People sometimes ask me if I get bored, often going to the same places to look for the same target birds, and my honest answer is no. This was my eighth trip to the Atascosa Highlands and Pajarito Wilderness area in ten days, and it was as exciting to me as my very first visit, 13 years ago. It’s my very favorite place in the world, and besides, Five-striped Sparrows are cool!
Along the way we spotted GREATER ROADRUNNER, and BOTTERI’S and LARK SPARROWS.
It took a while, but we eventually found an adult FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW.
The BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS were buzzing around, as were COMMON GROUND-DOVE, BELL’S VIREO, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, NASHVILLE and WILSON’S WARBLERS, RUFOUS-WINGED and BLACK-THROATED SPARROWS, WESTERN TANAGER, BLACK-HEADED and BLUE GROSBEAKS, VARIED BUNTING, and HOODED ORIOLE.
We also found this handsome CANYON SPOTTED WHIPTAIL (aka GIANT SPOTTED WHIPTAIL), distinctive for its bright orange tail and much larger size than other whiptail species.
Peña Blanca Canyon:
As the temperature rose, bird activity decreased, but we still found an impressive array of species, such as GRAY HAWK, ELEGANT TROGON, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, a flyover PEREGRINE FALCON, friendly NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET, DUSKY, PACIFIC-SLOPE, and DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHERS, HUTTON’S and WARBLING VIREOS, NASHVILLE, TOWNSEND’S, and WILSON’S WARBLERS, PAINTED REDSTART, BLACK-HEADED and BLUE GROSBEAKS, and VARIED BUNTING.
Upper White Rock Campground:
Both GRAY and ZONE-TAILED HAWKS gave close flight views.
A BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON was a new addition to the usual suspects.