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An excellent day of birding from Florida Canyon to Peña Blanca Lake and Canyon, with many great birds.
The day started for me in fine form when three MONTEZUMA QUAIL crossed the road right in front of me as I arrived in the canyon. Typically, though, they had vanished when I returned a few minutes later with my clients. We did find a flyby BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, a couple of singing SCOTT’S ORIOLES, and a flyover PINE SISKIN.
We tallied 45 species in less than three hours in the canyon, with some excellent highlights. Chief among those was our main target bird, RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER, which was singing on our arrival in the breeding area and showed particularly well.
Also in the canyon, GRAY HAWK, COMMON GROUND-DOVE, BLACK-CHINNED, COSTA’S, BROAD-TAILED, RUFOUS, and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET, HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER, a couple of unseen, calling BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS, calling CRISSAL THRASHER, ORANGE-CROWNED and LUCY’S WARBLERS, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, LAZULI BUNTING, and HOODED and SCOTT’S ORIOLES.
Continental Mulberry Trees:
Still a bit early for major action here, but three CEDAR WAXWINGS were perusing the fruits and finding at least some that were ripe enough.
Highlights among the desert species included a HARRIS’S HAWK, three GILDED FLICKERS, and several RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS.
Very few birds remain from the winter, but two that were passing through were noteworthy: a SNOWY EGRET and a BLACK-NECKED STILT.
We hadn’t planned to stop, but GRAY HAWKS caught our eye. A pair has built a new nest in a large sycamore and were mating next to it, with a third bird jealously flying overhead.
Peña Blanca Lake:
The lake was productive, with the hoped-for COMMON BLACK HAWK, plus CINNAMON TEAL, NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, GRAY and ZONE-TAILED HAWKS, COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD, DUSKY-CAPPED and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, both ROCK and CANYON WRENS with young on nests, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and LAZULI BUNTING.
Peña Blanca Canyon:
I didn’t expect much, arriving mid-afternoon, but we did pretty well, with 35 species and some great highlights.
The obvious one was ELEGANT TROGON, of which we encountered three. We couldn’t get a good view, so had to be content with what we had… until we got back to the car to find a vocal male calling and presenting himself agitatedly just before dusk.
As we were listening to another trogon further up-canyon, a tooting noise caught our attention and we were soon looking at a splendid NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL perched on the hillside.
Other birds in the canyon included GRAY HAWK, INCA DOVE, a calling ELF OWL, COSTA’S and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, HAMMOND’S, VERMILION, DUSKY-CAPPED and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, and LAZULI BUNTING.