Birding Blog Archives

June 12th, 2011
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June Fun Birding Workshop

I was joined by Jennifer, Ed, Maggie, Rosie, Sierra and Karen for June’s Fun Birding Workshop. The original plan was to visit Madera Canyon to look for the SE Arizona specialties found in the Sky Islands in summer, such as Elegant Trogon, but this summer’s wildfires and subsequent forest closures put paid to that. Plan B was hatched, to look for lowland specialties instead. News of two rare birds, however, persuaded us to go for plan C…

We met in Continental early and were soon watching a few desert specialties, most notably RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW, PYRRHULOXIA and BLUE GROSBEAK.


Rufous-winged Sparrow



From there we headed straight for Alan Schmierer’s house in the Patagonia Lake Estates. Alan had found a very rare bird, a STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE, and was welcoming others to take a look. We pulled up outside Alan’s house and, as luck would have it, the STREAK-BACKED ORIOLE flew in and landed briefly by the house. We waited a while and over time got fantastic views of this gorgeous bird. Alan’s photos are amazing. Mine aren’t so great, but they could be worse.


Streak-backed Oriole


Streak-backed Oriole

We also met top photographer Charles W. Melton, which is always a pleasure. As usual, Charles got the best photo.

A HOODED ORIOLE stopped by, as did BLUE GROSBEAK, BOTTERI’S, BLACK-THROATED and RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS and a stream of BROAD-BILLED and BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRDS. Our grateful thanks to Alan for his warm hospitality.

We moved on to look for the second rare bird. En route, we saw a few BLACK VULTURES flying over. We arrived at Paton’s in Patagonia to look for the Yellow Grosbeak that had been seen the day before, but nobody else had seen it and it had apparently gone. Never mind, there was plenty to keep us occupied, including multiple COMMON GROUND-DOVES and BLUE GROSBEAKS, prolonged views of YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT,several VIOLET-CROWNED and a splendid male MAGNIFICENT as well as the usual BROAD-BILLED and BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRDS and the usual GILA and ACORN WOODPECKERS, WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCH, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK and much more.


Common Ground-Dove


White-breasted Nuthatch


Violet-crowned Hummingbird


Arizona Gray Squirrel

We stopped to admire the GREAT BLUE HERON rookery on Blue Haven Road and were treated to close flyover and perched views of ZONE-TAILED HAWK. On the way past the Roadside Rest a pair of GRAY HAWKS flew over. A SWAINSON’S HAWK was along I-19 and a PURPLE MARTIN flew over south of Tucson to end a fine day.


Zone-tailed Hawk

We didn’t see many of the species on our list, but we more than made up for it with what we did see. My thanks to everyone for being so flexible and making it a special day 😀


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