12 August 2009

AZ Birds

The birds of southeastern Arizona are always enjoyable. Our recent trip was a success, we tallied about 160 species without even touching shorebirds or waterfowl!

I managed 7 ABA lifers. They were (in order):

Black-capped Gnatcatcher
Sinaloa Wren
Lucifer Hummingbird
Buff-breasted Flycatcher
Bendire's Thrasher
Scott's Oriole
Black-chinned Sparrow

I also SAW several species that I had never visually "seen" before:

Montezuma Quail
Elf Owl
Whiskered Screech-Owl
Western Screech-Owl
Red-faced Warbler

We had great luck with quail! We saw broods of both Scaled and Gambel's. What's more exciting was how frequently we stumbled on Montezuma Quail (at least 5 times)!

Here is a SCALED QUAIL near Madera Canyon:

And here is a MONTEZUMA QUAIL also below Madera Canyon:

Below is a Gambel's Quail near the "Willow Tank" (near Rodeo, NM):

We also had decent luck with raptors. We tallied:
Zone-tailed (4)
Short-tailed (1)
Gray (5+)
Harris's (1)
Cooper's (3)
Am. Kestrel

Our most interesting find was a ZONE-TAILED HAWK in Aravaipa attending young! Below is that Zone-tailed:

Another highlight was finding the SHORT-TAILED HAWK at Barfoot Park in the Chiricahuas:

And you can't forget GRAY HAWKS. This one was soaring above Sycamore Canyon:

One of my favorite birding spots near Tucson is Catalina State Park. After dark, we had this nice look at a WESTERN SCREECH-OWL:

And the GREATER ROADRUNNERS there always provide something to photograph:

A definite highlight of this trip were the hummingbirds. We tallied an amazing 12 species (not bad for the US, huh?). I managed photos of all 12 kinds:

One of the rarer species we saw were the WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRDS (2-3) in Miller Canyon:

Below is a VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD at the Portal Store. We also saw this species at the Patton's house in Patagonia.

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS are back in se AZ during August. Here is a nice male:

One of the largest hummingbird species in the US is the MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD:

A personal highlight for me was seeing the LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS at Mary Jo's feeders in Ash Canyon. The picture isn't great but that's not what matters! Here's the male:

One of the harder hummingbirds to find during our stay was Calliope. However, this male CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD was at the Portal Store:

Don't forget about BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD. Here is a male in Miller Canyon:

A very common hummer in AZ was the BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD:

A tricky guy to photograph, below is a BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD in Miller Canyon. This individual proceeded to bathe in the rain:

Another very common hummer was the BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD:

ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRDS were also pretty common. This male was at Miller Canyon:

And lastly, it's been a very good year in se AZ for BERYLLINE HUMMINGBIRDS. There are multiple birds in Miller Canyon. Here is one of those birds:

Many birders enjoy the ELEGANT TROGONS found in southeastern AZ. We came across this species many times during our trip (Madera, Sawmill, and Scheelite Canyons):

We also saw quite a few species of woodpeckers. Here is an ARIZONA WOODPECKER:

... and the ACORN WOODPECKERS provided something to check out as well:

Flycatchers of all different varieties can be found while birding AZ. Here is a NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYANNULET below Madera Canyon:

... and TROPICAL KINGBIRDS at Tubac:


A highlight for me was seeing 10+ BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHERS in Sawmill Canyon! There were a couple family groups and I watched as adults fed young, etc:

Another highlight was seeng a long-time nemesis bird of mine: the BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER. This female was at Florida Canyon in the Santa Ritas:

Since the ID of gnatcatchers can be a challenge, it was helpful to have a clear look at the undertail (note the mostly white tail and the graduated tail feathers). The bird cooperated stuningly:

Below is a BRIDLED TITMOUSE, a common species in southeastern AZ:

The MEXICAN CHICKADEE only occurs in the US on one mountain range, the Chiricahuas. We had great looks at this species at many locations during our visit:

As far as thrashers go, we had good looks of a BENDIRE'S THRASHER near Rodeo. Note the yellow iris, straight bill (compared to Curve-billed), and the pale base of the bill:

Below are two of the target warblers we found. First a RED-FACED WARBLER near Pinery campground:

...and this PAINTED REDSTART at Madera Canyon:

Other warblers we saw included:

Black-throated Gray
C. Yellowthroat

Some sparrows and things we saw also included this VARIED BUNTING below Madera Canyon:

... and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS at Catalina State Park near Tucson:

Many of the grasslands there this time of year have singing CASSIN'S and BOTTERI'S SPARROWS. Below is a BOTTERI'S below Madera Canyon:

Also, while up in the Chiricahuas, YELLOW-EYED JUNCOS were quite common: