Birding Blog Archives

July 24th, 2011
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July Workshop: Hummingbird Special 2

I was joined for another hummingbird workshop by Ben and Allison Sill from South Carolina, Susan Fallon and Donna Knutsen from Green Valley and Roger Tess, Pat Francis and Ed Tobin from Tucson. We drove to Sierra Vista in heavy rain with clouds of fog hanging over the San Pedro, a stunning backdrop to the desert valley. As luck would have it, the rain ceased as we arrived and kept away until we got back to Tucson. Perfect!

Ash Canyon B&B was excellent as always. Our hummingbird list soon reached six, with BROAD-BILLED, BLACK-CHINNED, ANNA’S, RUFOUS, a female LUCIFER and a female, then a splendid little male CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD. The LUCIFER x COSTA’S hybrid was also on hand to make it six and a half, sort of. Also at Ash Canyon, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, WILD TURKEY, BULLOCK’S ORIOLE, BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK and much more. See Mary Jo’s website for full visitor details: www.ashcanyonbandb.com

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From the left, male Rufous, male Black-chinned, male Black-chinned (flying), female Calliope (back), female Lucifer and female Rufous Hummingbird

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From the left, female Rufous, female Calliope, and two male Broad-billed Hummingbirds

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Male Calliope Hummingbird

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Male Rufous Hummingbird

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How many White-winged Doves can you fit on one table?

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Black-headed Grosbeak

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Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Battiste’s Bed, Breakfast and Birds provided a veritable avian feast, with a male LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRD, a probable ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD (I couldn’t tell if it was the same as Tony’s confirmed one), lots of RUFOUS, ANNA’S, BROAD-BILLED and BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRDS and a host of other birds from eye-popping cardinals to the entertaining antics of the resident ACORN WOODPECKERS. It’s a particularly good place for wildlife photography and the rooms are very pleasant. See Tony’s website for visiting and staying at Battiste’s Bed, Breakfast and Birds: www.battistebedandbirds.com.

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Anna’s Hummingbird

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Mexican Jay

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Sonoran Spotted Whiptail

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Green Fruit Beetle

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Lesser Goldfinch

These local businesses, with their charming hosts, are really deserving of our support, especially right now in the aftermath of the fire.

At Ramsey Canyon we added BLUE-THROATED, BROAD-TAILED, MAGNIFICENT and VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRDS. Also, DUSKY-CAPPED and SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS, WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE, BROWN CREEPER, PAINTED REDSTART, etc. It’s so nice to be back there.

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Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

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Magnificent Hummingbird

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Blue-throated Hummingbird

I’ve seen some impressive moths around the visitor center at Ramsey Canyon in the past, but nothing like today. These were all around the light fixtures. If anyone can put names to them, please leave a comment.

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Oslar’s Eacles (Eacles oslarii). ID courtesy of Brian Gibbons – thanks Brian.

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Moth sp.

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Moth sp.

Singing BOTTERI’S SPARROWS were along Ramsey Canyon Road, in the particularly grassy part. I’ve never managed to get especially close before but one singing male seemed determined that I take his photo.

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Botteri’s Sparrow

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Botteri’s Sparrow

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Botteri’s Sparrow

At Paton’s in Patagonia, two newly-fledged juvenile GRAY HAWKS were causing quite a stir. There was a frenzy of hummingbird action. We scored with species 11 and probably 12, with the continuing male COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD alongside several VIOLET-CROWNED, many RUFOUS and BROAD-BILLED and another probable ALLEN’S HUMMINGBIRD.

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Costa’s Hummingbird

Back at the carpooling site in Tucson, on Houghton Rd just north of I-10, RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS were belting out familiar tunes.

Finally, at Ed Tobin’s midtown home, a fully black-backed Texas race LESSER GOLDFINCH visited the feeders, and then an interesting event to end the day. I spotted a tail sticking out from under the rocks by Ed’s pond, which turned out to be a shocked, cowering adult MOURNING DOVE, surrounded by its own feathers but apparently otherwise unharmed. We suspected that maybe a Cooper’s Hawk but more likely a cat had almost got it, but the dove had crawled and squeezed under the rocks to safety. The last third of its tail was really beaten up, as if the predator had made several attempts to drag it out. I removed the final rock so the dove was fully exposed, at which point the cowering bird exploded upwards and over Ed’s roof to freedom. Amazing!

My thanks to Mary Jo Ballator, Tony Battiste, Michael Marsden and Sandy and the other docents at Ramsey Canyon for their continuing kind hospitality. We’re so lucky to have people like these good folks who cater to birders so generously. Thanks also to everyone who came along today. Birders are such nice people!

My next Fun Birding Workshop is on Sunday Aug 7… shorebirds!

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