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January 17th, 2015
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Santa Cruz Valley and Santa Rita Mountains

A very productive day of birding in Santa Cruz and Pima counties, with a total of 68 species.

Tubac:
A very brief attempt failed to turn up the Sinaloa Wren early morning.

Amado Pond:
The PACIFIC LOON continues, along with the icterid flock, complete with a bunch of BRONZED COWBIRDS.

Pacific Loon

Green Valley/Continental:
Two stops, one either side of the freeway, gave us a nice selection of desert species, including WHITE-WINGED DOVE, COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD, GILDED FLICKER, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, CANYON TOWHEE, and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.

Cactus Wren

Madera Canyon:
The feeders at Santa Rita Lodge produced a good selection, including WILD TURKEY, INCA DOVE, MAGNIFICENT, ANNA’S and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, PAINTED REDSTART, HEPATIC TANAGER, a YELLOW-EYED JUNCO among DARK-EYED JUNCOS of four subspecies: Gray-headed, Oregon, Pink-sided, and a Slate-colored, rare locally and possibly a returning bird from last winter.

Hepatic Tanager

Inca Dove

Slate-colored Junco

Now, as I always tell everyone, I’m not a photographer, I’m a birder with a camera, which I point at wildlife from time to time. In the last year, since my eight-year-old Canon 30D camera magically started working again, having been broken (first lens, then camera) for a couple of years, I have variously forgotten to take the camera out with me, failed to charge the batteries, left CF cards at home, and gone through a set of batteries and an old charger. Today, I finally got the final part of the jigsaw in place. With a full battery and empty but present CF card, I sat down and figured out why my photos were so horrible by messing around with the settings and getting them back on track.

About three years after last taking a decent photo, I think I’m back… well, until something else goes wrong! Despite being an ‘ancient’ camera by digital standards, with an equally old and leaky 100-400 zoom lens, and only 8.5 megapixels compared with today’s super-cameras, it still takes some nice photos when the handler at least attempts to be vaguely competent. Hopefully they should be better from here on in…

White-breasted Nuthatch

Wild Turkey

Pine Siskins

At Madera Kubo Cabins, the feeder birds were joined by wintering OLIVE WARBLER and TOWNSEND’S WARBLER in the giant sycamores.

Olive Warbler

The view at the top of Madera Canyon Rd:

Madera Canyon

Florida Canyon:
A BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER was along the road 400 yards before the parking area, along with GRAY FLYCATCHER and HERMIT THRUSH.

Gray Flycatcher

Rio Rico:
A quick stop at dusk gave us good views of VERMILION FLYCATCHER.

 

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