On January 2nd, I found a first for my patch, Hermit Thrush. I know, most of you have probably had one or two HETHs in your yard, but a patcher is a patcher. Continuing with my patch birding, I was out birding on December 4th about an eighth of a mile from my house and I heard my lifer and patch bird 199 Grasshopper Sparrow, calling from an alfalfa field. But I wasn't exactly elated about tramping through the field in front of my neighbor's house who happens to be a cop. The following Sunday I took my first morning of patch birding in a long time. I decided to hike, bike, and bird around a riparian forest south of Dean and Beloat roads. As I stopped in the middle of a nice clearing I started to hear a call that I had just heard at Hassayampa a couple of weeks before. I then approached the sound when I noticed it was my 200th patch bird, a Winter Wren! As I pished and waited I got a couple of nice looks at this tiny little skulker. I also found another new bird for my patch, a Brown Creeper.
The next "Booya Moment" I had was when I found a McCown's Longspur on December 18th, and then on the following day I found two McCown's Longspurs and my lifer Lapland Longspur. The last time I saw these birds February 12th 2015 my count was at 3 McCown's and 3 Laplands! Unfortunately today I went searching for them without being able to even find the flock of Horned Larks that they stay with.
Lapland giving McCown "the dirty look"
On January 8th I found a beautiful adult male American Redstart south of Dean and Beloat. I knew I was going to see an adult male AMRE some day and somewhere but I didn't think it was going to be in AZ or even better, my Patch!
I then returned to the riparian area on January 19th and had a 7 warbler species day, one of which I did not expect at all! As I started to scan the trees for some different songbirds I heard a Black-throated Gray Warbler calling, so I approached the mixed feeding flock when I saw what I believed was the BTYW but it just didn't seem right. As I looked up at the tree I couldn't see any movement but after waiting a little while I got a glimpse of the bird as it hopped on the other side of the tree. This bird was a major pain in the undertail coverts, and talking about undertail coverts that was the only part of the bird I was able to see, but when I did see its white undertail coverts with black streaking I knew it was a Black-and white Warbler!!! It took me over fifteen minutes of looking through the forest in frustration to finally get an okay look, and after that the bird was starting to calm down.
The next amazing encounter on my Patch was on January 26th when I found a Greater Pewee near my house. And then on the 28th I went in search of the pewee with Mr. Tommy D and we didn't just relocate the pewee, but we found a Broad-billed Hummingbird! Unfortunately the hummingbird didn't want its picture taken.