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(3,829 posts)
Sun Aug 26, 2012, 10:11 PM Aug 2012

Arizona Birding

Last edited Wed Sep 12, 2012, 02:21 PM - Edit history (2)

Late last month I drove from my home in Florida to southeastern Arizona and Southern California for a few weeks of birding and visiting my family in San Diego.

In San Diego I met up with a friend and we headed out for a quick three days in southeastern Arizona. We started at Madera Canyon, which is a few dozen miles south of Tucson, for the first of two hikes up a couple of trails (Super Trail - which starts from the top of the road in Madera Canyon, and then Kent Springs Trail - which starts from Bog Spring Campground).

The following montage is a sample of some of the birds and other critters we had on the two hikes. Going clockwise starting from the upper left: Scarlet Tanager (a rare bird for Arizona that is summered there), Yarrow Spiny Lizard, Graces Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Plumbeous Vireo, Hepatic Tanager, Brown Creeper, and Red-faced Warbler:

After our hike we headed southwest almost to the Mexican border hoping to reach California Gulch for the localized Five-stripe Sparrow. Unfortunately this is when I discover my friend’s vehicle had very old tires. He had a flat. We had to quickly get to a tire shop before they closed. We’ll try again tomorrow for the Five-stripe Sparrow. About an hour after getting a replacement tire my friend had a second flat!

The next morning we visited lower elevation areas in and around Madera Canyon, including nearby Montosa Canyon. Going clockwise starting from the upper left: Black-chinned Hummingbird, tarantula, Gray Fox, American Black Bear, Rufous-winged Sparrow, Botteri’s Sparrow, Varied Bunting, and Lesser Nighthawk in the center:

After he replaced the rest of his tires we tried again for the Five-striped Sparrow. The monsoon summer rains have been good this year in southeastern Arizona, and we saw ominous clouds where we were going. This was our last chance for the Five-striped Sparrow so we went anyways – bad idea.

It started raining hard when we were on a dirt road (Ruby Road) and the water started rushing across the road at spots. At this time we turned back east – too late. We were trapped by a flash flood and we soon found out (from another trapped motorist) that Ruby Road was washed out on the west side. Fortunately, after a couple of hours of listening to my very unhappy friend, the waters receded and we headed east out of the area.


The next day, after doing our second hike above Madera Canyon, we headed to Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains. We visited Beatty’s Guest Ranch http://www.beattysguestranch.com/ where we saw nine species of hummingbirds and a Spotted Owl that is regularly found nearby.

Going clockwise starting from the upper left: Broad-billed Hummingbird, Spotted Owl, Blue-throated Hummingbird, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and White-eared Hummingbird:

After this we drove back to San Diego.

I recently got back home from San Diego.

Arizona Birding (Original Post) cpwm17 Aug 2012 OP
I wrecked a rental car on that road XemaSab Aug 2012 #1
I'm not surprised cpwm17 Aug 2012 #2
My Corolla has been to Barfoot Park XemaSab Aug 2012 #3
Nice camera work. Thank you for sharing. Citizen Worker Aug 2012 #4
Thank you cpwm17 Aug 2012 #7
Not an ornithologist, but I think some of those are not birds. tclambert Aug 2012 #5
Oh my cpwm17 Aug 2012 #6
Really nice shots OnlinePoker Aug 2012 #8
Thank you cpwm17 Aug 2012 #9
Great pics dbackjon Sep 2012 #10
Yes, SE Arizona is one of my favorite places cpwm17 Sep 2012 #11
Let me know - I have a great place for it dbackjon Sep 2012 #12
I've been there cpwm17 Sep 2012 #13
Great dbackjon Sep 2012 #14
Very nice! semillama Sep 2012 #15
Thank you cpwm17 Sep 2012 #16


(3,829 posts)
2. I'm not surprised
Mon Aug 27, 2012, 01:06 AM
Aug 2012

Twenty years ago, when I was a new birder, I smashed the catalytic converter on my Toyota Tercel after I made a wrong turn. I still made it all the way to California Gulch in that car - twice. I won't try it in my Corolla.


(60,212 posts)
3. My Corolla has been to Barfoot Park
Mon Aug 27, 2012, 01:17 AM
Aug 2012

and gotten a cracked axle in the mountains of Southern California, but California Gulch? No way.



(3,829 posts)
9. Thank you
Tue Aug 28, 2012, 10:12 PM
Aug 2012

Camera: Canon EOS 7D, Lens: Canon EF 300mm f/4.0 with 1.4x Canon extension

The camera can do 8 frames per second continuous shooting, which helps me get the shot. My camera is really loud which is the one major drawback.



(3,829 posts)
11. Yes, SE Arizona is one of my favorite places
Wed Sep 5, 2012, 07:32 PM
Sep 2012

I see from the other post that you got the Spotted Owl and Black-capped Gnatcatcher. I still don't have the Black-capped Gnatcatcher. Next time I'm in Arizona I'll take more effort to find that bird.



(6,578 posts)
12. Let me know - I have a great place for it
Thu Sep 6, 2012, 08:58 AM
Sep 2012

Montosa Canyon.

If you have never birded there, it is well worth it, even without the Gnatcatcher


(4,583 posts)
15. Very nice!
Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:36 PM
Sep 2012

I missed a bunch of those birds when I was in SE Arizona, but it was in the fall about four years ago, after a lot of the migrants and vagrants were gone. I did get a rare for the region Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the Paton's house. I missed your Hepatic Tanager, Red-faced Warbler, and Sulphur-bellied flycatcher, unfortunately. for non-birds, I did see a bobcat in Madera Canyon-a big highlight of the trip.



(3,829 posts)
16. Thank you
Mon Sep 24, 2012, 03:11 PM
Sep 2012

Fall may be the worst time to visit Arizona. It can be a little slow from the little experience I have.

After the monsoon rains have started, usually in early July, through mid August might be the best time to visit. Winter is also nice for a different variety of birds.

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