Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Southeast Arizona

It seems I have fallen behind on blogging again!!

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.

Antelope Jackrabbit
As we were coming into the canyon we spotted a few regular birds: Greater Roadrunner, Black-throated Sparrow, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove and an Antelope Jackrabbit. What an amazing rabbit! If you've never seen them run, they leap just like an antelope!

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.

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
After we got that lovely bird we walked over on the edge of the parking lot where the guide said there was Botteri's Sparrow. LIFER! After waiting about ten minutes sure enough we spotted it!

Botteri's Sparrow

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.

Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon

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~

Molino Canyon

Windy Point Vista 6000 ft

Windy Point Vista
We arrived at Rose Canyon Lake and saw many Yellow-eyed Juncos, Painted Redstarts, Plumbeous Vireos, and a Grace's Warbler(LIFER).

Grace's Warbler

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

Yellow-eyed Junco

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!

Canyon Wren

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

American Robin

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.

Lucifer Hummingbird
After getting TWO lifers there we headed back to our hotel for some rest and decide on what to do on our final day in southeast AZ. We thought about going to Patagonia Roadside Rest Area to look for the Thick-billed Kingbird reported there, also heard about the Blue-throated Hummingbird in Ramsey Canyon, Buff-breasted Flycatcher in Garden Canyon, we thought about going and getting the Mexican Chickadees in the Chiricahua Mountains, also heard about the Red-faced Warblers up at Mt. Lemmon that we missed the day before.

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).

Western Wood-Pewee

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.

Cordilleran Flycatcher

Buff-breasted Flycatcher

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~~

Red-faced Warbler

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!

Grassland Whiptail Lizard seen at Ash Canyon B&B

Greater Earless Lizard seen at Salt River

Mountain Spiny Lizard seen in Madera Canyon

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


On Thursday ,April 27th, down in Texas we traveled to Delta Lake near Monte Alto, TX.

Right away we spotted a Great Kistadee perched on the railing. Beyond the railing was some water that some Black-necked Stilts were enjoying the day. Also some Blue-winged Teals were searching for food.
Going deeper into the park we found a lot of swallows but could not see any Bank Swallows. (The only swallow we need, as a lifer.) Arriving in the back of the park we saw some birds up in the trees and got out to investigate. We found a Magnolia Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. We also saw a few flycatchers that turned out to be Western Wood-Pewees.

Great Kistadee in nest

We were about to leave when we caught sight of a Great Kistadees nest. The pair was watching the nest and came in and feed chicks or checked on the eggs, couldn't tell if there were chicks in there or not.

After leaving there we headed for Edinburg World Bird Center. There we saw Long-billed Thrasher, Least 
Grebe (LIFER), Fulvous Whistling-Ducks (LIFER), and a White-eyed Vireo (LIFER) fledgling!

Long-billed Thrasher

It was there that the naturalist on site told us about the FALLOUT that was happening at South Padre Island. Before leaving a couple told us about the fallout also and said the trees were so orange with all the orioles, and they needed oranges!

Are you serious! Wow!

Hooded Warbler

We rushed right over there! Picked a few bags of oranges along the way! It was raining when we arrived, so we put on our ponchos. LOL the ponchos are huge!

Chestnut-sided Wabler

We got there around 4pm and cut up a bag of oranges and set them out for the birds.


Right away we spotted Gray Catbird, Painted Buntings, and Baltimore Orioles. The orioles were everywhere! We walked over to the trees and saw tons of warblers; they were crawling on the tree branches! The poor little wet things looked so tired.

Prothonotary Warbler
Here is a list of Warblers

Nashville Mangolia  LIFER
Hooded LIFER
Swainson’s LIFER
Canada LIFER
Kentucky LIFER
Golden-winged LIFER
Cerlean LIFER
Overbird LIFER
American Redstart
Northern Parula 
Yellow Warbler
Northern Waterthrush 
Common Yellowthroat

Painted Bunting

Gray-cheeked Thrush


Hermit All Lifers! 
Wood Thrush



Baltimore Orioles
Water Birds

Tri-colored Heron
Green Heron 
Least Bittern 
American Bittern 
Black-crowned Night-Heron 
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron 
Long-billed Dowitcher, 
Roseatte Spoonbill 
Double-crested Cormorant 
Least Sandpiper 
American Golden-Plover 
Black-bellied Plover 
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 
Black-necked Stilt 
Least Bittern
Fulvous Whistling-Duck 
Greater Yellowlegs 
Pectoral Sandpiper 
Semipalmated Sandpiper 
Semipalmated Plover 
Tri-colored Heron 
Upland Sandpiper 
Western Sandpiper 
Glossy Ibis 
White Ibis 
Great Blue Heron
American Bittern

American Golden-Plover

Least Sandpiper
Acadian Flycatcher LIFER
Eastern Wood-Pewee 
Brown-crested Flycatcher 
Willow Flycatcher LIFER

Acadian Flycatcher

Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Other Birds
Philadelphia Vireo 
Blue Grosbeak 
Gray Catbird
Brown-headed Cowbird 
Great-tailed Grackle 
Indigo Bunting 
Lark Sparrow 
Fox Sparrow 
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 
Savannah Sparrow 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 
Scarlet Tanager  LIFER
Summer Tanager 
Western Tanager 
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo 

Willow Flycatcher
The birds were so tired you had to watch were you were walking, because they didn't want to move! We came back on Friday to the Island and there was a little less birds but mostly all still there, waiting for the wind to blow in the right direction

The fallout was an amazing experience; I think it was one of the best birding times we have encountered!

On Friday we went back to South Padre Island picked up a few more lifers listed above and in the morning we went to Salineno, TX down at the Rio Grande River. First of all I was freaked out by being so close to Mexico! But it turned out alright we didn't see anything illegal going on down there.

We were looking for Muscovy Ducks, Red-billed Pigeon, and Audubon's Oriole. Well we didn't see any of them... But we did see 21 species down there. Altimira Oriole, Great Kistadee, Mexican Mallard, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Green Jay and Golden-fronted Woodpecker just to name a few.

On Thursday night we attended Night Walk at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. That lasted 2 hours and got us 3 more LIFERS~ Elf Owl, Common Paraque, and Bank Swallow.

Next blog coming up will be on Saturday(April 27th).