Birding Blog Archives

March 29th, 2010
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Tubac, Florida Canyon

I joined visiting English birder Mat Wilson, and Jim Day of Green Valley and Bulgaria (surely a unique combination) for a great day of SE AZ birding. After meeting at the school in Continental to nail down Rufous-winged Sparrow, we decided on impulse to try our luck at Tubac. We arrived on Bridge Road at 08:30 and my initial thought was to go into the trees first and go back to the bridge at maybe 09:30 to look for raptors and vultures. An early Turkey Vulture kept us lingering on the bridge, and thank goodness it did. An amazing passage of birds was about to take place.

The first bunch of Turkey Vultures were accompanied by two intermediate phase Swainson’s Hawks. A Zone-tailed Hawk was next, with more TVs and a couple of light phase Swainson’s. Then the highlight, a fine adult Common Black Hawk which gave us the honor of being the closest bird, wheeling around several times right above us. By the time we headed along the Anza trail we had seen around 70 Turkey Vultures, five Swainson’s Hawks, three Zone-tailed Hawks and one Common Black Hawk.

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Three or four Gray Hawks were calling and chasing around the cottonwoods, and we enjoyed good views of Rufous-winged Sparrow and six Lawrence’s Goldfinches amongst others. Another Zone-tailed Hawk passed overhead as we left at around 10:30. Pretty amazing stuff…

Our luck didn’t hold out at Florida Canyon. We struck out on Rufous-capped Warbler and Black-capped Gnatcatcher and had to console ourselves with Painted Redstarts, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, (Mat) Wilson’s Warblers, Bell’s Vireos and a mix of Dusky and Hammond’s Flycatchers. And a gazillion Ruby-crowned Kinglets.

Another great day, in great company, in the birding wonderland that is SE Arizona 😀

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