An outstanding day of target birding with 90 species, from Rio Rico to the Huachuca Mountains, via Patagonia and Las Cienegas.
Potrero Creek, Rio Rico:
A few minutes early morning, viewing from near the truck stop, produced ‘MEXICAN’ MALLARD, TROPICAL KINGBIRD, ‘MEXICAN’ CLIFF SWALLOW, and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.
Patagonia Roadside Rest:
The THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD pair was tending its nest in an Arizona Sycamore tree.
Also there, LUCY’S WARBLER and YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT.
At the Reef Townsite Campground, the high elevation targets were duly checked off, including BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, GREATER PEWEE, BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, BROWN CREEPER, ‘BROWN-THROATED’ HOUSE WREN, OLIVE WARBLER, GRACE’S WARBLER, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, and SCOTT’S ORIOLE.
Further along the road at Ramsey Vista, we were surprised to find two GREATER ROADRUNNERS at 7,400 feet. More expected, but equally great to see, were a couple of baby PLUMBEOUS VIREO, one of which had left the nest by a few feet, the other not so sure.
A splendid BLACK-TAILED RATTLESNAKE was encountered on the road, giving us a dramatic threat response to our suggestion that it move out of the way.
Further down, a big and very handsome male WHITE-NOSED COATI crossed the road between the switchbacks. I missed it with my camera, so put the camera down, only for us to come face-to-face again after the next switchback! Once more, I missed the photos, so we dashed around the next switchback, but by then he had given us the slip.
In the lower part of the canyon we got excellent views of GRAY HAWK and SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER.
The continuing male FLAME-COLORED TANAGER was eventually found high in the trees near the pond on the Bledsoe Loop.
Also in the first half mile of the canyon, we encountered a male ELEGANT TROGON, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, PAINTED REDSTART, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, and HEPATIC and SUMMER TANAGERS. 11 WILD TURKEYS were seen from the car down canyon.
A very quick search for Sinaloa Wren came up empty, but we did find GRAY HAWK, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER, ‘AZURE’ EASTERN BLUEBIRD, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK in a few minutes.
Cottonwood Pond gave us GRAY HAWK, and COMMON GROUND-DOVE, while four or five BURROWING OWLSwere at the northernmost BLACK-TAILED PRAIRIE-DOG reintroduction site. As usual for mid-July, WESTERN KINGBIRDS have started arriving in big numbers, stopping off on their southbound migration to molt, and take advantage of the insects that proliferate at this season.
Summer sparrows were on form and seem to be doing very well, with BOTTERI’S, CASSIN’S, LARK, BLACK-THROATED and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS all present in good numbers.
Also in the grasslands, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, HORNED LARK, BLUE GROSBEAK, and ‘LILIAN’S’ EASTERN MEADOWLARK.
Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center, Patagonia:
A quick stop gave us what we wanted, namely INCA DOVE, and VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD. Thanks Larry!