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Southeast Arizona, August 2002

Part 4:  The Huachucas

Had a marvelous day up in the Huachucas the next day with birding buddy Judy Pike! She met me at Windemere, and then headed to Carr Canyon. We slowly made our way up the road, getting marvelous looks at Black-throated Gray Warbler and a female Hepatic Tanager, in addition to the stupendous views! Heard lots of Rufous-crowned Sparrows and Bridled Titmice going up, but they weren't showing themselves; we did manage to flush a Cooper's Hawk up in the pines, however. At the end of the road we took the trail down the hill a little, and before long a life bird for Judy went whizzing by: a Band-tailed Pigeon! Another potential lifer, a Virginia's Warbler, was singing across the canyon, and we indeed got them to come in to an owl whistle, but she didn't see them well enough to count; we also had a Hutton's Vireo in our face and yet another Black-throated Gray. A family of Flickers sparred with each other, and a nice Arizona Woodpecker came in to a dead tree, giving great looks! Canyon Wrens sang from the hillsides and White-throated Swifts were chattering incessantly.

View from Carr Canyon Road

In the pines had plenty of Robins and a few Steller's Jays, but a dumpy-looking dark-capped, rusty-throated thing had me thrown until Judy mentioned she had had Eastern Bluebirds high in the canyons previously, so that solved that mystery (although seeing one so high still threw me)! Yellow-eyed Juncos sang in the trees, and over at The Reef, a stroll around the campground yielded some great birds, included Grace's Warbler and a female Olive! But the icing was hearing a sharp whit that I decided to go after, and sure enough, before long a Buff-breasted Flycatcher came zooming into a tree! Interestingly heard a Scrub Jay on the way out, so that made a jay sweep (as we had had Mexican on the way up)!

                                    

Left:  Yet another Black-throated Gray Warbler in the chaparral.  Next two shots:  Magnificent Hummingbirds.  Right:  Calliope Hummingbird

After that romp across the dirt road the day before, I had noticed that my steering wheel wasn't vibrating nearly as much as it had been (meaning that most of the mud had probably fallen off), so I decided at the last minute to skip taking the car in and just continuing on with the birding, which was fine with Judy (since she hadn't made an appointment for me; it was just a first-come, first-served sort of thing); in fact, when she had told Earl that I was going to have the tire guys take the wheels off to clean them, he said to her, "Why?!" Evidently mud like that does eventually loosen up and fall off on its own.

That having been decided, we headed over to Ramsey Canyon, scaring up a couple of Scaled Quail on the way in. We sat and watched the hummers for about 25 minutes (along with a bunch of other people getting ready to go on a docent-led nature walk), and said docent did a very good job at calling out what was coming in: in addition to the ubiquitous Blackchins were several Broad-tails, Rufous-types, a few Anna's, and the token Broad-billed, Calliope, Magnificent, Blue-throated, and the hybrid Mag/Beryline! We headed on up the hill after that to the pond where we were told there was a Beryline Hummer on the nest, but couldn't find it. We went up to the Hamburg Trail turnoff, enjoying a singing Plumbeous Vireo, Brown Creepers hitching up the trees, and young Acorn Woodpeckers playing hide and seek, then turned around after a rest. On the way down actually saw more stuff as we ran into a group of ladies from California: added Painted Redstart, Spotted Towhee, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and a great look at a Cordilleran as well! But the real treat was the Beryline: the ladies had found the nest (nowhere near where we had initially been told) and mama was sitting there as cute as she could be! We left the nature walk crowd with her as we continued on down and back to the car (after buying souvenirs, of course!). Like an idiot I pulled a T-shirt off the "large" rack without double-checking the tag, and I wound up with an extra-large Roadrunner T that just hung on me, so one of my friends in San Diego got a free T-shirt!

           

Left:  Broad-tailed Hummingbird.  Two center shots:  Female and male Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  Right:  L-R: Broad-tailed, female Broad-billed, Black-chinned Hummingbirds

                                               

L-R:  Rufous Hummingbird, female Beryline Hummingbird on the nest, Spotted Towhee, and peek-a-boo Acorn Woodpecker

    

Ramsey Canyon Nature Trail with happy birders!

Stopped at Cold Stone for birthday ice cream; I'll have to remember to get their mudd pie concoction next time as well! We both dribbled our treats on the way to Miller Canyon and finished up just in time to hike up to the viewing area at Beatty's B&B! We sat for about a half hour where more of the same came in; no White-eared or otherwise earth-shattering species, although a knockout male Rufous was guarding one of the feeders! We did hear a Greater Pewee walking up to the area, so at least there was something new for the stop! Got great looks at Black-headed Grosbeak here, too, although I missed the Arizona Woodpecker that came in close.

Moochers at the Beattys'...

                           

Left:  Calliope Hummingbird.  Center:  female Broad-tailed Hummingbird.  Right:  Mexican Jays

         

Black-headed Grosbeaks

          

Another grosbeak with Lesser Goldfinch (also at right)

Decided to go to San Pedro House after that, and we both agreed that next time we'll do this first! It was actually quite nippy up in the mountains, but down here it was sweltering! We did add several good day birds, including both Chipping and Black-throated Sparrow down by the river, Abert's Towhee, Yellow Warbler, Yellowthroat, Summer Tanager, a skylarking Chat, lots of Vermy Flys, and a Mexican Duck and some Coots at Kingfisher Pond, as well as a friendly Common Ground Dove. A Cassin's Sparrow sang in the field on the way back. A quick stop at the Sierra Vista Sewage Ponds added a Roadrunner on the way in and Say's Phoebe for the trip, plus a really ratty-looking Yellow-headed Blackbird and a Lark Sparrow on the way out.

       

The Huachucas from San Pedro River Area (left) and Kingfisher Pond (right)

      

L-R:  Common Ground Dove, Western Wood Pewee, and Lark Sparrow.  Right:  Monsoon bearing down on Sierra Vista

Birding buddy Judy Pike escaping the heat

Went to pick up Judy's husband Earl after that, then went for birthday dinner at Tacho's!  

Continue to Cave Creek Canyon

Go back to Saguaro

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