- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - http://www.arizonabirder.com -

Tucson and the Santa Catalina Mountains

A nice day of birding and photography, getting out of the heat of the desert and heading to a cooler, higher elevation.

Lisa Frank Ave, Tucson:

Starting near the airport, we had to pay homage to the BURROWING OWLS, and got lucky with presumably two family groups together in one ‘flock’.

Burrowing Owl [1]

I-10 at Houghton Rd:

A small flock of LARK BUNTINGS appeared in the sparse desert at the roadside.

Soldier Trail:

We stopped to enjoy the ‘DESERT’ PURPLE MARTINS, and saw more along Catalina Highway.

'Desert' Purple Martins [2]

Agua Caliente Park:

Classic birds of this park in the desert included VERMILION FLYCATCHER, BELL’S VIREO, CACTUS WREN, CURVE-BILLED THRASHER, and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.

Lesser Goldfinch [3]

Soldier Canyon:

As well as great views of some typical desert species such as BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER and BLACK-THROATED SPARROW, we found a lowland migrant TOWNSEND’S WARBLER.

Babad Do’ag Vista:

The only bird of particular note was a migrant WESTERN TANAGER.

Western Tanager [4]

Molino Basin:

Another mixture of migrants such as WARBLING VIREO, MacGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER, and WESTERN TANAGER, and mid-elevation residents, including BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER, PHAINOPEPLA, and CANYON TOWHEE.

MacGillivray's Warbler [5]

Molino Basin [6]

Aspen Vista:

We had brief but thrilling close-up view of an adult PEREGRINE FALCON overhead.

Summerhaven:

We stopped to watch the MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD nest, which now has two fairly well-grown young.

Magnificent Hummingbird at nest [7]

The feeders at Mt Lemmon Realty were busy with hummingbirds, with MAGNIFICENT, BLACK-CHINNED, ANNA’S, BROAD-TAILED, and RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS all competing for nectar.

Rufous Hummingbird (left) and Magnificent Hummingbird [8]

At the other feeders there, and the nearby Living Rainbow Gift Shop, we watched HAIRY WOODPECKER, STELLER’S JAY, SPOTTED TOWHEE, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, and PINE SISKIN.

Black-headed Grosbeak [9]

Hairy Woodpecker [10]

Steller's Jay [11]

Steller's Jay [12]

Yellow-eyed Junco [13]

The warbler show has slowed down somewhat, but we did manage NASHVILLE, BLACK-THROATED GRAY, TOWNSEND’S, and HERMIT WARBLERS, and PAINTED REDSTART.

Hermit Warbler [14]

Around town we also noted HOUSE WREN, CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER, BUSHTIT, and RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET.

Hairy Woodpecker [15]

Magnificent Hummingbird [16]

Steller's Jay [17]

Steller's Jay [18]

Bear Wallow Rd:

The star of the show was an OLIVE WARBLER, but we also found HUTTON’S VIREO, MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE, RED-BREASTED, WHITE-BREASTED and PYGMY NUTHATCHES, BROWN CREEPER, HOUSE WREN, HERMIT and RED-FACED WARBLERS, and YELLOW-EYED JUNCO.

Pygmy Nuthatch [19]

White-breasted Nuthatch [20]

Juvenile Yellow-eyed Junco [21]

The CLIFF CHIPMUNKS and ABERT’S SQUIRRELS were good for a laugh, as usual.

Abert's Squirrel [22]

Abert's Squirrel [23]

Seven Cataracts Vista:

Heading home, we added ROCK WREN to the list and enjoyed the spectacular views.

Looking over Thimble Peak from Seven Cataracts Vista [24]

Looking over Thimble Peak from Seven Cataracts Vista [25]