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Southeast Arizona 2004

Part 3: Patagonia Area

The Greaterville Road

Headed back out to Continental at the crack of dawn, and at the last minute decided to do a Madera Canyon Road Run, just to see what was there first thing in the morning. I was glad I did, as I picked up a mess of new birds! Cassin’s and Botteri’s were at it again, as well as a few Rufouscrown and Blackthroats, and one (surprise again) Rufouswing, but the real surprise was a pair of Chippies! A Scaled Quail called in the distance, and picked up the churr of yet another Monty Quail! Gaining altitude added Spotted Towhee and what sure sounded like a Gray Hawk, but I don’t know if they’re supposed to be there. Up in the picnic area a Painted Redstart came to say hello, and several Arizona Woodpeckers called. I pulled over where I probably shouldn’t have, but got a Plumbeous Vireo and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher out of it! Up at the top I just listened for five, but no trogons. Checked the feeders on the way down, but nothing new. Stopped at the Proctor Potty where a Varied Bunting finally allowed a brief look!

Headed over to the Greaterville Road after that, where the Black-throated Sparrows were much more numerous, and a shrike scolded me from the wire. The only new trip bird I picked up was a distant Eastern Meadowlark (dipped on the Black-chinned Sparrow this time; I guess they’re all here in San Diego this year…), but it was still a very birdy, beautiful road! A Cooper’s Hawk zipped across at one point, and at a wash a Blue Grosbeak was cooperative for pictures. Bewick’s Wrens were all over, and at various stops picked up Cactus, Canyon, and Rock as well. Almost ran over a beautiful golden snake that turned out to be a Black-tailed Rattler (had to wait to get home to consult the book, as I had maddeningly forgotten both the reptile and mammal books…)! At a luscious riparian area a Summer Tanager was calling, while a Scott’s Oriole sang from the hillside. At the other end the grassland birds showed up again, including tons of Western Kingbirds. While I was stopped to get my bearings a very nice Border Patrol guy stopped to make sure I was okay! Between this guy and the BP guys who looked after me when I got stuck two years ago, I’m pretty impressed with law enforcement here!


L-R:  Black-throated Sparrow, Blue Grosbeak, Loggerhead Shrike, Bewick's Wren (even birds blink when you take their picture...)


Black-tailed Gnatcatchers


Black-tailed Rattlesnake

Headed on down to Sonoita Creek after that, where I practically had the place to myself! Gray Hawks whistled from the cottonwoods, and buntings buzzed all over but refused to give a look (which was frustrating because they were probably Indigo, although the only one who allowed a look was a female with no wingbars and a pale, unmarked breast—beats me what that was!). Again, because it was mid-day, I was shot by the end of the two-hour walk, but there were still tons of birds around: chats, yellowthroats, pewees, Phains, and Yellow Warblers were abundant; and Summer Tanagers, Bewick’s Wrens, goldfinches, Song Sparrows, and Blue Grosbeaks were also common. Had a few new things, such as Western Tanagers and a pair of perky Wilson’s Warblers, but the target Thick-billed Kingbird came through in all his glory, thankfully! (That was another one I almost let go as a heard-only until the Lord finally said, "Oh, c’mon! It sounds like he’s right there; at least try to look for him!")


Left:  Shy Yellow-breasted Chat at Sonoita Creek.  Right:  Not-so-shy Arizona Gray Squirrel

After that headed to Pattons’, where I ran into another birding couple who were very nice (he had a monster camera); we sat and watched the feeders, and the Violet-crowned Hummer came in pretty quickly! A Gila Woodpecker horned in on one of the hummer feeders, while White-winged Doves hogged the seed feeders (also had a singing Inca Dove for the trip). Some Gambel’s Quail said hello, and lastly an Anna’s joined the Blackchins and Broadbills!


Left two shots:  A Gila Woodpecker thinks about raiding the hummingbird feeder and finally gives in!  Center:  Female Broad-billed hummingbird.  Right:  Very warm Western Kingbird at the Sierra Vista sewer ponds

Completely forgot about the rest stop (I opted to skip the lake, as I was shot, and didn’t wanna take the chance of paying to get in and then not being able to park, and a monsoon was on the way), so I drove on in to Sierra Vista, and decided at the last minute to swing by the Sierra Vista wetlands. Another monsoon was on its way, but it still was a productive quickie stop with three Chihuahuan Ravens, three Mexican Ducks, a Cinnamon Teal, and a couple of Yellow-headed Blackbirds!

Got gassed and iced up after that, then finally found the Best Western; I think next time I may stay at Windemere after all, as they have a restaurant on-site, so you don’t have to bother with driving or getting caught in a storm!

Continue to San Pedro

Go back to Ruby Road

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