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A really fine day of target birding in the Huachuca Mountains, with the focus on flycatchers. We had one particularly special moment.
The pair of TUFTED FLYCATCHERS, high in the canyon, was our main goal, and the long hike was well worth the effort as we got excellent views of these special birds. The male was down canyon a little while the female tirelessly worked on her nest.
After watching for more than an hour we were about to leave when one of the flycatchers swooped down and unexpectedly landed a few feet in front of me in perfect light. I couldn’t believe my luck! This was by far the best views I’ve ever had of this species, and I managed to get the photos to match. It was a very rewarding experience.
We enjoyed more flycatchers along the trail: CORDILLERAN, DUSKY-CAPPED, BROWN-CRESTED and my first SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHERS of the year.
Also in the canyon, WILD TURKEY, WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, PLUMBEOUS and HUTTON’S VIREOS, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, ‘BROWN-THROATED’ HOUSE WREN, HERMIT THRUSH, AMERICAN ROBIN, GRACE’S, BLACK-THROATED GRAY and RED-FACED WARBLERS, PAINTED REDSTART, YELLOW-EYED JUNCO, and HEPATIC and WESTERN TANAGERS.
BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHER was our main target here, and as usual the Reef Townsite Campground didn’t let us down, with multiple birds being seen in a variety of poses.
We lapped up good views of GREATER PEWEE.
A migrant OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER added to the flycatcher frenzy.
A pair of BROWN CREEPERS showed nicely, although they do employ impressive camouflage. Spot the creeper!
We also enjoyed prolonged views of a pair of OLIVE WARBLERS, as well as WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, HUTTON’S VIREO, GRACE’S WARBLER, PAINTED REDSTART, and YELLOW-EYED JUNCO.
As we headed back down canyon, we got brief views of a yearling BLACK BEAR as it crossed the road in front of us and shuffled up the hill.
The grassland at the base of the mountains provided singing BOTTERI’S SPARROW, SWAINSON’S HAWK, and a pair of ‘MEXICAN’ CLIFF SWALLOWS outside the excellent Pizzeria Mimosa.