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:

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