I have spent most of my life in Florida, but in 2011 I moved to Dolan Springs, in northwestern Arizona. Dolan Springs is surrounded by Bureau of Land Management land, including Mt. Tipton Wilderness Area, less than a mile from my home. A little further away there is Lake Meade Recreational Area and the west rim of the Grand Canyon. Eager to learn the plant and animal life on these diverse natural landscapes, this area became my class room and playground. In 2014 I began submitting bird checklist to eBird, and now this Dawn Chorus gives me an opportunity to report some of the observations made in this area.
The Mojave Desert covers approximately 50,000 square miles in parts of southern California, southern Nevada, northwestern Arizona and a small area in southwestern Utah (MacKay, P. 2003). The discussion in this Dawn Chorus covers a small part of this area in Desert Scrub habitat around Dolan Springs in northwestern Arizona. Desert scrub in this part of the Mojave can be found at elevations of 3,000 to 4,500 feet., from the desert floor to slightly higher alluvial fans and on to the foot hills of the Cerbat Mountains. The dominant vegetation is Creoste Bush (Larrea tridentata) and White Bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) at lower elevations, blending into Joshua Tree (Yucca brevifolia) habitat at the higher elevations. Other common plants in the scrub are several sages (Salvia spp), Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), Mormon Tea (Ephedra viridis), Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera), thorn bush (Lycium spp.) and Cat-claw Acacia (Acacia greggii).
Dolan Springs is in Mohave County, AZ, and according to ebird records, 400 bird species have been reported. The county covers a diverse natural area, with mountains over 7,000 feet to low elevation sites along the Colorado River, including several large reservoirs. Data for this report were created by make an ebird patch using 12 locations that have been reported in complete checklist which occurred in desert scrub habitat. This ebird patch covered a period of 8 years, with 868 checklists resulting with 91 bird species.
Year Round Desert Scrub Residents: Gambel’s Quail, Mourning Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Anna’s Hummingbird, Red-tailed Hawk, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Gilded Flicker, American Kestrel, Prairie Falcon, Say’s Phoebe, Loggerhead Shrike, Common Raven, Verdin, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, Crissal Thrasher, Northern Mockingbird, House Finch, Black-throated Sparrow.
Year Round Mohave County Residents That are Seen in Scrub Part of the Year: Golden Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Flicker, Woodhouse Scrub Jay, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Rock Wren, Western Bluebird, Mountain Bluebird, Phainopepla, Canyon Towhee, Western Meadowlark.
Spring, Summer and Fall Desert Scrub Birds: Black-chinned Hummingbird, Costa’s Hummingbird, Lesser Nighthawk, Turkey Vulture, Zone-tailed Hawk, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Bullock’s Oriole, Scott’s Oriole, Brown-headed Cowbird, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Violet-green Swallow, Western Tanager, Black-headed Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler.
Fall, Winter and Spring Desert Scrub Birds: Northern Harrier, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Bewick’s Wren, Sage Thrasher, American Robin, Brewer’s Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Migrants Passing Through: Western Wood-Pewee, Dusky Flycatcher, Gray Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Chipping Sparrow, Tree Swallow, MacGillivray’s Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler.
Invasive Species: Rock Dove, Eurasian Collared Dove, House Sparrows were seen throughout the year, but only because some locations were near buildings and other human artifacts used by these bird species. I don’t believe they would be seen in undeveloped desert scrub.
Finally we get to the photos.
Now It's Your Turn.
What have you noted happening in your area or travels? As usual post your observations as well as their general location in the comments.
MacKay, P. 2003. Mojave Desert Wildflowers. Falcon, An Imprint of the Globe Pequot Press.
eBird, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
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