Birding Blog Archives

April 5th, 2016
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Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Zone-tailed Hawk and Gray Hawks Galore!

We had a great day yesterday, but we wanted to spend more time photographing birds at Las Cienegas and around Patagonia. We also took in Amado Pond, Green Valley and Florida Canyon for an impressive day list of 88 species.

Esplendor Resort, Rio Rico:

The HOODED ORIOLES were putting on a show as they always do here in summer. They nest in the many palm trees at the resort.

Rio Rico Golf Club:

An impressive eight duck species adorned the first pond by the clubhouse, including ‘MEXICAN’ MALLARD, BLUE-WINGED and CINNAMON TEAL, CANVASBACK, RING-NECKED DUCK and LESSER SCAUP, as well as PIED-BILLED GREBE. GRAY HAWKS called from the nearby cottonwoods, and proved to be absolutely everywhere today. Their numbers increase every year, which is great news. A NEOTROPIC CORMORANT flew by as we drove north on I-19.

Amado Pond:

A pair of CATTLE EGRETS was a nice find.

Cattle Egret

Green Valley:

We took in the typical desert species of this neighborhood, including HARRIS’S HAWK, INCA DOVE, BLACK-TAILED GNATCATCHER, PHAINOPEPLA, LUCY’S WARBLER, BLACK-THROATED SPARROW, PYRRHULOXIA, my first BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK of the year, and yet another JAVELINA. I’ve seen loads of these recently, for some reason.

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Lucy's Warbler

Lucy's Warbler

Lucy's Warbler

Harris's Hawk


Florida Canyon:

We stopped in at the parking lot briefly as we were passing by, and were rewarded with BELL’S VIREO, as well as the nesting GRAY HAWKS.

Las Cienegas:

A longer drive through than yesterday gave us a chance to stufdy and photograph the likes of LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, VESPER and GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS, a nice flock of LARK BUNTINGS, and ‘LILIAN’S EASTERN MEADOWLARK.

Grasshopper Sparrow

Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds:

The hummingbird show was brought to us by BLACK-CHINNED, ANNA’S, BROAD-BILLED and the lovely VIOLET-CROWNED HUMMINGBIRD.

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Also at this special place we found GRAY HAWK, INCA DOVE, a nice male LAZULI BUNTING, and an equally nice male BULLOCK’S ORIOLE (my first of the year.)

Bullock's Oriole

Blue Haven Rd:

I was pleased to find a screaming ZONE-TAILED HAWK near the regular nest site.

Zone-tailed Hawk

Nearby we found the inevitable GRAY HAWK, plus DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, and a showy YELLOW WARBLER.

Dusky-capped Flycatcher

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warbler

Salero Crossing:

A bright male SUMMER TANAGER was my first of the year.

Summer Tanager

Summer Tanager

WHITE-THROATED SWIFT and HERMIT THRUSH were also noted here (where the creek crossed the dirt road).

Patagonia Roadside Rest:

I was surprised that we hadn’t seen or even heard a NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET over the past three days, but I eventually found a pair here, calling loudly and showing down to a few feet, as is their habit.

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet

A couple of WILD TURKEYS crept along the creek. We also got more GRAY HAWKS, WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, and RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, while a PEREGRINE FALCON passed overhead. They used to breed in the cliff above the rest stop, and obviously still nest somewhere nearby.

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Patagonia Lake Rd:

We tried to rustle up a Botteri’s Sparrow close to dusk, but to no avail. We did see a GREAT HORNED OWL flying through some distant oaks, and thankfully were given a warning rattle by this fabulous WESTERN DIAMONDBACK RATTLESNAKE, which was a fitting way to end three great days of birding in photography in SE Arizona.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake


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