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Monday, February 3, 2014

Arizona Trip Day 4

Red-naped Sapsucker in Madera Canyon
      On our fourth day in Arizona we arose to the raucous again of the Wild Turkeys across the street from our cabin. The turkeys flew down from their roost and started across the street to the feeders right outside of our cabin.

Wild Turkey
 Also at the feeders were Yellow-eyed Junco, Bridled Titmouse, Magnificent Hummingbirds and Mexican Jays.
Yellow-eyed Junco

Magnificent Hummingbird

Mexican Jay
      After viewing the feeders for half an hour we drove down the road a little to Santa Rita Lodge and found more Mecixan Jays, a male Hepatic Tanager, Lesser Goldfinches, Acorn Woodpeckers and a nice Arizona Woodpecker.
Acorn Woodpecker

Arizona Woodpecker
Hepatic Tanager
      These were obviously great birds to see again, but our target bird was still waiting for us in Florida Canyon. So we left the easy birding at the feeders to head for the climb up the canyon. It took us about 20 minutes to arrive at the canyon and as we expected there were already a few other cars in the parking lot. We started our walk up and tried to find one of the three Elegant Trogans in the canyon but were not lucky enough to find one. We would actually come back three times that day looking for the trogans with the same negative results. 
         As we got higher in the canyon we started finding Black-chinned Sparrows, Rufous-crowned and Rufous-winged Sparrows
Black-chinned Sparrow
As we followed the trail we had to climb over a dam and under an few trees because the trail is not clearly marked.
Rufous-capped Warbler- photo by Nick Athanas

       We arrived in the area and met some folks and asked if they had seen the warblers, which they had not as of this time. But they did tell us about a Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet they had seen earlier. So we continued our climb further into the canyon and ran into a guy on his way out who said the bird was a little further uphill. So we kept going and met up with a small crowd so we knew this had to be the spot. We got to the group of birders and they quickly pointed out our lifer Rufous-capped Warbler. As we watched them I noticed a second one flitting around and then a third one. There appeared to be a territorial dispute going on between two of the warblers which was neat to watch. Eventually, the birds climbed uphill and out of sight. We all gave each other high fives and a group photo was taken of the gang. This was life bird number three for the trip. We've having fun now!

          After walking back to the parking lot and finding out that we missed a Black-throated Gray Warbler and a Black-capped Gnatcatcher we headed to Sierra Vista where we would make our headquarters for the next two nights. Our plan was to meet up with two birders from the area tomorrow and go look for the Sinaloa Wren in Fort Huachuca. 

Sinaloa Wren (internet photo)
Since there was still daylight we decided to familiarize ourselves with the fort and the area where the wren was hanging out. We figured that we could get a heads up and plan the strategy for tomorrow since this wren is such a skulker. So we got thru security at the gate of the fort and headed to the playground area in Huachuca Canyon. We arrived and I told Sharon to cover one side of the road and I would take the other side. After a quick check on my side I decided it wasn't the correct habitat so I walked over to where Sharon was searching. As I stood there talking to Sharon, I heard the leaves shuffling about five feet in front of me so I called Sharon over to wait and see what was making the noise. Suddenly, a small brown head popped up and I could see it was the Sinaloa Wren staring right at us but not too concerned about our presence. I could clearly see the white striping on the throat and side of face on a grayish brown wren with lots of striping on the tail. Later it popped out of the brush within two feet of Sharon.  Life bird number four was in the bag. 
        Time for a dinner celebration at the Texas Roadhouse.


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