With my friends Steve and Jim from Florida, I achieved a long-term goal by hiking a jeep trail in Montosa Canyon. We were hoping to find something unusual, such as Gray Vireo, Rufous-capped Warbler, Five-striped Sparrow, or Black-capped Gnatcatcher. While these rarities eluded us, we did have a fantastic hike, with plenty of good birds, in a very beautiful canyon.
We took two cars, parked one at the bottom of the canyon at the 1km mark, and drove the other up to the 5.5 km mark to begin our hike down hill. The jeep trail runs parallel to the dirt road up to the observatory on Mt. Hopkins, passing through some nice juniper habitat at the start, alongside the canyon with potential for similar species to Florida Canyon, and finishing at the bottom having passed through habitat that has previously hosted Five-striped Sparrows.
The bird highlight was a dazzling male INDIGO BUNTING, with other birds including calling MONTEZUMA QUAIL, WESTERN SCRUB-JAY, several BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHERS, multiple VARIED BUNTINGS, and HOODED and SCOTT’S ORIOLES.
We also enjoyed the other wildlife of the canyon, including lots of nice cacti.
The scenery is stunning, some of the best in SE Arizona.