Madera Canyon, Santa Cruz County & Pima Counties, AZ

Tuesday & Wednesday, May 31 & June 1
It was a last-minute decision to drive down to Madera to enjoy the birds that visit this serendipitous canyon along I-19 at Green Valley.

Spending much of my time on Tuesday at Santa Rita Lodge feeders put me in touch with several special birds and lots of familiar ones.  Since I spent a lot of time taking photos, this blog will be much the same.

BLUE GROSBEAK at the natural feeding station

A familiar humming bird at Boyce Thompson Arboretum was abundant; the males and females were almost always present at one of the many feeders established close to the ramada and benches for visitors. The photo below is a male BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD.

One of the birds I was hoping to see was a real jewel and difficult to find in the field. I was lucky to find two of them here. It was difficult to photograph today, too, because it preferred scratching around on the ground under branches and wood piles.  I also caught the VARIED BUNTING at a feeder.

The WILD TURKEY, above, was one of fifteen (15) walking about the grounds and occasionally visiting the feeding station.

But the bird of the day for me was the MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD, photo for which was the intro for this blog. That and the ones posted below are the best I've ever managed to photograph and the pics do not begin to show all of the colors that the sun can highlight.

Female Magnificent Hummingbird

Male Magnificent Hummingbird (above and below)

On June 1st, I did an early drive south on I-19 to Tubac where I wanted to check out the birds at Ron Morris Park behind the Arts area.  

I really lucked out with COMMON GROUND DOVE, that are not all that common in the Phoenix Valley. Note the scaly neck area and stripes on the wings unlike our ever-present Mourning Dove that is not scaly and has black dots on its wings.



Although it was late for good birding, I stopped back at Madera Canyon to walk the Proctor Loop Trail through the woods, beside Madera Creek with the canyon below.

Best sighting there were MEXICAN JAYS. One bird was feeding another and I wasn't quite sure if it was part of a mating ritual.  Later, one of those same birds (they were of equal size) began calling and flapping its wings as if it was a juvenile bird, which is what I am guessing was the case.
In the photo below you can see the one flapping its wings impatiently for the food to be given to it beak-to-beak.

For a quick trip with little exertion on my part, I was delighted to find the birds above.  On Tuesday night, I joined another birder, Bryan Johnson, to go OWLING farther up the canyon where we had great results. You can always find the full list of birds I've seen by clicking on the eBird links below.

The only downside to the trip is that while I was there, a rarity was found and I needed to return home. So, I hope to return to this same area soon and hike far up in the canyon to see if the AZTEC THRUSH from Mexico is still enjoying Upper Madera.

Still seeing this Magnificent Hummingbird in my mind's eye:

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