April, June - 2014
In April we wanted to take the rig out for a test run before embarking on our extended 2014 adventure.
So off we went to southern Arizona to stay in one of our most favorite places, Patagonia Lake St. Pk.
Right from our campsite at the head of the famous birding trail we saw lots of good birds. Notables included Summer Tanager, Gray Flycatcher, Black-chinned and Broad-billed hummers, and a Common Black Hawk
Broad-billed Hummingbirds. Male (above) and female
American Coot baby
Not far down the trail I was rewarded with my first "lifer" of 2014.
High in a tree above us was a lone Hermit Warbler.
As usual at Patagonia this time of year, Vermillion Flycatchers were abundant.
A proud and brilliant male Vermillion Flycatcher
Summer Tanagers were also plentiful
For my birthday, Deborah arranged for me to go out with local birding expert, Bill Adler. We had a wonderful day beginning in Hunter Canyon of the Huachuca Mtns. Quickly we found Mexican Jays and Spotted Towhees calling and showing themselves well. White-throated Swifts flew overhead while Bewick's, Canyon, and House Wrens were there too. Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Hutton's and Plumbeous Vireo, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Swainson's and HermitThrush, as well as some nice warblers including Red-faced, Hermit, Townsend's, MacGillivray's and Black-throated Grays showed up as well.
Next stop... Colorado
It was a nice surprise to find this Long-billed Curlew at the end of Patagonia Lake.
Black-throated Gray Warbler
The biggest surprise at Patagonia was to run into top-notch guide and friend, Chris Charlsworth from Kelowna, BC. He and his sizable group from Britain were on a whirlwind birding tour of southeastern Arizona.
Other nice birds seen at Patagonia but not shown here included Hepatic Tanager, Cinnamon and Blue-winged Teal, Phainopepla, Bewick's and Canyon Wren, Wilson's and Yellow Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Bell's Vireo, Lazuli Bunting, Inca Dove, White-faced Ibis, Neotropic Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Canyon Towhee, and Black Vultures.
Mexican Spotted Owl
On my way back I stopped at the famous Patagonia Rest Stop where I added my 3rd lifer of the trip. A Thick-billed Kingbird was located in it's traditional spot near the picnic table.
The first morning we went down the Birding trail to Sonoita Creek at the head of the Patagonia lake. The area was still beautiful but the cows have really taken over since we were last here and it's not pretty. It was understandable why the local Audubon has been trying so hard to get them fenced out.
(not-so) Common Black Hawk
From Hunter, we moved onto Miller Canyon. There, among others, we added Western Tanager, Rock Wren, Arizona and Acorn Woodpeckers, Western Bluebird, Bullock's Oriole, and Loggerhead Shrike. The highlight though was locating this Mexican Spotted Owl for my second lifer of the trip!
Traveling to Sonoita we captured this shot of a Cassin's Kingbird.
The next day Deborah and I ventured to another
renowned birding spot called the Patton House and it did not disappoint.
Indeed what a marvelous trip it was in one of the best birding regions of the world... Southeastern Arizona.
The motorhome performed well too and we are ready to go for our more extended trip of the year...
...so June 9th we left on a 3 month trip that would take us north to Utah then west to spend a chunk of the summer in Oregon.
Our first stop was just outside of Show Low, Arizona in a beautiful spot called Fool's Hollow Rec. Area. The first day there, while scouting around the reservoir by car, we stumbled onto a bird which has eluded me for years and my #1 target bird of the Summer.
A group of Jays patrolled near the picnic area and on closer inspection were indeed Pinyon Jays! My 4th lifer of the year.
Bad picture... Good bird
Common Ravens were abundant through Northern Arizona
Lark Sparrow with breakfast
As is our practice, Deborah and I got up the first morning and went out for a good walk. This day it was around the south end of Fool's Hollow reservoir for what turned out to be some good birding too.
Osprey with breakfast
Up Next... Southeastern Utah!