I was out birding again with my friend Steve Nesbitt. We started by looking for GILDED FLICKERS in the Tucson Mountains and desert along Gates Pass Rd and Kinney Rd. We heard several but never saw one. There were plenty of PURPLE MARTINS around. We saw a ZONE-TAILED HAWK flying over Tucson at 1st and Orange Grove.
We had breakfast at Peppertrees Inn, where a pair of INCA DOVES was a nice sight close to downtown Tucson. One of them had no tail and was a Ground-Dove waiting to happen! We crossed town and visited Agua Caliente Park where we heard a NORTHERN BEARDLESS TYRANNULET but couldn’t persuade it to show. Another ZONE-TAILED HAWK passed overhead here.
We went straight to the top of Mt Lemmon, where we had the SHORT-TAILED HAWK flying over Summerhaven briefly. Another ZONE-TAILED and a couple of RED-TAILED HAWKS also passed overhead in blustery conditions. Around Summerhaven we found a family party of CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHERS, MacGILLIVRAY’S, ORANGE-CROWNED and NASHVILLE WARBLERS, SPOTTED TOWHEE, CHIPPING SPARROWS and PINE SISKIN.
A private cabin’s hummingbird feeders produced BLUE-THROATED, MAGNIFICENT, RUFOUS, BLACK-CHINNED, ANNA’S and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS.
We encountered two decent-sized mixed flocks. Along E Upper Bear Wallow Rd we found a flock which was largely based on MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES and PYGMY NUTHATCHES, which also contained OLIVE WARBLER, several HERMIT WARBLERS, BROWN CREEPER and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. Another flock along E Bigelow Rd, just below the radio towers, was largely BUSHTITS with OLIVE WARBLER, ORANGE-CROWNED, HERMIT, TOWNSEND’S and RED-FACED WARBLERS, BROWN CREEPERS and more PYGMY NUTHATCHES and MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES. My whistled pygmy-owl calls finally paid off here – not only did they bring in much of this flock, but more excitingly, a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL called back a couple of times, predictably staying hidden.