Madera Canyon

Mexican Jay (lifer)

Although I’ve lived in Arizona for over 40 years, I’ve never been to Madera Canyon before and only really became aware of it a couple of years ago from other birders. So, finally, I’ve experienced it and, like most of the other places in AZ that Tony and I have visited, it was beautiful!

Wikipedia says, “Madera Canyon is located in the Santa Rita Mountains, which is one of the largest of the Madrean Sky Islands. The canyon and its immediate surroundings are therefore home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, ranging from cactus covered desert in the lower reaches of the canyon to aspen and pine forest on Mount Wrightson.

With fifteen species of hummingbirds, elegant trogon, sulphur-bellied flycatcher, black-capped gnatcatcher, flame-colored tanager, thirty-six species of wood warblers, and over 256 species of birds documented in total, Madera Canyon is rated the third best birding destination in the United States. Other animals that can be found in Madera Canyon include black bear, mountain lion, bobcats, white-tailed and mule deer, foxes, coatis, ring-tailed cats, raccoons, wild turkeys, squirrels, and rabbits. Sixteen species of bats have also been recorded in the canyon.”

Unfortunately, we were only there for a few hours as we got a late start and, although it was several degrees cooler than Phoenix, we didn’t hike much because of the heat and time constraints. If you hike around, you can get some rare and unusual birds. We’ll go back in the fall and hike but, meanwhile, I did get 5 lifers and had a great time.

What we mostly did was hang out at the birdwatching area at Santa Rita Lodge. They are kind enough to let people who are not guests in their cabins also have access to this site for a donation to their bird food fund.

If you click on this photo (above), you can see the benches and chairs overlooking the feeding areas. We sat in the shade, a gentle breeze blowing, and watched the birds fly in to eat below…with cameras ready. It wasn’t even crowded since it was a weekday.

Broad-billed Hummingbirds, male and female (lifers)

Magnificent Hummingbird (lifer)

Magnificents are much larger than other hummingbirds but this guy stayed far away in a dark tree so I was lucky to get any photos at all of him. Someday I hope to get a good shot.

Hepatic Tanager (lifer)

Wild Turkey (lifer)

And I was able to get shots of some birds that were not lifers but ones I had never gotten decent shots of before.

Black-headed Grosbeaks, male and female

Bridled Titmouse

And a couple more:

Acorn Woodpecker

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Coues White-tailed Deer

As we were leaving in the late afternoon, we saw 3 deer together and another by itself. It had been many years since I came across a deer and was able to get a photo…the perfect end to a fun day.

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The Locals

eagle-young-2

eagle-young

eagle-young-3Bald Eagle, immature

This is either Hope or Joy, one of 2 Bald Eagles hatched in a nest in a Scottsdale golf course last spring (in a densely populated area). They were well-known locally then and each of them fell from their nest as nestlings and were placed back in by Arizona Game and Fish and Liberty Wildlife rehabbers. You can read their story and see them as babies here and here. I never saw them last year as their exact location was a secret, for their safety.

Anyway, I was at Lake Marguerite, which isn’t far from that golf course, a couple times recently looking for a Hairy Woodpecker and the second time I looked up and Hope or Joy was watching me! It’s always exciting to see a bald eagle, I think, and he/she took off right as I watched, zipped over the lake, swooped down, grabbed a fish, and flew off right by me. And I even saw the Hairy Woodpecker (which was my 12th lifer this year) but the photo is basically a black and white blur so I won’t show it here. However, I got a couple shots of this girl:

lbwp-4

lbwp-2Ladder-backed Woodpecker, female

ruddy-ducks-lmRuddy Ducks

I was also at Granada Park recently, my old standby park that I don’t visit much anymore, and I was surprised to see this beautiful guy watching me from the trees. While not a lifer, it was the best shots I’ve ever gotten of one.

coop-hawk-1

coop-hawk-2Cooper’s Hawk

cormy-1Neotropic Cormorant

ring-necked-duckRing-necked Duck

yrwa-1Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

And when I was recently volunteering at the Desert Botanical Garden, I walked around afterwards and saw a few more critters.

gila-wp-1-17-17Gila Woodpecker, male

costas-1-17-17Costa’s Hummingbird, male

costas-girl-1-17-17Costa’s hummingbird, female

squirrel

squirrel-2Rock Squirrel

thrasher

thrashers-1-17-17Curve-billed Thrashers

towheesAbert’s Towhees

A for Adventure

Queen 1Queen Butterfly

CW 8.10.16Cactus Wren

Ground SquirrelRound-tailed Ground Squirrel

Lizard DBG

SulphurCloudless Sulphur

WW Dove PPWhite-winged Dove

Active Bees_edited-1

Hummer

Cacti

I was at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday volunteering (inside) and went walking around afterwards. It was very hot and humid and not much action in the animal world. I’m looking forward to cooler weather and spending more time there doing fun volunteer things and getting some new birds.

The following photos were taken in my yard. We have a lot of hummers right now. These are at least 2 different Anna’s Hummingbirds.

Anna's 8.5.16_edited-1

Anna's 2 8.5.16

Anna's 8.7.16

I’m heading off for a mini-adventure in a couple days so hope to have some different scenery and maybe some new birds to post soon…nothing exotic like the Galapagos Islands or anything like that…

Early Spring at the DBG

Finch Cactus

Finch Minimalist

Finch Nest BuildHouse Finches

The cacti are not yet blooming but the birds and other critters are busy~singing, nest-building, flying, and running around at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Harris's antelope SquirrelHarris’s Antelope Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

SquirrelRound-tailed Ground Squirrels

Cactus WrenCactus Wren

Cactus

Anyone nesting in there? Guess not.

Gila WPGila Woodpecker

Starling SneezingEuropean Starling

This poor Starling kept sneezing, he must have spring allergies.

YRWA DBGYellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

3 Hawks

Red-tailed HawkRed-tailed Hawks

There were 5 of these hawks circling together.

Mourning DoveMourning Dove

ThrasherCurve-billed Thrasher

RCKI DBG

RCKI DBG 2

RCKI DBG CrownRuby-crowned Kinglet

I know that’s a bad photo but it’s the first time I’ve actually seen the red crown on one of these very fast-moving birds.

BTGC 2

BTGCBlack-tailed Gnatcatcher

Sign 1

Sign 2

Sign 3

I’ll be spending more time at the DBG because I start my volunteer orientation there this weekend!

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Bird Patio, Part 2

Roadrunner

Roadrunner 4

Roadrunner 3

Roadrunner 2Greater Roadrunner

Everyone is on guard when this guy enters Samantha’s yard because, yup, he will eat them if he must. He’s fascinating to watch. Here are more birds I saw in Samantha’s yard a couple of weeks ago. See my last post for more.

Quail F 2

Quail F 3

Quail FGambel’s Quail, female

Quail MGambel’s Quail, male

Thrasher 1

Thrasher 2

Thrasher 3

Thrasher Eat NutCurve-billed Thrasher

WC Sparrow

WC Sparrow Eating

WC Sparrow 2White-crowned Sparrow

White-Crowned SparrowWhite-crowned Sparrow, immature

GoldfinchLesser Goldfinch, House Finch

I wish I had paid more attention to the Goldfinches because I’ve never gotten a very good shot of one and seldom see them.

Birds aren’t the only ones who receive preferential treatment at the Bird Patio. There are all sorts of critters around. We saw a coyote pass by, too.

SquirrelHarris’s Antelope Squirrel

I have many more shots of Samantha’s patio birds but I think I have covered most of the birds I saw in these 2 posts. Some of the others might pop up here and there in the future…all in all, a great birding day for me.

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