Archive for 2009 June

Birding in Arizona – Round 2 – Spring

Rufous-capped Warbler:

Rufous-capped Warbler

“Well, we haven’t been there in Spring…” An easy excuse to go back to a place Jeanette and I love, it didn’t take much arm bending to convince Jeanette we “needed” to be back in South Eastern Arizona.
We had some target birds and some target activities and targeted late May as our time of arrival. We landed in a seasonably cool Phoenix after a bit of rain and made our way to the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Our second trip to Arizona was as much about going back to this hotel as it was about the birds. Seriously, Jeanette really likes the place. And what’s not to like? The views are amazing, the amenities are spectacular and the birding on property is simply wonderful.

View from our Hotel:
Ventana Canyon

We met up with Keith Kamper (of AZ Birding – http://az-birding.com/guides/keith-kamper/) to do some night birding and to track down some of the birds we missed on our September trip. While we only had two days with Keith we made the most of it and he provided us with some top notch guiding and some exceptional birds. On the first day we birded Florida Wash and Madera Canyon with a crisp and early wake-up time of 3:30am. While this day didn’t produce my most wanted bird, the Rufous-capped Warbler, it laid the foundation for my subsequent attempts on Monday and Tuesday that eventually did produce a pair of exciting birds. The Kubo B&B started us off with the highly sought Flame-colored Tanager and some wonderful looks at Arizona Woodpecker and Bridled Titmouse.

Flame-colored Tanager:

Flame-colored Tanager
Madera Canyon produced stunning looks at Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, and Red-faced Warblers along with a host of other Arizona specialties. Although this was our second time seeing the Trogon I don’t think there will ever be a time in my life were an “additional encounter” isn’t met with enthusiasm and heart-pounding joy. What a truly beautiful creature!

Elegant Trogon:

Elegant Trogon
We ended our first day with an remarkable rendezvous with Five-striped Sparrow. We drove and hiked down a remarkably tame California Gulch (anyone who has driven the road into Cal Gulch knows that tame is usually not a word associated with its winding, rocky entry) and were paid off with some close time with one of the coolest sparrows I have ever seen. The hike out was much sweeter with the bird ticked off our list.

Five-striped Sparrow:

Five-striped Sparrow
On Sunday we hit the altitude and splendor of Mt. Lemmon. A personal favorite, Jeanette and I were happy to be rising up into it’s cooler grasp and out of the 100 degree heat of the desert floor. We saw Band-tailed Pigeon (sadly only a fleeting glimpse but a glimpse non-the-less! :)), Zone-tailed Hawk, Olive Warbler and Jeanette’s “bird of the trip” the Red-faced Warbler. We ended the day with some Owling and nailed Elf, Western Screech, Whiskered Screech and Flammulated Owl along with the AZ version of Whip-poor-will. We even heard a quick call of a Spotted Owl which was an unexpected bonus.

Red-faced Warbler:

Red Faced Warbler
All and all, a wonderfully successful trip that produced some great memories, some hard earned treasures and a new birding friendship! I ended the trip with 487 Life Birds. 13 to go and a trip to San Diego in September should get me my goal of 500 by the end of 2009. Is there any better passion than Birding? I say, not a chance.

Dan & Jeanette on Mt. Lemmon:

Dan and Jeanette @ Mt. Lemmon
Below are some more of our favorites of the birds we saw. More will be posted on our Flickr site (found by clicking on the Flickr link at the top right of this page).

Gambel’s Quail:

Gambel's Quail

Verdin:

Verdin

Arizona Woodpecker:

Arizona Woodpecker

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