sp.: 1 bird seen fleetingly at k260

Belted Kingfisher: 1 RY

Gila Woodpecker: 1 HD, 2 EP, 1 k292, 2 k296, 1 RS

Ladder-backer Woodpecker: 3 on the road to Santa Rosa

Strickland's Woodpecker: 1 EY

Gray-Crowned Woodpecker: 1 k196

Acorn Woodpecker: many at k260, k322, k350, EY

Northern Flicker: 1 k260, 1k322, ~5 EY

White-striped Woodcreeper: 1 k260, 1 k322, 5 EY, 2 RS

Western Wood-Pewee: 1 EP, 1 k322, 2 EY

Greater Pewee: 1 k322, ~5 EY

Cordilleran Flycatcher: 1 k196, 1 k260

Gray Flycatcher: 1 k350

Black Phoebe: 1 RY, 1 k192, 2 EY, 2 RS

Vermilion Flycatcher: 3 RY, 2 RS

Dusky-capped Flycatcher: 2 k192, 1 k260

Myiarchus sp.: 1 RS (either Nutting's or Ash-throated, but the bird was silent and not seen well enough to identify to species)

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher: 3 EP, ~5 k192, 3 k196, ~5 k322, ~10 EY

Western Kingbird: ~ 5 HD, ~20 RY

Cassin's Kingbird: ~5 in Yecora, ~5 k21, ~5 RS

Tropical Kingbird: 1 EP, 1 RS

Thick-billed Kingbird: 2 EP, 1 k192, 3 RS

Cliff Swallow: k21, ~50 RY

Barn Swallow: k21, ~5 RY, ~5 Yec

Mexican Jay: ~10 k260, ~100 EY

Steller's Jay: ~5 EY

Black-throated Magpie Jay: 3 k196, ~8 k198

Common Raven: many

Verdin: 1 juvenile RY

Bushtit: ~5 k290 (Black-eared race)

Black-capped Gnatcatcher: 1 EP, 1 k192, 2 k196, 2 RS

Cactus Wren: 1 HD

Spotted Wren: 1 adult with 2 juveniles k260

Bewick's Wren: 1 EY

Canyon Wren: 2 RY, 1 k192, 1 k196, 2 k260, ~10 EY

Happy Wren: 1 adult with 2 juveniles k260

Sinaloa Wren: 1 k260, 1 RS

White-breasted Nuthatch: 1 k257, ~5 k322, ~5 k350, ~10 EY

Brown Creeper: 3 k322, 2k350, ~3 EY

Brown-backed Solitaire: 1 juvenile k260, 1 adult with 1 juvenile EY

American Robin: ~5 EY

Rufous-backed Robin: 1 RY

Orange-billed Nightingale Thrush: 1 adult with 2 juveniles at k260; the adult was singing in the morning

Eastern Bluebird: 2 k257, 2 EY

Curve-billed Thrasher: 2 RY, 1 Yec, 1 RS

Blue Mockingbird: 1 k260

Northern Mockingbird: 1 along Rt. 15, 1 EY

Loggerhead Shrike: 1 EY

Plumbeous Vireo: 2 EY

Warbling Vireo: 1 k192, 1 k196

Yellow-Green Vireo: 2 k196

Hutton's Vireo: 1 k260, 1 k322, ~5 EY

Orange-crowned Warbler: 2 k260

Northern Parula: 1 male RS - this bird was singing and was well seen; separation from Tropical Parula was based on the presence of a broken white eye ring and absence of black from the lores. According to Russel and Davis' Birds of Sonora, this is the third record of Northern Parula for Sonora.

Parula sp.: a bird was heard singing at k196 but was not seen

Black-throated Gray Warbler: 1 k350, 2 EY

Grace's Warbler: 1 EY

Townsend's Warbler: 1 EY

Wilson's Warbler: 1 RY, 2 k260, 2 EY

Rufous-capped Warbler: 2 k192, 1 k196, 1 adult with 3 juveniles k260, 2 EY

Slate-throated Redstart: 2 k260

Painted Redstart: 2 k322, ~5 EY

Yellow-breasted Chat: ~5 RY

Hepatic Tanager: 2 k290

Western Tanager: 2 RS

Flame-colored Tanager: 1 k260

Northern Cardinal: 1 RY, 2 RS

Pyrrhuloxia: 1 along Rt. 16 west of Yecora

Varied Bunting: 3 k192, 1 RS

Blue Grosbeak: 2 EY, 2 RS

Black-headed Grosbeak: 1 RY, 1 EY

Yellow Grosbeak: 2 k192

Spotted Towhee: 1k290, ~5 EY

Canyon Towhee: 1 RY, 1 k192, 2 k196, 2 k260, ~10 EY

Lark Sparrow: ~10 HD, ~5 RY, ~5 RS

Rufous-crowned Sparrow: 2 k290, ~5 EY

Rusty Sparrow: 1 adult with 2 juveniles at k260, 1 EY

Chipping Sparrow: ~5 HD, ~5 k350

Great-tailed Grackle: urban/agricultural sites

Brown-headed Cowbird: 1 EP

Hooded Oriole: 4 along the river at Tepoca (km 214)

Streak-backed Oriole: 1 RY

House Finch: at various sites

Lesser Goldfinch: ~10 k350, ~10 EY

House Sparrow: urban sites

Jay Taylor