Thursday, March 30, 2017

Tufted Flycatcher: Ramsey and Carr Canyon

On May 22, 2015 Mark Phillips found a Tufted Flycatcher in Upper Ramsey Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains of Southern Arizona This was the 8th record of this species in the United States. The first record was in Big Bend National Park in November 1991. Since then it had been seen three times in Arizona (Mojave 2005, Cochise 2008, Pinal 2011) and three additional times in Texas (Pecos 1993, Brewster 2010-11, Kleberg 2014).

The typical range of the Tufted Flycatcher is a small strip going from Northcentral Mexico to Bolivia.

A very rare bird like this will generate immediately airline reservations from serious birders all over America. By the very next day, all parking spaces were taken before the Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservancy opened. Those not fortunate enough to get a parking space were turned away. 

After several attempts on May 29th Christine and I were able to secure a parking space for the hike up Ramsey Canyon.

The location of the Tufted Flycatcher was a little over two miles up the mountain. The elevation gain is over 1000 feet. And, although the hiking guide says "moderately strenuous" that's if you are 30 years old and in great condition -- which means that for the other 99+% of us it is a chore requiring frequent stops to rest.

For us, it was 2 and 1/2 hours from the Visitor's Center to get to the place when the Tufted Flycatcher was. Then 2 hours back (which included a wrong turn that took us up the wrong side of the canyon and added another 1/2 mile to the ordeal --- journey).

I did get a few photos as the TF flew into its nest 40 feet off the ground. But, I was unable to get a good photo during the time we were there. 

So, when reports on Tuesday of another Tufted Flycatcher near the Reef Campsite atop Carr Canyon came in I was ready to go in hopes of getting a better photo. I arrived at Reef Campsite yesterday morning at about 7:15 and from 7:30 to 8:30 it was available for photographing.

Here are  a few of those photos:

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 8

On another hike down Tanque Verde Wash we came across another adult Cooper's Hawk:

Cooper's Hawk

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 7

One of our nesting Cooper's Hawks in the Aleppo Pine:

Cooper's Hawk

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 6

Here another Juvenile Cooper's Hawk cooling off and drinking in Tanque Verde Wash:

Cooper's Hawk

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 5

This past summer an adult Cooper's Hawk would come into our oasis each morning while guests were eating breakfast outside.He would sit on one of the bird baths begging for photos. Many guests obliged:

Cooper's Hawk

Friday, March 24, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 4

This Juvenile was taken at Sweetwater Wetlands on the west side of Tucson:

Cooper's Hawk

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 3

Another nice photo of a Juvenile Cooper's Hawk taken in one of our mesquite trees:

Cooper's Hawk

Monday, March 20, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 2

Here a juvenile Cooper's Hawk still showing the brown plumage with dark vertical streaks on breast:

Cooper's Hawk Juvenile

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 1

We have a pair of nesting Cooper's Hawk that have been giving our guests a nice show a couple of times a day. The nest is quite high in one of our Aleppo Pines. I'm guessing the tree is about 80 feet high and the nest is at about 65 feet. The tree sits in our courtyard and each day there are twigs all over the brick patio. Oh well.

For the next few days I thought I share some of my favorite Cooper's Hawk photos:

Cooper's Hawk

Friday, March 17, 2017

Sam Lema Park, Tucson

I had to visit the VA Hospital which takes me right by Sam Lema Municipal Park -- where a Northern Waterthrush had been reported a few days earlier.

Again, I wasn't able to arrive before 10:30 so not much to report. No Waterthrush, but nonetheless a couple of photos:

Anna's Hummingbird

Say's Phoebe

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tubac Hawk Watch

One of the challenges of running a Bed and Breakfast is trying to get out early for birding during the winter months. March is no exception. We have guests every day and so breakfast every day. Last Friday I headed out to Tubac for the Hawk Watch, but just couldn't get there until after 10:30. By that time the hawks had shown themselves and departed. I hung around for about an hour and a half but only saw two hawks -- Cooper's Hawks, which of course nest in our Aleppo Pine Tree on our property. Oh well. Here just as evidence I was there are two "not so good photos."

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Azure Gate Birds:

I sat outside my office for about 15 minutes with camera in hand just to see what would pass by. The results:

Male Gambel's Quail

Male Pyrrhuloxia

Female Pyrrhuloxia

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Mount Lemmon: Yellow Eyed Junco

It was 39 as I visited my favorite birding sites on Mount Lemmon. Too cold I'm afraid. The wind chill made it feel like 25. My favorite photo of the trip was this Yellow Eyed Junco, obviously trying to stay warm:

Yellow Eyed Junco

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Northern Cardinal: Arivaca Cienegas

Unable to get there early, I came up short at Arivaca Cienegas, but still came away with a pair of Cardinals:

Cardinal Male

Cardinal Female

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Sweetwater Wetlands

A quick trip to Sweetwater Wetlands produced a few nice photos though nothing rare:

Cinnamon Teal

Cooper's Hawk


Green Winged Teal

Snowy Egret

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fort Lowell Park: Always a Photo

I headed over to Fort Lowell Park a couple of days ago in search of a "Storm Wigeon" that was reported. There is some debate about the "Storm Wigeon." Is it a separate species of American Wigeon? Or just an American Wigeon with plain white cheeks (no freckles). Unfortunately, I have nothing to show you because all I found were American Wigeons.

However, there were some photographs to take.

First several Double Crested Cormorants were constantly feeding. Here's one:

Double Crested Cormorant
As with most municipal parks, hybrid ducks and geese seem to be present. Here a Mallard Duck is trying to add to the hybrid population:

Mallard Duck with Hybrids
Here is one of those hybrid ducks -- actually quite beautiful:

Hybrid Duck