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A very pleasant day of birding in the Santa Rita Mountains and while it seemed to be quiet at times, we still racked up an impressive 75 species.
There are only a few pairs of GILDED FLICKERS in the Green Valley area and they can often be hard to find, but today it was the first bird we saw, perched atop a juniper tree just as the sun came up.
A flock of WHITE-FACED IBIS migrated north along the Santa Cruz Valley. Species more typical of this habitat included ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, PHAINOPEPLA, LUCY’S WARBLER, RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROW, and PYRRHULOXIA.
The fruiting mulberry trees are becoming popular, attracting CASSIN’S KINGBIRD, PHAINOPEPLA, WESTERN TANAGER, and a whole load of PINE SISKINS.
Carrie Nation Trail, Madera Canyon:
We didn’t see or even hear an ELEGANT TROGON until late morning, but eventually a male began calling up canyon, and we had several views as he worked his way down canyon, right past us, then turned and headed up again. At this time of year the males are searching for mates and establishing territories, so this behavior is typical.
I saw my first GRACE’S WARBLER of the year, which is always a treat.
We had to work hard for birds, but we did find ARIZONA WOODPECKER, HAMMOND’S and DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHERS, HUTTON’S VIREO, BUSHTIT, ‘BROWN(ish)-THROATED’ HOUSE WREN, HERMIT THRUSH, AMERICAN ROBIN, BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER, PAINTED REDSTART, SPOTTED TOWHEE, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, and calling HEPATIC TANAGER.
Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon:
At lunchtime the feeders attracted WILD TURKEY, MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK.
We heard a BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER calling on our way up canyon, but decided to press on, which proved to be a mistake as we couldn’t find it on our way back down. The nest I found a while ago that was abandoned by the gnatcatchers has now been picked almost completely apart. I’m sure that it’s the gnatcatchers own doing, recycling nesting material for their new nest, which is presumably in a more sensible spot away from the trail.
We didn’t locate any Rufous-capped Warblers today, although we didn’t arrive at the usual spot until mid-afternoon. A pair of MONTEZUMA QUAIL was flushed from the trail, and a few more were heard calling. We also encountered NORTHERN HARRIER, COSTA’S, BROAD-TAILED, RUFOUS and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET, ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER, BELL’S VIREO, SUMMER TANAGER, SCOTT’S ORIOLE, and a nice SONORAN WHIPSNAKE which froze and allowed us close views, albeit through the undergrowth.