Friday, 20 May 2016

Arizona ... Days 9, 10 and 11

An early visit to Cochise lake and a few new birds were found. The Meadowlarks here are a little different. I have seen reference to Lilian’s Meadowlark not sure whether this just an alternate name for Eastern or a separate race.

Plumbeous Vireo

The main area of interest today was a trip to the Chiricahua National Monument. I spent many hours walking through Pinery Canyon and was pleased to be picking up new birds. I think some of tem had been spotted before but I was only now confident at Identifying them.

Yellow-eyed Junco

Pinery Canyon

Black-throated Grey Warbler


The road to the National Monument was quiet because they were improving the road and delays of up to 15 minutes were normal. That said, once through, the roads were clear and almost empty. The views were spectacular and a few interesting birds made the wait worthwhile.

Lilian's Meadowlark

Washed the hire car and left it in the shade to dry.

My late lunch/early dinner at ‘The Dining Car’ was huge, even I couldn’t eat it all!

Day 10
Don’t worry … nearly done!

I set off from Willcox with the aim of reaching Mount Lemmon very early. I picked up breakfast en route and followed the instructions in the Birder’s Guide. Here my two target birds were Olive and Red-faced Warblers. I was surprised I hadn’t seen them at other sites. The Site Guide suggested two pull-outs and I had photographs of both birds before 7:30am. Result!

Olive Warbler belong to a monotypic family.

Red-faced Warbler

Western Bluebird

Magnificent Hummingbird
So I then wandered from place to place. I found a nice spot by a visitor centre. Bluebirds, Hummingbirds and Wrens.

Mount Lemmon Road

Painted Whitestart


On my route to the Motel I noticed a ‘Birding’ road sign and followed it to Agua Caliente Park. This little oasis was a real treat. It was now very hot (97F) and the water, shade and birds helped me fill the afternoon hours.

Last stop before the motel was Sabino Canyon a lazy stroll in the heat produce a few nice birds but it was very difficult to walk far. If I had arrived earlier I would have used the ‘shuttle bus’. You can hop on and off all over the Canyon and make the most of this large ‘park’.


Managed to get a cluster of smaller spikes in my knee ... still irritating today.

Pssst ... have you seen ...

Very nice food!

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

Wren on Cactus

Must be a Cactus Wren!

Red-shouldered Blackbird

Zebra-tailed Lizard

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Day 11

My last full day of birding. Thank Goodness … I hear you cheering.

My only mistake of the trip. I visited the Sonoran Desert Museum. Don’t do it …it’s horrible. It is no more than a cheap zoo with vey ‘unhappy’ animals. The planting is good and with some water drips and feeders there would be no need for the cages.

So I left and headed for Sweetwater Water Treatment centre. What a fabulous place. I spent nearly three hours at this small complex. My highlight of the trip was also here. It was a Roadrunner with a lizard. I was desperate to get a picture and quickly got a shot. I expected the bird to then disappear at speed … no … it casually walked towards me. It walked within a metre of me, looking up as it went past. I managed a few more photos and was feeling quit smug if not a little confused as to why it didn’t run away. He all of a sudden out of the bush came a young Roadrunner, the lizard was given to the youngster, swallowed and both birds disappeared in a flash. That’s what makes birding special!

Greater Roadrunner

American Coot

Green Heron


A Birder’s Guide to Southeastern Arizona by Richard Cachor Taylor (2005 edition)
Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona (revised 8th Edition) Tucson Audubon Society
Field Guide to the Birds of Western North America by David Sibley
DeLorme Atlas & Gazeteer… Arizona (or  car with SATNAV)

Audubon App
Surfbirds App

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