Agua Fria River at Humbolt Exploration, Yavapai Co.
Willow Flycatcher, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and general bird surveys
17 June 2017
Leaders: Troy Corman, Chrissy Kondrat-Smith and Felipe Guerrero
Known to a few local birders and conserved by local property owners, this unique privately owned section of the Agua Fria River at Humboldt has had a number of exceptional avian finds the last few years. Among the towering cottonwoods and willows such birds as Gray Hawk and breeding Common Black Hawks have been noted. Territorial singing Willow Flycatchers and confirmed breeding Yellow-billed Cuckoos are among other past highlights. Likely many additional species are just waiting to be discovered.
The cuckoo and flycatcher are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act, and Chrissy and Troy plan to conduct official call playback surveys for them in the morning of 17 June. Since they will be official surveys, Troy can only have 2-3 other folks with him to do the flycatchers surveys and the same number of participants can go with Chrissy to survey for cuckoos. Since this is only about a mile of good riparian habitat, these surveys should be completed before mid-morning. Following these surveys, participants and others that join later will survey and explore the entire area to not only document what species breed there, but attempt to obtain a good count of individuals of each species.
There are two parts to this unique AZFO Expedition, with surveys for both cuckoos and flycatchers beginning by 0515 (sunrise), so participants would need to meet no later than 0500 at the location. Otherwise, interested participants can meet at 0700 to explore the riparian area for all species. Contact Troy (aplomadoATcox.net) if you would like to join him for the flycatcher surveys and contact Chrissy (azdesertbirdATgmail.com) if you would like to join her for the cuckoo surveys. If you would like to simply join the entire group later at 0700, please contact Felipe (fplguerreroATgmail.com). A meeting location will be provided to those interested participants.
Things to know and bring:
If you wish to carpool please contact one of the expedition leaders.
We will be hiking and exploring in an area with no trails, so please come prepared for a little bush whacking. The entire ground cover will be dry grass with annoying seed heads that will penetrate into your socks and shoes. We also may need to cross the flowing drainage a few times to survey the entire area. Day packs are recommended to carry snacks, water, layers, sunscreen, etc.
Food and Water
Participants will need to provide their own food and water.
Participants should bring the following: binoculars, hats, sunscreen, several layers of clothes, insect repellant, sturdy hiking shoes that cover and support ankles, long pants, and possibly a change of shoes to cross the narrow river.
June is typically the driest months of the year, when little to no precipitation can fall and cloudless skies are the norm. Temperatures can be moderate to hot by late morning when we should be done.