My first day of two weeks birding with five friends from England, the Pork Pie Posse! Say hello if you see us out and about.
We did the Atascosa Mountains Elegant Trogon Census today. From the parking area, we made it about 1.8 miles down Sycamore Canyon (the one along Ruby Rd, west of Nogales).
The obvious highlights of any trogon survey would be ELEGANT TROGONS, five of them, probably three pairs (the same as last year). There were pairs seen at 0.6 miles and 1.6 miles down canyon, with another calling male at 0.8 miles (slightly up Montana Canyon).
We also had several other great moments, chief among them an encounter with three MONTEZUMA QUAIL, all males. One male called from the hillside at 1.2 miles, so I replied with the calls of a female. The male eventually came out in front of us on rocks at eye level, about 20 feet away, and called at us for the next 15 minutes. Another male flew in and landed nearby, and a third male responded further down canyon.
We found a surprise nest at about four feet from the ground in a juniper, with three large, hungry young, which I think were MEXICAN JAYS. More good birds included GRAY HAWK, COMMON GROUND-DOVE, nesting WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS, BROAD-BILLED, BLACK-CHINNED and COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRDS, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, three OLIVE-SIDED, four PACIFIC-SLOPE and a single WILLOW FLYCATCHER, the DUSKY-CAPPED/ASH-THROATED/BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER trifecta, ‘AZURE’ EASTERN BLUEBIRDS, a late (away from high elevation) YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, a couple of WILSON’S WARBLERS, eight PAINTED REDSTARTS, HEPATIC, SUMMER and WESTERN TANAGERS, RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW, HOODED ORIOLE. If I remember correctly, an ABERT’S TOWHEE is rare for this location.
Along Ruby Rd on the return to Rio Rico, a RED-TAILED HAWK took off from the roadside with a big, wiggling snake.