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December 22nd, 2015
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Atascosa Mountains, Santa Rita Mountains

A really nice day of birding from the Atascosas to the Santa Ritas, with 78 species in all. I’ve been lucky enough to borrow a camera from my friend Malcolm Chesworth (thanks Malcolm!) to see whether it was my camera or the lens that was the main culprit for my terrible photos (or if it’s just the photographer!). The conclusion was that it’s the camera… time for a new one?

Peña Blanca Canyon:

The canyon was fairly quiet and we didn’t locate the Rufous-capped Warblers, but we did get GRAY FLYCATCHER, HUTTON’S VIREO, HERMIT THRUSH, TOWNSEND’S WARBLER, ABERT’S TOWHEE (my first at this location), and a calling LAZULI BUNTING.

Ruby Rd:

Along the way we added NORTHERN HARRIER, GREATER ROADRUNNER, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, and WESTERN MEADOWLARK to the list.

California Gulch Rd:

A pair of MONTEZUMA QUAIL appeared at the roadside and stopped for close views, albeit through the grass.

Montezuma Quail

Confluence of California Gulch & Warsaw Canyon:

We found both BLACK-TAILED and BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS, along with a flyover GOLDEN EAGLE, GRAY FLYCATCHER, a rare view of a singing CRISSAL THRASHER, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.

Crissal Thrasher

Rio Rico:

A few BLACK VULTURES and a pair of CHIHUAHUAN RAVENS flew over I-19 near the landfill site.

Amado Pond:

Wintering birds included RING-NECKED DUCK, LESSER SCAUP, BUFFLEHEAD, EARED GREBE, GREAT EGRET, and a few BRONZED COWBIRDS with the grackle flock.

Madera Canyon:

The feeders at Santa Rita Lodge hosted the usual WILD TURKEYS, plus ANNA’S and MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRDS, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, HEPATIC TANAGER, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, and presumably the returning winter DARK-EYED JUNCO of the cassiar subspecies. Thanks to Steve and everyone at the lodge for all they do for birding in SE Arizona.

'Cassiar' Dark-eyed Junco

'Cassiar' Dark-eyed Junco

Hepatic Tanager

Florida Wash:

We ended the day with a short sparrow fest, with CANYON TOWHEE and VESPER, BLACK-THROATED and LINCOLN’S SPARROWS all by the side of the road.

Santa Cruz County:

A BARN OWL continues at a regular roost site.

 

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