We have recently taken a week long vacation in Arizona. Part of it being in Mesa where I have family there and the other part four days in southeast Arizona birding!
The first day down there we went to Madera Canyon, in search of the Elegant Trogon. Last year we looked for this bird and couldn't find it. So this year we did a little research, asked where people were seeing it and were told the Carrie Nation Trail was a good place to look. But before getting to the top of Madera Canyon we made a few stops along the way.
|Greater Roadrunner with prey|
Our first stop was Proctor Rd trail. There we saw nothing new and were about to leave when we ran into a guide, Richard of Birding is Fun,(he does birding tours in southeast AZ among other locations) that he had spotted a Northern Beardless-Tyranulet. LIFER! He pointed it out to us and also pointed out where to look for Botteri's Sparrow. Can't believe we finally got this bird! We would have missed this bird if not for meeting him along the trail! Thank you! You can find his page here.
Next we traveled up to the feeders at Santa Rita Lodge. They have around 10-15 different feeders. We sat there for a while and watched the hummingbirds saw Magnificent, Broad-billed, Anna's, and Black-chinned. Other species were all common birds for the area. Mexican Jay, Bridled Titmouse, Lesser Goldfinch, Blue Grosbeak, Acorn Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, Bronzed Cowbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, and even a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew through and cleared out all the other birds!
|Gray Hawk chicks|
Down the road from Santa Rita Lodge is a nest on the top of a sycamore tree with 2 Gray Hawk chicks! We saw the momma once but didn't get a shot as she just flew through. But the chicks were calling all day, as we stopped by the nest a few different times!
Next we made our way up to the trail to hopefully see the Trogons! We arrived and two people were just coming back to their car from the Super Trail and said they had seen them and heard them calling. So we decided to go on the Super Trail. We started up the trail and the first bird we came across was the Black-throated Warbler. There wasn't a whole lot of birds that we could see heard a few though. Once we got to the area where they were calling we tried to see them from the trail but couldn't see them. Simon did see a pair fly through the canyon, but I missed it. We waited about 30 minutes until going back down the trail and decided to come back tomorrow and walk down into the rock bed below the trail.
So the next day we got up nice and early and arrived at the trail at 6 AM and headed up where we were before and walked down into the rock bed. The first bird I spotted I thought was just a Dark-eyed Junco, Simon took a shot of it and it turned out to be a Yellow-eyed Junco! LIFER!! There was a bunch down in the rock bed along with a pair of Painted Redstarts chasing each other in the tops of the trees!
We started to walk down the bed and heard a Elegant Trogon (LIFER)calling and spotted it once 50 feet away! It was still very shaded in the canyon so those shots didn't turn out to well. He flew off and I spotted a female calling up above the trail in a high tree. After a few shots of her she also flew off. Walking down the trail we heard a little bird calling and that turned out to be a House Wren. We spotted the Trogon again and were quiet a ways down the bed got some nice shots of the Trogon. Here's a few shots.
After we got the Trogon we left Madera Canyon and traveled up to Mount Lemmon. On the way up to Rose Canyon Lake we stopped off at some Vista points and got some great panoramic shots! Here's a few~
|Windy Point Vista 6000 ft|
|Windy Point Vista|
Next we spotted a bunch of juvenile Painted Redstarts; we could tell they were young ones because of the lacking red on the chest.
|Juvie Painted Redstart|
We drove to the top and got this shot. There wasn't many birding opportunities and there was like 20 cops standing around so we got out of their way. As we thought maybe they were going to be doing a exercise/training or something.
|From the top of Mt. Lemmon|
Before the sun went completely down we went back to the area were our Arizona birding guide said was a reliable spot to find Canyon and Rock Wrens. Earlier in the afternoon we stopped there and didn't see any birds! But we saw a Canyon Wren (LIFER) right away! They were not being very cooperative in letting us take their picture, but I kept pursuing them and found this one having dinner between some rocks! Grasshopper was for dinner!
Almost to the bottom of Mt. Lemmon here's the sunset over Tuscon.
|Sunset over Tuscon, AZ|
We headed up to Carr Canyon in the morning drove all the way to the top and walked down the Comfort Springs Trail. Didn't really see anything new just a huge pile of fresh bear scat! But we did see Black-headed Grosbeak, Mexican Jay, Robin, and some beetles mating!
|Pleasing Fungus Beetles|
After leaving there we headed over to Miller Canyon for some hummingbird action and hoped for the Spotted Owls that have been seen there. We did see plenty of hummingbirds~ Anna's, Black-chinned, Broad-billed, Magnificent, and Broad-billed. We were hoping to see the White-eared Hummingbird that was spotted there in recent weeks but it hadn't been spotted for a few days.
After 15-20 minutes at the feeders we decided to go look for the Spotted Owls. We never seen any owls...but after we got back we found out about a sighting of Lucifer Hummingbird at Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast's feeders in the evening right at dusk.
So we headed over to Ash Canyon B&B around 5pm. We saw a lot of nice birds there. Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Mexican Jay, White-winged and Mourning Doves, Black-headed Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Scott's Oriole(LIFER), Ladder-backed Woodpecker and many others.
|Ladder-backed Woodpeckers female feeding her mate.|
|Scott's Oriole eating a orange.|
In the end we decided to journey over to Ramsey canyon right away in the morning for the Blue-throated Hummingbird then off to Garden Canyon to search for the Buff-Breasted Flycatcher and by ten am off to Mt. Lemmon to pick up the Red-faced Warbler(that we already had as a lifer but didn't have for the year).
First thing in the morning we traveled into Ramsey Canyon. We did see the Blue-throated Hummingbird at the feeders at a B&B in Ramsey Canyon. Then after getting the hummingbird we traveled over to Garden Canyon. On the way to the canyon we saw a group of Scaled Quail (LIFER) along the roadside. Once we got to the trail we saw a couple Western Wood-Pewee, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Cassin's Kingbird, Plumbeous Vireo, and a Buff-breasted Flycatcher(LIFER!!!). On our way out of the canyon we saw a Black Bear cross the road, sadly we didn't get a shot as he kept on running up the canyon.
After leaving Garden Canyon we traveled up to Mt. Lemmon to see if we could find the Red-faced Warblers. Just as the elderly gentleman had told us we traveled up to Interceptor Road off of Catalina Highway. One lane road all the way up! Not that far up but still. We got some amazing shots once at the top of the road!
|Near the Parking Lot|
Then I took this one at the top of the trail.
We weren't seeing any warblers up there on the trail just a lot of Yellow-eyed Juncos and some bluebirds. So we saw a couple little pull offs along the way up so we decided to check out those spots. The first one didn't yield anything but Painted Redstarts. The second one was a lot more promising. Right away we saw some Red-faced Warblers! They are such cute little birds! Here's a nice shot~~
After we got our fill of Red-faced Warblers we headed back to Mesa, Arizona were we stayed at my aunts house for the remainder of our vacation.
My aunt and I did go out to Salt River and look for the wild horses. While there we saw a Gnatcatchers. That I thought were just Blue-gray Gnatcatchers but turned out to be Black-tailed Gnatcatchers. A Lifer for me, sadly Simon wasn't there so we are even on lifer list now. He saw Broad-tailed Hawk last year and I missed it and still haven't seen it!
We also saw some interesting lizard on our trip! Here's so shots of those!
We also saw some interesting lizard on our trip! Here's so shots of those!
|Grassland Whiptail Lizard seen at Ash Canyon B&B|
|Greater Earless Lizard seen at Salt River|
|Mountain Spiny Lizard seen in Madera Canyon|