While solo birding adventures often work out very well for me, today was an exception. A bird that ranges from Guatemala in Central America to the Gila River in Arizona had been reported for many days at Madera Canyon, south of Tucson on I-19.
|Male ELEGANT TROGON -- seen and photographed by me on 3/11/16 in Patagonia State Park|
Beginning at Proctor Road trail, I arrived in good time but clouds soon moved in. Walking slowly with another birder (Dave, from Tucson) we looked at all the tree limbs. The Elegant Trogon sits so quietly, it can be missed if you're not looking for it. Dave apparently had a new camera and could think of no better bird to practice on!
When the Proctor paved trail began to loop around, we went directly forward on a dirt trail that led us to the Whitehouse Picnic Area where we continued to search trees, ravines and horizontal tree limbs for the trogon.
With my car still at the Proctor Road trailhead, I left Dave at that point to return to drive farther up Madera Canyon Road to the other site the trogon had been sighted: Madera Picnic Area. Able to park there, I started searching again. . . ending up across Madera Creek from behind Santa Rita Lodge. Thus, I found a way to cross the creek and return to the main road where I plopped down in a chair at the bird feeding station at the Lodge. Birds, in general, had been so quiet in the wooded areas that I was immediately rejuvenated by seeing and hearing good mountain birds...far different from ones normally found in the desert where I live.
Per the 6th edition of National Geographic's Field Guide for Birds of North America, this bird was the inspiration for Woody Woodpecker. The ACORN WOODPECKER is loud, social and has a face like no other bird I've yet seen. I rather like it.
Birding locally has been revealing. For two months in a row during my Bird Walk at Lost Dutchman State Park we've seen SAGE THRASHER.
On Mark Ochs' Bird Walk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum yesterday (3/17/18), we had a wonderful day full of birds. FOX SPARROWs are infrequent visitors to Boyce Thompson Arboretum but I found this Slate-colored subspecies scratching around the leaf litter close to the hummingbird/butterfly garden.
I'm not sure who spotted the above INCA DOVE hidden in plain sight within the Demonstration Garden but I managed a photo.
More challenging was the CANYON WREN, singing its beautiful song -- also in plain sight!
Surprising us birders at the old Red-tailed Hawk nest was the bird that flew out from it: a RED-TAILED HAWK. Following soon was another RED-TAILED HAWK! It looks like the nest may be no longer inactive!
One of my favorite sightings at Boyce Thompson was this ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD perched on top of a boojum tree, a very unusual "tree". (cacti and succulent family)
Today, Sunday, March 18th, Hinde Silver joined me for an exploration of Granite Reef Recreation area along the Salt River in Mesa, AZ. With road construction and construction on the site itself, Granite Reef hasn't hit my radar for some time. Beginning at 7:00 a.m., birds were already quite active. I heard and then we saw a brilliantly-colored VERMILION FLYCATCHER. I think it was feeding a young sitting on a limb peeping and flapping its wings.
At the river, ducks were less abundant than usual, but we had no complaints. CINNAMON TEAL, COMMON GOLDENEYE, and BUFFLEHEAD were busy foraging and preening when not just out there swimming.
Note the large spatulate bill of the pair of CINNAMON TEAL below; not as big as a NORTHERN SHOVELER's bill, but bigger than most duck bills. Photo below:
The COMMON GOLDENEYE -- male is on the right; female is preening on the left. Photo below:
BUFFLEHEAD - Photo below:
Not all our best birds were in the river. Perched way far out in a bare snag tree across the river on Native Land was a BALD EAGLE. It was so far distant I could barely find it in my viewfinder but ended up with this photo below:
Because I finally managed to get a half-decent photo of a MARSH WREN, that was my bird of the day.
Hinde got a Life Bird with this CRISSAL THRASHER; photo below:
Hinde spotted our mammal of the day: a RIVER OTTER!
As migration approaches, I'll have lots to blog about and little time to do it!! I enjoy the process of summarizing or wrapping up my birding adventures, so you know it won't be long before you hear from me again.
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