- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - https://www.arizonabirder.com -

Buff-collared Nightjars Again

The same day, but I thought this evening’s adventure deserved it’s own post. We took a well-earned siesta after a fantastic morning, and headed back out to the Atascosa Mountains late in the afternoon for some night birding.

Ruby Rd:

The evening got off to a great start, when a superb BLACK-TAILED RATTLESNAKE crossed the road.

Black-tailed Rattlesnake [1]

Black-tailed Rattlesnake [2]

Black-tailed Rattlesnake [3]

Black-tailed Rattlesnake [4]

Black-tailed Rattlesnake [5]

Black-tailed Rattlesnake [6]

Confluence of California Gulch and Warsaw Canyon:

Arriving just before dusk, we were able to do a bit of birding before the hoped-for nightjar show. We found a FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW, as well as BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER, SUMMER TANAGER, a nice male INDIGO BUNTING, and the usual roost of HOODED ORIOLES.

California Gulch sunset [7]

We didn’t hear any BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR vocalizations until after we’d had a brief view of one on the ground just before 8:00 p.m. We then heard a few stuttering chuckles at 8:02 p.m., followed by a full call from a male. Soon after, we noticed movement beneath the mesquite trees, which turned out to be a pair of nightjars hawking insects. One bird stayed on the ground for a prolonged period, allowing us to approach and get stunning views! Even I managed to get some decent photos. This was the longest I’d ever seen one, as well as the closest. What a thrill!

Buff-collared Nightjar [8]

Buff-collared Nightjar [9]

Buff-collared Nightjar [10]

When we left at about 8:30 p.m., the male was singing again, but it definitely felt like the beginning of the end, as far as calling birds are concerned this year. They will probably be around into August, but may be fairly silent from now on.

Sycamore Canyon:

On our way back to civilization, we dropped in at the parking area and were soon rewarded with excellent views of an ELF OWL. At least two more were calling, as was a COMMON POORWILL.

Elf Owl [11]

What a memorable day, both morning and evening sessions. Thanks Tony.