- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - https://www.arizonabirder.com -

Montezuma Quail, Rufous-capped Warbler, Common Black Hawk, Elegant Trogon, Northern Pygmy-Owl

An excellent day of birding from Florida Canyon to Peña Blanca Lake and Canyon, with many great birds.

Madera Canyon:

The day started for me in fine form when three MONTEZUMA QUAIL crossed the road right in front of me as I arrived in the canyon. Typically, though, they had vanished when I returned a few minutes later with my clients. We did find a flyby BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, a couple of singing SCOTT’S ORIOLES, and a flyover PINE SISKIN.

Florida Canyon:

We tallied 45 species in less than three hours in the canyon, with some excellent highlights. Chief among those was our main target bird, RUFOUS-CAPPED WARBLER, which was singing on our arrival in the breeding area and showed particularly well.

Rufous-capped Warbler [1]

Rufous-capped Warbler [2]

Also in the canyon, GRAY HAWK, COMMON GROUND-DOVE, BLACK-CHINNED, COSTA’S, BROAD-TAILED, RUFOUS, and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, NORTHERN BEARDLESS-TYRANNULET, HAMMOND’S FLYCATCHER, a couple of unseen, calling BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHERS, calling CRISSAL THRASHER, ORANGE-CROWNED and LUCY’S WARBLERS, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, LAZULI BUNTING, and HOODED and SCOTT’S ORIOLES.

Gray Hawk [3]

Gray Hawk [4]

Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet [5]

Continental Mulberry Trees:

Still a bit early for major action here, but three CEDAR WAXWINGS were perusing the fruits and finding at least some that were ripe enough.

Green Valley:

Highlights among the desert species included a HARRIS’S HAWK, three GILDED FLICKERS, and several RUFOUS-WINGED SPARROWS.

Black-throated Sparrow [6]

Black-throated Sparrow [7]

Rufous-winged Sparrow [8]

Rufous-winged Sparrow [9]

Amado Pond:

Very few birds remain from the winter, but two that were passing through were noteworthy: a SNOWY EGRET and a BLACK-NECKED STILT.

Walker Canyon:

We hadn’t planned to stop, but GRAY HAWKS caught our eye. A pair has built a new nest in a large sycamore and were mating next to it, with a third bird jealously flying overhead.

Gray Hawk [10]

Peña Blanca Lake:

The lake was productive, with the hoped-for COMMON BLACK HAWK, plus CINNAMON TEAL, NEOTROPIC CORMORANT, GRAY and ZONE-TAILED HAWKS, COSTA’S HUMMINGBIRD, DUSKY-CAPPED and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW, both ROCK and CANYON WRENS with young on nests, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, and LAZULI BUNTING.

Peña Blanca Canyon:

I didn’t expect much, arriving mid-afternoon, but we did pretty well, with 35 species and some great highlights.

The obvious one was ELEGANT TROGON, of which we encountered three. We couldn’t get a good view, so had to be content with what we had… until we got back to the car to find a vocal male calling and presenting himself agitatedly just before dusk.

Elegant Trogon [11]

Elegant Trogon [12]

As we were listening to another trogon further up-canyon, a tooting noise caught our attention and we were soon looking at a splendid NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL perched on the hillside.

Northern Pygmy-Owl [13]

Other birds in the canyon included GRAY HAWK, INCA DOVE, a calling ELF OWL, COSTA’S and BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS, ARIZONA WOODPECKER, HAMMOND’S, VERMILION, DUSKY-CAPPED and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS, and LAZULI BUNTING.

Arizona Woodpecker [14]

Dusky-capped Flycatcher [15]

Gray Hawk [16]