Thursday, November 3, 2011

Atascosa Highlands CBC Set for Monday, January 2, 2012

Mark your calendars for January 2, and contact the compiler to sign up for the Most Awesome CBC in Arizona!

John Yerger has agreed to step in and organize the count this year since Jake Mohlmann and I (Rich Hoyer) won't be in the country during the entire CBC season.

Contact him at john at adventurebirding dot com to sign up.


Why is this the Most Awesome CBC in the state? The circle was brilliantly designed in 1960 by Bill Harrison and has the following fabulous features:

• It encompasses the maximum amount of public property possible in this region, being sandwiched between areas of private property.

• The five largest landowners within the circle boundaries (not counting tiny mining claims scattered here and there) give us permission to count on their land, including the town of Ruby, Bear Valley Ranch, and three ranches on the western edge.

• It excludes as much of Mexico as possible while still hugging the border.

• In includes – just barely – both Arivaca and Peña Blanca Lakes.

• The entire U.S. breeding range of Five-striped Sparrow is in the circle (not including occasional outliers in some years). What is more amazing is that in 1960 the species had not been discovered yet in this country.

• It has the highest concentrations of Montezuma Quail, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, and wintering Elegant Trogon of any CBC circle in the country.

• It usually places in the top 5 US circles in the number of species with the annual high count (snagging first place in 2009-2010).

• In 2010-2011 it had the most participants of any CBC in Arizona (66).

• It has a stunningly gorgeous landscape, with rolling hills, canyons, cliffs and endless opportunities for cross-country hiking.

• It's such a wild a remote region that at one point there were two wild Jaguars roaming this back country.

• There are no Starlings, Rock Pigeons, House Sparrows or Great-tailed Grackles.

I recommend reading all the archives of this blog (links on the right), as most are still quite pertinent. Two of the most useful show maps of the circle, so here are links directly to those posts:

General location of the circle


More detailed map of the circle

Have fun!

Photo at top: Painted Redstart. Scattered individuals and pairs winter in the more wooded canyons in the circle. Last year, with 9, Atascosa Highlands CBC had the highest number in the U.S.

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