With Liz Jamison I spent the evening searching for Melody’s recent Black-capped Gnatcatchers at Montosa Canyon in the Santa Rita mountains. We teamed up with Dylan Radin and Kevin and Denise Gusé. After about 20 minutes I was delighted to hear the familiar twang of a singing FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW. Before too long we located a singing male, and after further observations we determined that it had a mate. I got some ‘phonescoped’ record shots (below) and Kevin got some nice images with a real camera.
We struck out on gnatcatchers except for an uncooperative bird that didn’t show but sounded like a Blue-gray. We did find VARIED BUNTINGS, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO and SCOTT’S and HOODED ORIOLES.
Earlier in the afternoon I was, to use a good British term, gobsmacked to find another July LARK BUNTING, this time a female, my second in four days. It was just south of (above) the Florida Wash bridges on Madera Canyon Rd.
We watched the feeders at Madera Kubo for 15 minutes in the morning and again in the afternoon. We didn’t see a Berylline but I did catch a half-second glimpse of a hovering male WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRD before it did battle and left, and the immature VIOLET-CROWNED made several visits.
At Santa Rita Lodge, I was stumped by an odd hummingbird. Along with Deb Finch and her sister, I saw a male hummingbird for about three seconds on the feeder right in front of the benches, and another three seconds more distantly at the feeder on the gift shop patio. I’m trying to replay those few seconds to remember just what I really saw. If this bird is seen again this may prove to be wildly inaccurate, but what the hey, here goes. My first impression was Berylline, being about the right size and shape (roughly). The bill had a red streak from the base and was slightly downcurved. However, it had a dazzling green throat patch’ like a Magnificent, rather than the whole throat and breast. Most noticeably though, it didn’t have any rufous in the wings or tail. I was concentrating so hard on that fact that I can’t remember what color they actually were beyond darkish. Could this be a Berylline x Magnificent Hummingbird hybrid? I wish I’d seen it for longer.
Also in Madera Canyon, male VARIED BUNTINGS were singing at Proctor Rd, and two of the three juvenile GRAY HAWKS from the nest at Madera Picnic area were perched in oaks on the opposite side of the road.
Along the Carrie Nation Trail, a female ELEGANT TROGON was not far beyond the bench after 0.3 miles. Also in this stretch, a pair of ARIZONA WOODPECKERS and two pairs of SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS. A GRACE’S and a surprise lower-elevation RED-FACED WARBLER were among other birds at the little waterfall (not flowing yet but a small pool remains) at the top of the steepest, rockiest section with an exposed metal pipe, before you get to the first creek crossing.
In a very brief check of CLIFF SWALLOWS in a colony of maybe 30 nests under the Canoa Ranch Road bridge over I-19 (exit 56) I determined that all the individuals I could see were of the Mexican/Southwestern subspecies melanogaster. I used to be under the impression these were quite rare in the Santa Cruz Valley being mostly found in Patagonia, Sonoita and Sierra Vista. However, the more I look, the more I find. Sometime I’ll try to check all the bridge colonies along I-19 and nearby to see where else they might be.