Weekend Rendezvous: Southeast Arizona

When the going gets tough, the tough….go to Southeast Arizona!

Taking a much-needed break from the busyness of five straight months of work at Quinta Mazatlan World Birding Center (though admittedly my work as birding education supervisor is a lot of play) I booked a last-minute weekend trip to Tucson, and spent the weekend running around birding with a few friends, including fellow Leica Birding teammate, Jennie Duberstein.

It’s a bit early in the season for summer birds, but the Sinaloa Wren at Huachuca Canyon (one of two currently present in SE AZ—the 3rd and 4th US records) put on a good show. Unfortunately, the only time he fully exposed himself, he was just a tad bit too close for the focus of my camera!

Sinaloa Wren, Huachuca Canyon

Sinaloa Wren, Huachuca Canyon

A quick loop around Whitewater Draw WMA produced no Ruddy Ground-Doves, but fun views of my spark bird, the Sandhill Crane. They were calling and dancing, anxiously awaiting spring.

Flock of Sandhill Cranes, Whitewater Draw WMA

Flock of Sandhill Cranes, Whitewater Draw WMA

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

Next, it was onward to Tubac, place of the famed Common Black-Hawk migration. In under two hours, we had two Zone-tailed Hawks, NINE Common Black-Hawks (the total count for the day was thirteen), a few Red-tailed Hawks and several dozen Turkey Vultures.

Dueling Zone-tailed Hawks at Tubac

Dueling Zone-tailed Hawks at Tubac

Common Black-Hawk at Tubac

Common Black-Hawk at Tubac

A kettle of Common Black-Hawks

A kettle of Common Black-Hawks

One or two Violet-crowned Hummingbirds made brief appearances at the Paton’s place in Patagonia (now owned by Tucson Audubon), but Broad-billed Hummingbirds stole the show both at both the Paton’s and at Madera Canyon. Magnificent Hummingbirds were also present at Madera.

Broad-billed Hummingbird at Madera Canyon

Broad-billed Hummingbird at Madera Canyon

Finally, Jennie and I ended the weekend with a quick trip to Reid Park in Tucson, and the wintering Lewis’s Woodpecker was much obliging to our presence.

Lewis's Woodpecker reenacting Batman at Reid Park in Tucson

Lewis’s Woodpecker reenacting Batman at Reid Park in Tucson

Lewis's Woodpecker

Lewis’s Woodpecker

 

The list of misses runs high: Elegant Trogon, Ruddy Ground-Dove, Montezuma Quail, Olive Warbler and more. But, one must always leave something to come back for. Until next time, Arizona!

If you’ve never been to my favorite corner of the country, consider checking out the Southwest Wings Festival in May or Tucson Audubon’s Bird and Wildlife Festival in August. There’s also Wings over Willcox next January, if you can handle waiting until then!