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July 16th, 2015
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Rufous-capped Warbler, Montezuma Quail, Buff-collared Nightjar, and more Five-striped Sparrow shenanigans

An exceptional day of classic SE Arizona birding, with 91 species and many big highlights.

Potrero Creek, Rio Rico:

A mix-up over start times meant I had an hour to kill at the truck stop on Ruby Rd early morning, so I wandered into the adjacent riparian habitat, which produced NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET and TROPICAL KINGBIRD among others.

Rio Rico Ponds:

54 BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCKS were on the main pond. Several TROPICAL KINGBIRDS were in the area, as was a nice SWAINSON’S HAWK.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks and 'Mexican' Mallards (Mexican Ducks)

Swainson's Hawk

Amado Pond:

A NEOTROPIC CORMORANT continues, while a LEAST SANDPIPER flew around looking for somewhere to land, and TROPICAL KINGBIRDS called from the back of the pond.

Green Valley:

The typical desert species were found along the southern section of S. La Cañada Drive, including HARRIS’S HAWK, INCA DOVE, GILDED FLICKER, and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Harris's Hawk

Madera Canyon:

We didn’t have any luck with the Plain-capped Starthroat at Santa Rita Lodge today in an hour of watching, but we were compensated with a pair of GRAY HAWKS, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, HEPATIC TANAGER, and BRONZED COWBIRD.

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Both VARIED BUNTING, and HOODED ORIOLE put in an appearance at Proctor Rd.

Proctor Road, Madera Canyon

Peña Blanca Lake:

After the disappointment of the regular Zone-tailed Hawk nest tree falling in the storms, presumably destroying the nest, the hawks seem to have departed the area. However, a pair of MONTEZUMA QUAIL slowly crossing the road near the parking lot was a big bonus.

Montezuma Quail

Peña Blanca Lake

Peña Blanca Lake

A pair of RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS showed nicely at the White Rock Campground.

Rufous-winged Sparrow

Peña Blanca Canyon:

The rain came, but rather than dampening the spirits mid-afternoon, it helped cool the canyon and activity was considerably higher than yesterday, despite a few continuing showers. A pair of RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLERS put on a great show about a mile down canyon.

Rufous-capped Warbler

A male ELEGANT TROGON did likewise, only a quarter mile from the parking area, closer to the road than I’ve ever seen one here. A vocal ZONE-TAILED HAWK perched on the hillside, a pair of ARIZONA WOODPECKERS worked the oaks, and MONTEZUMA QUAIL was calling a mile down canyon.

Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon

Zone-tailed Hawk

California Gulch:

To my surprise, a BUFF-COLLARED NIGHTJAR was singing heartily when we arrived at 7:30 p.m., much earlier than any of my previous visits this year. Maybe it was the dark, overcast skies that provoked the early appearance. We saw it a couple of times before the rain came back at 8:00 p.m. I had yet another interesting first with my good buddies, the FIVE-STRIPED SPARROWS. One was singing when we arrived at the entrance to Warsaw Canyon (quite a way from yesterday’s landmark bird), but the bigger surprise was when another piped up at 7:48 p.m. on the edge of California Gulch, when it was almost dark, and I was able to get it in the flashlight, the first time I’ve spotlighted this species. Will the Five-striped fun ever end this year? Also there, calling COMMON POORWILL, and RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW.

Ruby Rd:

Three different GREAT HORNED OWLS were seen at the roadside as we happily headed home, engorged with SE Arizona specialty birds and fine memories.

Pajarito Wilderness, from Ruby Road

 

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