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Another fine day of birding in Santa Cruz County, with a really memorable moment to end the day.
Our main target here was SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, and we saw three right away at the Madera Picnic Area.
Around Santa Rita Lodge we found MAGNIFICENT, BLACK-CHINNED, BROAD-TAILED and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, a calling ELEGANT TROGON, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, HUTTON’S VIREO, HEPATIC and WESTERN TANAGERS, BLACK-HEADED and BLUE GROSBEAKS, and VARIED BUNTING.
A female BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER was found near the road.
I heard, and then briefly saw my first YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO of the year, always a pleasing sight. Also in the canyon, GREATER ROADRUNNER, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, BELL’S VIREO, CACTUS WREN, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, and SCOTT’S ORIOLE.
A quick stop revealed NEOTROPIC CORMORANT and ‘MEXICAN’ CLIFF SWALLOW. A SWAINSON’S HAWK was nearby, over I-19.
Peña Blanca Lake:
We’d hoped to get lucky and see a COMMON BLACK HAWK without hiking far from the parking lot. Maybe one would be hunting around the lake? To our delight, an adult hawk flew up from the shoreline moments after we left the parking lot. We watched it as it flew across the lake several times, perching on prominent rocks and trees by the lake.
We were just about to leave when the hawk flew again, and headed in our direction. We watched in awe as it circled around, casually drifted down to the water, and plucked a large fish from the surface. It was an incredible thing to witness! What a great way to end the day.