SE Arizona - Madera Canyon (18-19 Feb 2013)

by AJ 19. February 2013 17:55

Grabbed some coffee and headed west on Ruby Road to Pena Blanca Lake.  I don't know how many times I've driven Ruby Road and never stopped here because we were on to destinations further into the middle of nowhere.  This time I would forego Sycamore Canyon and California Gulch for a bit of civilized birding.

The morning was cold and it took awhile for the activity to pick up.  The lake held several waterfowl and coots but the prize was one Least Grebe.  After a successful nesting the numbers are down but maybe more will arrive later.  It was fun to have a Hammond's Flycatcher trying to stir up the bugs and a Red-naped Sapsucker was a pleasant surprise.

From there it was north on I19 and across the scrub to Montosa Canyon.  This ended up being a bird free zone, bit on the way back to the Interstate I pulled off to dump out some cold coffee.  Jumping around the scrub were both Black-throated and Rufous-winged Sparrows.  Nice!

On to Madera Canyon.  After a night in a cheap motel in Nogales with trains on one side and trucks on the other, I splurged for a night in a casita at Santa Rita Lodge.  There aren't a lot of people staying in the canyon this time of year and what a peaceful time it was.  The finch feeders were loaded with Pine Siskins and Lesser Goldfinches while juncos cleaned up the mess under the feeders.  The real vacuum cleaner, however, was this coatimundi.


A side trip to Florida Canyon found some small pools of water and a number of birds such as juncos, kinglets, and a Hermit Thrush.  I was tempted to try the hike up the trail but thought better of it.


The night was so interestingly quiet.  Other times I have been in Madera Canyon after dark we have had sensational owling.  I guess February is just too early and all was eerily quiet (except for the wind).

The next morning I spent a good deal of time just sitting on the benches at Santa Rita Lodge and snapping photos of the birds coming in to feed.  Here are a few of the shots I got.


Bridled Titmouse


Acorn Woodpecker


Arizona Woodpecker


Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon race)


Dark-eyed Junco (Red-backed race)


Hepatic Tanager

Up the road at Madera Kubo I found the female Hepatic Tanager, a pair of Magnificent Hummingbirds, and this guy.


Painted Redstart

With a weather forecast of mucho snow the next day, I headed to Tucson rather than spend another night in Madera Canyon.  Narrow, steep, slippery roads just didn't sound all that appealing.


Birds | Travel

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