Friday 3 April 2015 81 °F
Today my mom, dad, sister and I all awoke excruciatingly early, 5:45am to be exact, to take a hike in Madera Canyon before the heat of mid-day. We chose the Carrie Nation Trail, since that is the most reliable place in there canyon for my most-wanted bird of the entire trip: the Elegant Trogon.
We were treated to an amazing sunrise just as we were leaving:
We arrived at the trailhead around 8:00am, and the first noteworthy bird seen along the trail was my life bird YELLOW-EYED JUNCO:
It took about an hour to hike the length of the trail, without finding any trogons. As my spirits started to diminish on the walk back down, I suddenly heard the throaty, repeated call of a male ELEGANT TROGON! Life bird and my #1 bird for the trip! Now if I could only see the bird...
Male TOWNSEND'S WARBLER:
Further down the trail, I saw two birders up ahead, and they motioned for us to stop in our tracks. My dad and I halted, and then slowly crept towards the birders. The woman pointed up at a clump of twigs in a tree, and there sat my FIRST EVER female ELEGANT TROGON! Awesome!!!
As I crept to a better place to view the bird, I spotted the even more brightly-colored male! What a stunning bird!!!
Cropped version of the last photo:
Counting the heard-only bird, there was a total of three (!) Elegant Trogons along the Carrie Nation Trail in Madera Canyon, Arizona. These trogons are the rarest birds I have seen so far in 2015! Also heard along the trail but not seen or photographed was my life bird JUNIPER TITMOUSE.
A big thank you to my dad for driving to Madera and hiking with me, and to my mom for hiking a different trail with my rambunctious (but adorable) little sister.
Our next stop in Madera Canyon was at the Santa Rita Lodge, where I showed the nice woman at the lodge, Becky, my photo of the Elegant Trogon. Check out their Facebook page for more information about the lodge, and they even posted my photo of the male Elegant Trogon today!
They have an expansive, absolutely fantastic feeder display, which not only attracts birds, but also a rare Coatimundi, a raccoon-like mammal that is typically found in Mexico and Central America; Madera Canyon is one of the few (2 or 3) places where it can be seen in the entire country!
Here is a male BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBID with its lovely violet gorget (iridescent throat feathers):
There were also 16 WILD TURKEYS, "Gould's" subspecies, that were feeding under the feeders, including this displaying tom turkey:
After visiting the Santa Rita Lodge feeders, my family and I ate lunch at a beautiful picnic site further down Madera Canyon. After that, we drove to a Safeway store, went shopping, and drove to our hacienda-house for a relaxing afternoon.
I spent most of the afternoon swimming in the pool at our house and birding the property. I found this beautiful BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, a male, at one of the hummingbird feeders:
At one point, my family and I relaxed in the hot tub. Here is a photo of us, taken by my uncle, who generously allowed me to post his photo to this blog:
Around 6pm, we left to have dinner with my aunt and uncle at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in "downtown" Tubac. The food was great, and my uncle even ordered a main course of cow tongue! I tried it, and it actually tasted quite good!
An evening at the hacienda-house ended with me playing "Taps" on the trumpet outside, and it was neat to hear the music echo off of the nearby desert hills.
What a fantastic day! I will have to picture myself in the hot tub when I return to the institution-that-shall-not-be-named, sch**l, on Monday.
Bird-of-the-day goes to, of course, the 3 ELEGANT TROGONS, a stupendous life bird and so far the rarest bird I have seen this year! Runner-up goes to the 16 funny WILD TURKEYS at the Santa Rita Lodge feeders; especially that one amazing tom turkey who put on his full display for us. The full list of bird species can be found below.
Stay tuned for more birding fun tomorrow, my last full day in Arizona!
World Life List: 750 Species (3 life birds today)
50 avian species today:
- life bird
- Elegant Trogon
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
- Juniper Titmouse
Black-throated Gray Warbler
- Yellow-eyed Junco