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May 11th, 2015
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Huachucas, Las Cienegas, Patagonia

Another day of target birding, with some success and one notable failure among 64 species. A very valuable lesson was learned today…

Tubac Golf Resort:

A BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK was at one of the golf course ponds, hanging out with a white duck of dubious origin.

Rio Rico:

Both BLACK VULTURE and CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN were noted over I-19.

Beatty’s Guest Ranch (Miller Canyon):

The birding here was poor, as this non-birder-friendly site continues its sad decline. A few hummingbirds were coming to the feeders, including a couple of MAGNIFICENT and a female BROAD-TAILED, but nothing you couldn’t see easier and better elsewhere. The White-eared Hummingbird that had been present has clearly gone, although this fact has NOT been reported by the property owner, who would like you to believe they are resident there. They’re not – try up canyon for a long shot at White-eared. My advice is to avoid Beatty’s Guest Ranch completely and take the trail from the parking lot that leads around their property and up canyon. Or try another canyon all together, where the atmosphere for birding will be far more pleasant. I shall not be visiting Beatty’s again.

Braod-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Magnificent Hummingbird

Las Cienegas:

A pair of SCALED QUAIL continued near the corral a couple of miles north of the southern entrance, giving great views. Also at Las Cienegas in a brief drive through, HORNED LARK, BOTTERI’S and GRASSHOPPER SPARROW, WESTERN TANAGER, and ‘LILIAN’S’ EASTERN MEADOWLARK.

Grasshopper Sparrow

Horned Lark

Scaled Quail

Scaled Quail

A small SONORAN GOPHERSNAKE was in the road near the southern entrance. We stopped to move it from the road as there was a truck approaching from the other direction, but surprisingly for this normally placid species, it coiled itself like a cobra, reared up and struck at me! While I love snakes and getting close views and photos, I’m always wary and respectful of them, so I was able to leap out of the way in time.

Sonoran Gophersnake

Sonoran Gophersnake

Sonoran Gophersnake

Patagonia Union High School:

A pair of BRONZED COWBIRDS was on the sports field, among the grackles.

Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center, Patagonia:

Now this IS a proper, birder-friendly feeder site we can all get behind! The VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRDS were coming in regularly, and other birds at this fantastic place included GRAY HAWK, INCA DOVE, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, and ABERT’S TOWHEE. Thanks Larry – thanks Tucson Audubon Society!


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