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A great day and night of birding in the Santa Rita Mountains. I should have tried harder to find one more species, because we ended on 99!
We were delighted to find a GILDED FLICKER entering a saguaro nest hole.
A pair of HARRIS’S HAWKS gave us great views in the early morning light. There was a particularly noticeable size difference between the two, the female being clearly bigger and heavier.
Also in the area, INCA DOVE, ANNA’S and COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRDS, BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, CACTUS WREN, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, PHAINOPEPLA, LUCY’S WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED SPARROW, PYRRHULOXIA, and HOODED ORIOLE. A GRAY FOX ran across the road.
We added more desert species on the other side of town, such as ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, RUFOUS-WINGED and BREWER’S SPARROWS, and migrating WESTERN TANAGER.
Madera Canyon Rd:
SWAINSON’S HAWK and GREATER ROADRUNNER were added to the list.
Carrie Nation Trail, Madera Canyon:
Our main target was ELEGANT TROGON, and it took quite a while before we heard, and then saw a male, near the Agua Caliente Trail. Another male called back. On our way back down we heard another bird calling, and eventually tracked down this fine male not far from the Mt. Wrightson parking area.
I even managed a bit of shaky video. I’ve never tried to take video with the camera before – apparently I’ve got a lot to learn!
Also up canyon, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, DUSKY-CAPPED and BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, PLUMBEOUS, CASSIN’S, HUTTON’S, and WARBLING VIREOS, BROWN CREEPER, ‘BROWN-THROATED’ HOUSE WREN, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, HERMIT THRUSH, AMERICAN ROBIN, GRACE’S, BLACK-THROATED GRAY, TOWNSEND’S, and WILSON’S WARBLERS, PAINTED REDSTART, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, and HEPATIC TANAGER.
We found a WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH that was enthusiastically pounding a huge grub it had caught. I think it must have broken the unfortunate grub in half by the time I got this photo – at first it appeared that the grub was almost as long as the nuthatch!
Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon:
A molting male AMERICAN GOLDFINCH at the feeders was a nice surprise.
Also at the feeders, WILD TURKEY, MAGNIFICENT, BLACK-CHINNED, BROAD-TAILED, and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, a late LINCOLN’S SPARROW, and PINE SISKIN.
A brief walk through the mesquite grassland produced my first BLUE GROSBEAK of the year.
It was late afternoon and very little was moving. In a short walk we encountered calling MONTEZUMA QUAIL, GRAY HAWK on the nest, calling NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET, PACIFIC-SLOPE and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, BELL’S VIREO, PHAINOPEPLA, ORANGE-CROWNED and WILSON’S WARBLERS, SUMMER and WESTERN TANAGERS, and another male BLUE GROSBEAK.
As we left the parking area we were able to watch a dozen LESSER NIGHTHAWKS as they began to feed in the early evening.
Madera Canyon Rd again:
A GREAT HORNED OWL was a splendid sight perched on a roadside pole in the twilight.
Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon again:
We had super looks at a WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL soon after dark.
We also heard multiple ELF OWLS but never got satisfactory views. MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILLS were calling, and COMMON POORWILL could be heard on the slopes in the distance.
Amphitheater, Madera Canyon:
We eventually tracked down an ELF OWL that was willing to show itself. WHISKERED SCREECH-OWLS were also calling, as were MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILLS, but the latter remained frustratingly hidden, despite our best efforts to track one as we stumbled up a steep hillside in the dark. It was a fun way to end a fabulous day.