Saturday, 30 April 2016

Arizona Day 3: Madera Canyon to Arivaca Lake

Began the day along Proctor Road at the base of Madera Canyon, an area that has some decent Riparian woodland with a small stream and lots of bushes and scrub. In the recent past this has been the place for Buff-collared Nightjar but there hasn’t been any news so far this year. 

Proctor Road Habitat

Greater Roadrunner

So we took a walk here for an hour and saw our second and third Greater Roadrunners of the day – the first one was in the driveway of the Esplendor Resort. I’m not going to talk about this place as it is currently being renovated, and boy does it need it. Maybe when the refurbishment has been done it will look something like it does on their website..!!!!  

Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Anyway, yes nice views of Roadrunner here, as well as PhainopeplaBlue-grey Gnatcatcher, a fine Zone-tailed Hawk flying overhead, Hooded Oriole, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and several Wilson’s Warblers.

The fabled hills of Madera Canyon 

 So afterwards we drove up into Madera Canyon and walked along the Super trail that took us high up into the hills in search of trogons. Again we bumped into people who had heard them but we didn’t get a sniff again. However, it was a lovely walk and we thoroughly enjoyed a singing Black-throated Grey Warbler that patrolled an area of oaks and conifers next to the path. 

Black-throated Grey Warbler

A pair of Hutton’s Vireos were also confiding, a pair of Rufous-crowned Sparrows showed nicely, and I sussed out a call that had been bothering me for a few days – Dusky-capped Flycatcher being the culprit. Oh and our first Hammond’s Flycatcher was well and truly nailed this morning. These flycatchers are really tricky and we’ve let a few go already without identifying them but this one did call and the long primaries, tail and bill length all pointed to this species.

Black-headed Grosbeak is easily seen here at feeders.

We checked out the feeders at Santa Rita Lodge, seeing much the same as yesterday before heading to Ruby Road. The idea was to check out the road to California Gulch for Five-striped Sparrow despite the dearth of recent sightings. However, part of this road is closed for construction so we ended up heading to Arivaca Lake, stopping for lunch in a little diner along the way in the middle of nowhere. As we turned off the main road onto a dirt track we drove across rolling grass-covered hills and stopped along a line of small trees and found a Western Wood Pewee, yet more Rufous-winged Sparrows and saw our first Vermillion Flycatchers

Rufous-winged Sparrow

A small pond in a valley below the road held a pair of Lesser Scaups – the only ones of the trip. 

Lake Arivaca

The main lake was very picturesque and we quickly notched up American Coots, Pied-billed Grebes, Ruddy Duck, and both Green & Great Blue Herons. The surrounding trees held Summer Tanager, Western Kingbird, Audubon’s Warblers, Lark Sparrows, Lazuli Bunting, Black Phoebe, Belted Kingfisher, and just before we left a Killdeer flew in.

Pied-billed Grebes were very confiding


We left here in the late afternoon and called in to Safeway to purchase a picnic for our evening excursion back in Madera Canyon. After overindulging in yoghurt, cheese, fruit and gorgeous brown bread we walked back up to Santa Rita Lodge and waited until 6.50pm before an obliging Elf Owl popped its head out of its nest hole in a telegraph post. 

The tiny Elf Owl at its Madera Canyon Stake-Out

Afterwards, we took all of 10 minutes before spotlighting a Whiskered Screech-Owl perched on a bare branch at the edge of the car park. I didn’t expect this much-wanted bird to be so easy, if only I could say the same about the Mexican Whip-Poor-Wills calling at the top of the canyon. Well, they just called and called and never left the shelter of their section of forest at the top of a steep slope. I was wondering if they are a bit easier later in the season? Anyway, we managed to get back to the motel at a reasonable time as we needed to get packed and ready for an early morning departure to Patagonia.

No comments:

Post a Comment