Woke up around 9:30AM that morning…couldn’t bring myself to waking up much earlier than that since we didn’t get to bed until about 3AM the night before due to the long drive from California Gulch to Madera Canyon. I quickly packed up my gear and headed down the road to Proctor Road before it got any later…or hotter. I met up with a couple of other people who informed me there was a Black-throated Sparrow nest within one of the Cholla Cacti along the trail.
Since I didn’t see either of the parents around, I peeked in the nest and was delighted to find 3 recently hatched chicks and an egg still not hatched. I snuck some video of the nest with my iPhone careful not to disturb the surroundings…especially considering the fact I’d have a hand full of pokers if I got too close! Although you can see one of the chicks jump up with it’s mouth open toward the end of the video as it must have heard me thinking I was it’s mother returning with food.
I decided to head up the trail a bit more and check the nest on the way back. There were lots of Hepatic Tanagers, Blue Grosbeaks, Indigo and Varied Buntings all along the creek. Never found the Black-capped Gnatcatchers that have been hanging out there.
On the way out I was happy to see the female Black-throated Sparrow was on the nest and just a few feet away the male perched on a branch holding a grub for one of the chicks.
I didn’t have much more time that afternoon since I had to get back into Tucson to catch my flight back home. I made a quick stop at the Madera Kubo lodge and got some photos of the Hooded Oriole nest above the road. The juveniles were very close to fledging and as you can see from the second photo, the young Hooded Oriole almost flew out of the nest!
I’ve been to SE Arizona over 30 times so far and it never grows dull. I had a great time despite getting over 50 chigger bites and 15+ mosquito bites but it was quite worth it. I’m already planning my next visit.