Wednesday, June 16, 2010

On to Madera Canyon

Just west of the Huachuca Mountains are the Santa Rita Mountains and Madera Canyon.  The hour and fifteen minute drive (from The Azure Gate) going the back way through Box Canyon to the West Side of the Santa Rita's is worth the drive just for the views. Once into Madera Canyon, though, the terrain changes. TREES! Yes, Sycamore's, Cottonwoods, Junipers, Pinion Pine, Oak, Cypress, Manzanita, even some Firs. There is always water running through the canyon's creek which means birds and butterflies. There is a lodge there that keeps hummingbird feeders filled so it is an excellent birding spot. The first bird you see is the colorful and playful Acorn Woodpecker (first photo), found only in Arizona, California, and parts of Western Oregon. Other frequently seen birds that love our southern canyons are the Bridled Titmouse (second photo) and White Breasted Nuthatch (third photo). The Bridled Titmouse is only found in the Southern Mountains of Arizona and Central Mexico. The White Breasted Nuthatch has a much wider distribution and can be found in all the lower 48 states. Like the Painted Redstart I have shown you before, the White Breasted Nuthatch is in constant motion, moving around trees in any direction. They also seem to like picnic areas for some reason. I believe I was eating a sandwich at one of the many picnic tables when I took this photo.

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