Wednesday 1 April 2015 75 °F
Today was another fantastic day of birding with my uncle in southeast Arizona, so get ready for another long post!
A bit of birding close to the hacienda in which my family and I am staying yielded this male BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRD at a hummingbird feeder my uncle set up yesterday.
We were on the road in the 9 o'clock hour, and our first stop was at the southern terminus of the Anza Trail in Carmen, Arizona to search for the rare Rufous-backed Robin which had been seen there recently. Upon getting out of the car, I snapped a photo of this picturesque Saguaro Cactus plant on a hillside:
For the second time, we struck out on the Rufous-backed Robin, how annoying! I think we showed up too late in the morning for the bird...
Next, my uncle and I drove northwards toward Madera Canyon with a few stops at the mandatory border patrol checkpoint along the northbound highway, and a stop in the town of Green Valley for lunch at McDonald's.
We made it to Madera Canyon by about 1:15pm and first stopped at the marvelous bird feeding area at the Santa Rita Lodge.
Among the many BROAD-BILLED HUMMINGBIRDS feeding at the hummingbird feeders, I picked out this male BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD. As the title of this posts suggests, it was becoming a great day for hummingbirds!
Next, my uncle and I walked the Nature Trail in Madera Canyon, where we looked for and successfully found some uncommon warbler species, such as this male TOWNSEND'S WARBLER, a life bird for me:
We also found a few PAINTED REDSTARTS, another beautiful and uncommon warbler species:
Then, we drove to a lodge with many hummingbird feeders even further up the Madera Canyon. It was there where we found the rarest bird of the trip so far, a MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD! It stayed at the back feeders, so I only managed these okay photos which really don't accurately portray the beauty of this bird:
Back at the Santa Rita Lodge feeding station, an uncommon female ARIZONA WOODPECKER was present:
Next, on the tip of as few other birders, my uncle and I drove to the adjacent Florida Canyon in search of the rare Elegant Trogon. We quickly found this male PLUMBEOUS VIREO:
As well as my life bird GRAY FLYCATCHER:
We also found this interesting female YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER. It is obviously a hybrid bird between subspecies because of the white and yellow colors on its throat. The white neck color is characteristic of the widespread "Myrtle" subspecies, whereas the yellow neck color is characteristic of the "Audubon" subspecies, a subspecies that only occurs in and west of the Rocky Mountains.
After a lot of fruitless searching up and down the first part of the Florida Canyon Trail, as well as in the dusty parking lot where the trogon was reported, we failed to find our second target bird of the day! Like yesterday, however, two dips on large target birds were partially made up for by a hummingbird: this time, the Magnificent Hummingbird in Madera Canyon.
A bit of bird and nature photography at the hacienda property this evening yielded some nice photo opportunities, including this jackrabbit with extremely long ears:
And this male ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD with its unmistakable pink gorget (area of iridescent feathers) that, unlike most hummingbirds, extends from its neck all the way to the top of its head.
Nothing like a beautiful sunset over the desert and mountains to round off a fantastic day in southeast Arizona.
Bird-of-the-day, for the second day in a row, goes to a hummingbird, the MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD. In light of the title of this post, runner-up goes to the beautiful ANNA'S HUMMINGBIRD with its brilliant gorget. No awards to the missing Rufous-backed Robin and Elegant Trogon! Thursday and Friday mornings, I will have chances to find the Trogon (especially Friday), and the Robin is close enough that a short trip to the area it has been seen wouldn't be out of the question by the time I leave on Sunday.
Stay tuned for an awesome birding trip to Ramsey and Ash Canyons tomorrow to find Lucifer Hummingbirds and possibly Montezuma Quails and Elegant Trogons, as well!
Like always, the full species list for the day is below.
World Life List: 746 Species (3 life birds today)
58 avian species today:
- life bird
- Gray Flycatcher
- Townsend's Warbler
- Canyon Towhee