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

Atascosas Elegant Trogon Survey

I took part in the Atascosas Trogon Census yesterday (Sunday 9th June) and, while I didn’t find any rarities, I did find three trogons and experienced excellent birding in Sycamore Canyon, one of southeast Arizona’s classic birding hotspots, a remote and these days under-birded location along Ruby Road, west of Nogales.

I had forgotten just how good Sycamore Canyon can be! Not only is it exceptionally beautiful, but yesterday it was full of birds. Some of the species are quite surprising, given the relatively low elevation (3800 – 4000 feet), but it’s testament to the high quality and variety of the habitat. My section was the first two miles of the canyon, from the parking lot to the confluence of Penasco Canyon, although I didn’t quite make it that far in the allotted time. I found 51 species in all.

The highlights were:

3 ELEGANT TROGONS, all males, the first being an immature male at the surprising location of Hank & Yank’s Ruin, which is just a quarter mile from the parking area. The others were at the confluence of Montana Canyon and Columbine Canyon.
1 BLACK VULTURE
2 GRAY HAWKS
11 WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS
3 COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRDS
5 ARIZONA WOODPECKERS
1 CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER
14 DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHERS
13 ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS
2 BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS
1 HUTTON’S VIREO
2 CHIHUAHUAN RAVENS
4 EASTERN BLUEBIRDS
1 BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER
1 PAINTED REDSTART
3 HEPATIC TANAGERS
2 SUMMER TANAGERS
15 RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS
9 BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS
9 BLUE GROSBEAKS
6 VARIED BUNTINGS

Thanks to Rick Taylor and Jennie MacFarland for organizing the count. I believe that another nine trogons were detected, along with Five-striped Sparrow in lower Sycamore Canyon. I’m sure Rick will have full details soon.

I’m looking forward to participating again next year. Hopefully there will be more than seven birders taking part, so we can cover the area more thoroughly.

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-01 [1]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-02 [2]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-03 [3]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-07 [4]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-09 [5]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-11 [6]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-12 [7]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-15 [8]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-17 [9]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-19 [10]

Sycamore-Canyon-13-0609-20 [11]