Birding Blog Archives

August 29th, 2014
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Sinaloa Wren, American Redstart

An excellent morning of birding with Steve Nesbitt in Huachuca Canyon, which was very birdy with several big highlights. The afternoon was reserved for more top quality birding from comfortable chairs at two of our amazing feeder sites.

Huachuca Canyon, mile 0:
With thanks to Andrew Core for relaying the news, the (or a) SINALOA WREN is back at the well-known spot in Huachuca Canyon. I found it almost as soon as I arrived, hearing the distinctive ‘ratchet’ call. It was active, calling frequently, and relatively easy to get brief glimpses of. Other birders who saw it later reported hearing a brief burst of song.

To get to the spot, enter Fort Huachuca via any gate (see details of visiting the fort in the weekly Tucson RBA) and find your way to Huachuca Canyon Rd, which is the dirt road that leads into Huachuca Canyon from Christy Ave/Hines Rd. After about 0.2 miles, you’ll see bathrooms on the left and a campground on the right. Park here. Each picnic table/area is named, so finding the exact locations is easy. The main area is the creek to the northeast (right, as you look from the bathrooms) of Camp Maricopa. Today we found the bird by the downed sycamore limb which is just beyond the swing set, then later on the bank adjacent to the swing set, and from there it flew across the campground and went into the tangle by the now flowing side creek beyond Camp Coconino.

If this bird is the same Sinaloa Wren, returning from its last appearance on May 18, then it remains only the third of four records in the USA and ABA area. If it’s a new one, I guess it’s the fifth. Either way, it’s a mega-rare bird!

Sinaloa Wren

Sinaloa Wren

A female-type AMERICAN REDSTART was seen twice, both times briefly, high in the canopy. We first found it about 150 yards down canyon from the wren site, and then later slightly up canyon from Camp Apache. The variety of warblers was good, with others being ORANGE-CROWNED, NASHVILLE, MacGILLIVRAY’S, YELLOW, and WILSON’S WARBLERS, PAINTED REDSTART and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.

American Redstart

A VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD was flycatching 100 yards down canyon from the wren site. There were six hummingbird species in all, with RUFOUS, ANNA’S, BLACK-CHINNED, BROAD-BILLED and MAGNIFICENT in the area.
Also, GRAY HAWK, probably six SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS, and HEPATIC, SUMMER and WESTERN TANAGERS.

Huachuca Canyon, mile 1.7 and up:
A male ELEGANT TROGON was sitting very quietly and obscurely right by the creek above the second dam, which is about 0.7 miles up canyon from the 1.7 mile parking area.
Vireos were good, with several each of PLUMBEOUS, CASSIN’S, HUTTON’S and WARBLING VIREOS (with BELL’S singing down canyon for a five vireo morning).
The warblers continued to impress, with dozens of NASHVILLE and BLACK-THROATED GRAY, several TOWNSEND’S and a RED-FACED, for a total of 11 warbler species throughout the canyon.
Also, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, more SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS, BROWN CREEPER, and HEPATIC, SUMMER and WESTERN TANAGERS.

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Elegant Trogon

Painted Redstart

Red-faced Warbler

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

Nabokov's Satyr

Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center, Patagonia:
Several VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRDS coming in, plus RUFOUS, ANNA’S, BLACK-CHINNED, and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS.
Also, INCA DOVE, YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, BRONZED COWBIRD and lots more. Thanks Larry!

Las Cienegas:
Two NORTHERN HARRIERS near the southern entrance.

Ash Canyon B&B:
We saw probably five LUCIFER HUMMINGBIRDS in 20 minutes in the evening, with at least three adult males, an adult female and a juvenile male. Also, RUFOUS, ANNA’S, BLACK-CHINNED, BROAD-BILLED and MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRDS in good numbers. Thanks Mary Jo!

 

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