Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Arizona Warblers: Seasonal Summary




I thought it might be of interest to share my warbler photos along with information about each species. So, over the next days, I will copy/paste pages from my latest book: "Warblers of Arizona, A Guide to Finding and Photographing Warblers in Southern Arizona." 

If you are interested in purchasing it, please email me at exclusivelywildlifephotos.com or info@azuregate.com.

Seasonal Summary: (Warblers not listed are rare to Arizona and have been reported any season).


Year Round:
Black Throated Gray Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Olive Warbler
Orange Crowned Warbler
Painted Redstart
Rufous Capped Warbler
Yellow Breasted Chat
Yellow Rumped Warbler
Winter:
Louisiana Waterthrush
Magnolia Warbler
Palm Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Yellow Throated Warbler
Summer: (may include Spring and Fall)
Grace's Warbler
Lucy's Warbler
Red Faced Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Spring and Fall:
Black and White Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Hermit Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Northern Parula
Prothonotary Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

Monday, August 21, 2017

About Finding Warblers in Southern Arizona




I thought it might be of interest to share my warbler photos along with information about each species. So, over the next days, I will copy/paste pages from my latest book: "Warblers of Arizona, A Guide to Finding and Photographing Warblers in Southern Arizona." 

If you are interested in purchasing it, please email me at exclusivelywildlifephotos.com or info@azuregate.com. 



About finding Warblers
Looking for warblers is different than looking for large mammals. With mammals you need to cover as much ground as possible because the number of animals is quite small compared to birds. Unlike large mammals, birds have wings. They can "get away" very quickly. Birding and hiking don't go together. When birding you might walk ten feet and stop for several minutes to allow the birds to come back to the area to an area that you think is promising.
Southern Arizona is one of the finest birding locations in North America. It is the southernmost range for many North American warblers -- as well as the northernmost range for many South and Central American warblers. It is the westernmost range for many eastern warblers -- as well as the easternmost range for many western warblers.
Of the 56 species of warblers found in the United States, 36 can be found in Southern Arizona. Of the remaining 20 species, 13 have been reported over the years (some with fewer than 10 reports).
When birding, there are several things to consider. Many warblers live in Southern Arizona year round. Some are here just for the winter. Some just for the summer. And, some migrate through staying here for short periods in both the spring and fall. Therefore, the time of year will determine which warblers you might find.
Time of day is important. During the hot summer months, birding may be best between 7:00 am and 11:00. During cooler months birding might be good any time during the day.
Day of the week is also an important consideration. Recreational areas can be very crowded on weekends -- especially in the summer. I avoid Sabino Canyon on weekends - summer or winter. It is the most hiked recreational area in Arizona. Mount Lemmon which is a Spring, Summer, and Fall birding site can be very busy on weekends --- especially the campgrounds. So I avoid Rose Canyon Lake and Hitchcock Campgrounds on weekends during the summer. Molina Basin Campground is frequently closed to camping so birding there can be good on weekends when closed to camping. And even on weekends if you go early enough you can have peaceful and quiet birding on Incinerator Ridge, Bear Wallow, and the various picnic sites. After 10:00 am the picnic sites getting pretty crowded.
​Summerhaven to Marshall Gulch can be good before 10:00 am (when stores open). After 10:00 it gets pretty busy. Likewise, the Santa Cruz River near Tubac will be crowded on weekends. Instead, bird early along the Santa Cruz River near St. Gertrudis Lane in Tumacacori. San Pedro River is good nearly any day of week as are Huachuca, Ramsey, and Miller Canyons.
There are "birding only" sites like Whitewater Draw and Lake Cochise, however those aren't particularly good warbler sites. Sweetwater Wetlands is a "birding only" site and good choice for warblers on weekends since many of the local schools have field trips September through May at Sweetwater. They usually don't arrive until 10:30 so bird before that or on weekends.
Weather is another factor. Birds can sense drops in barometric pressure which leads to increased feeding before a storm. Once clouds roll in and during periods of heavy rain birding is not so good. The after affects of storms can inhibit birding. Heavy rains can flood nest sites and/or reduce, even eliminate foraging areas, causing birds to move on to "better pastures." However, if foraging sites haven't been destroyed by storm, you may find photographing them easier because the birds will be exhausted, hungry, a little more sluggish, and lower in the trees.
Wind creates problems for birds foraging -- in addition to problems for the photographer. During wind storms, warblers tend to move lower in the trees which could actually help. Warblers will also forage more on the Leeward side than the Windward side, so position yourself accordingly.
Consider that most warblers are insect eaters. Some will sally out to catch a "fly" but most will poke around in trees looking for worms, larvae, or other insects in the trees. So, birding when it is "buggy" often provides a satisfying result.
Some of the warblers, like the Prothonotary Warbler, eat berries. So, if a Mulberry Bush is fruiting, that could be a good place to look.
Finally, I would recommend checking the ABA's Birding News for Arizona each day. There, guides and birders post what they have seen/heard that day (or the prior day). The Audubon's weekly Rare Bird Alert is also helpful in identifying where to go to find some of the rarer warblers. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Warblers of Arizona


I thought it might be of interest to share my warbler photos along with information about each species. So, over the next days, I will copy/paste pages from my latest book: "Warblers of Arizona, A Guide to Finding and Photographing Warblers in Southern Arizona." 

If you are interested in purchasing it, please email me at exclusivelywildlifephotos.com or info@azuregate.com. 


Friday, August 11, 2017

Sweetwater Wetlands

We had a day without breakfast so I made a quick trip over to Sweetwater Wetlands at 6:00 am. While hoping to find a Bobcat or Raccoon that early the other animal I saw was an unidentified large rodent that scooted across the path in front of me. No photo and not even long enough to identify.

It got hot and muggy quickly so I was only there for about an hour which made it a little too early for many birds. 

I did however find a Tropical Kingbird with a large dragonfly:

Tropical Kingbird

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Molino Basin

A quick trip early morning (to beat the heat) to Molino Basin which is one of the first stops on the road to Mount Lemmon. It's still quite hot, but the combination of water and trees provides some interesting birding.

The moment we arrived there was a beautiful Hooded Oriole sitting atop one of the trees. It was a good start to the day:

Hooded Oriole 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Las Cienegas

After the hike in Sawmill Canyon we drove back through Las Cienegas near Sonoita. Lots of standing water from the monsoons, so not a big surprise to see a Killdeer, but nonetheless a nice photo. Also lots of raptors including this Red Tailed Hawk. And, of course we had to stop to show them the Black Tailed Prairie Dog Town. Here are some photos:

Killdeer

Red Tailed Hawk

Black Tailed Prairie Dog

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Garden Canyon, Huachuca Mountains

Catching up a bit from an unusually busy summer.

Christine and I took our daughter and son-in-law to Fort Huachuca. After getting passes for them we headed up Garden Canyon for a hike in Sawmill Canyon at the end of the road.

It was a lovely time and beautiful hike. Lots of butterflies this time of year and seemingly endless supply of Grace's Warblers.

Although my "focus" was on family, I did get a couple of photos to share:

Grace's Warbler

Two Tailed Swallowtail