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July 19th, 2015
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Mega day! Tufted Flycatcher, Spotted Owl, Elegant Trogon, Black-capped Gnatcatcher, Montezuma Quail, Five-striped Sparrow, Buff-collared Nightjar

A truly memorable day of target birding with my new friend Alan Whitehead. We were out in the field for 19 hours, and logged 89 species, with a long list of highly-prized SE Arizona specialty birds.

Potrero Creek, Rio Rico:

As we met at the truck stop and headed off, we noted TROPICAL KINGBIRD, ‘MEXICAN’ CLIFF SWALLOW, PHAINOPEPLA, and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.

Patagonia Roadside Rest:

The THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD pair continues at the nest in an Arizona Sycamore. A YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO flew over the road near Patagonia, and a GRAY HAWK was nearby.

Ramsey Canyon:

It started well when I stopped to watch and photograph a HOUSE WREN on the wall just outside the visitor center. I didn’t really get the photo I wanted, so I looked at my camera to check the settings, at which point one of the baby House Wrens, which looked to have fledged either that morning or the day before, landed on my thumb and looked at the camera settings with me! Amazing!

Juvenile House Wren

House Wren

A wonderful visit to the higher reaches of the canyon began with the TUFTED FLYCATCHER pair, which continue 150 yards below the former nest site, and gave excellent views in the sun.

Tufted Flycatcher

Tufted Flycatcher

Tufted Flycatcher

Tufted Flycatcher

This is their new habitat:

Ramsey Canyon

A furious AMERICAN ROBIN directed us to a roosting juvenile SPOTTED OWL, just across the trail from the flycatchers and a little up canyon.

Juvenile Spotted Owl

Juvenile Spotted Owl

Soon after, a male ELEGANT TROGON began calling, and gave us several good views as it worked its way down canyon.

Elegant Trogon

Also in the canyon, WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD, GREATER PEWEE, CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, PLUMBEOUS and HUTTON’S VIREOS, BROWN CREEPER, ‘BROWN-THROATED’ HOUSE WREN, GRACE’S and RED-FACED WARBLERS, PAINTED REDSTART, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, HEPATIC TANAGER, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK.

Red-faced Warbler

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard

Red Rock Skimmer

Beetle sp.

The Bledsoe Loop, Ramsey Canyon

Las Cienegas:

A quick drive through produced SWAINSON’S HAWK, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN, HORNED LARK, BOTTERI’S, CASSIN’S, LARK and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, ‘LILIAN’S’ EASTERN MEADOWLARK, and a nice male PRONGHORN.

Pronghorn

Pronghorn

Peña Blanca Canyon:

As we entered the canyon, a pair of MONTEZUMA QUAIL appeared at the roadside, giving brief but good views. We only had a short while, so we headed straight to the area that has hosted both Rufous-capped Warbler and Black-capped Gnatcatchers recently. We didn’t find the warblers, but a pair of BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS duly popped up and showed well. Also noted in the canyon were BLACK VULTURE, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, PEREGRINE FALCON, NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET, DUSKY-CAPPED and BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, HUTTON’S VIREO, PAINTED REDSTART, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, and VARIED BUNTING.

Black-capped Gnatcatcher

Black-capped Gnatcatcher

Black-capped Gnatcatcher

Ruby Rd:

Another pair of MONTEZUMA QUAIL popped up, this time the male staying for long enough to allow a quick shot.

Montezuma Quail

Confluence of California Gulch and Warsaw Canyon:

As we waited for the nightjar show, we found at least four pairs of FIVE-STRIPED SPARROWS (two in Warsaw Canyon), BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT, RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW, SUMMER TANAGER, and HOODED ORIOLE.

California Gulch, southern end

We heard our first BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR vocalization, a few clicks, at 7:52 p.m., but that appeared to be all we were going to get. We decided to leave at 8:45, but just as we started to turn away, a movement in the trees made us stop dead in our tracks. Another movement, and a female BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR was suddenly teed up, silently, on a perch right in front of us. Perseverance definitely paid off, as we got fantastic views of this stunning bird.

Female Buff-collared Nightjar

Female Buff-collared Nightjar

Also in the area, calling ELF OWL and COMMON POORWILL.

Ruby Rd again:

We had a close encounter with a GREAT HORNED OWL, which was fun.

Great Horned Owl

We also encountered several SONORAN DESERT TOADS and a nice BLACK-TAILED RATTLESNAKE.

Black-tailed Rattlesnake

Black-tailed Rattlesnake

Madera Canyon:

Our main target here was WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL, and it didn’t prove too difficult to find a couple around the Madera Picnic Area.

Whiskered Screech-Owl

We also heard GREAT HORNED OWL, ELF OWL, and rounded off the night with listening to a MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL, which refused to show itself. We weren’t too concerned by this stage, as it had been a monumentally long and incredibly successful day of SE Arizona specialty birding at its very best. Hooray!

 

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