The first in the LCRV this fall turned up south of Blythe in Riverside County, CA, September 20. It was discovered by Jesse Swift. I figured that they must be around in appropriate habitat, so I visited 'Ahakhav Tribal Preserve on September 22. I briefly heard the "ink-ink" calls of a nuthatch, but no amount of searching, pishing, or owl calls could make it surface or call again, so I gave it up. Now that I've really experienced how quiet these birds can be, I'm sure that it was a Red-breasted Nuthatch. The next day, one was seen by Cyrus Moqtaderi and others at Cibola NWR, La Paz County.
Spending a week in the Bay Area, I saw Red-breasted Nuthatches in just about every tree I cared to check. When I returned home two days ago, I was ready to try again! During a stop at Rotary Park in Lake Havasu City, I saw at least one nuthatch--probably more like four.
|Nuthatch at Rotary Park|
Today was dedicated to nuthatches in La Paz County, a county where nuthatches aren't found in a typical year. After an hour and a half of searching at the Bill Williams River NWR, one of the little guys decided to call, allowing me to get a short sound recording. Later in the afternoon, one was at 'Ahakhav. I saw it while it foraged, and it never called. These irrupting birds have been so skulky and silent, I wonder how many are really out there.
|Nuthatch at 'Ahakhav|
Other good birds have been around in the past few days, too. A Prothonotary Warbler has been at Cape Havasu for the past two days, photographed by John West today. An exceptionally late Brown-crested Flycatcher conveniently called right as I was recording another bird today at the Bill. Another cool sight at the Bill today was a flock of 500 Red-necked Phalaropes wheeling over the water in the Delta.