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Pine Flycatcher

Wow, it has been ages since I’ve made a post on my blog. So what better to update it with than a potential 1st US record of Pine Flycatcher!! This bird is normally found in Mexico and Guatemala and has never been recorded or documented in the US before.

Pine Flycatcher

The bird was first found by Dave Stejskal near Aliso Spring (in Sawmill Canyon) of the Santa Rita Mountains in SE Arizona. I made the trek out their this past weekend and came back with great photos and video of the (female) bird nest building.

Pine Flycatcher Location

The road to the bird is not for the faint of heart either. A high-clearance 4×4 vehicle is an absolute necessity. I was able to procure one from Dollar Rental Car in Tucson for $55/day. Although I specifically reserved a 4×4, they initially gave me a non-4×4 version of a Jeep Compass. I went back in and asked very politely if I could get the 4×4 version right next to it in the parking lot. They hemmed and hawed a bit but finally gave in. It even had GPS nav and XM radio – which i didn’t have to pay any extra for!

Jeep Compass 4x4

It was a pretty birdy spot and I took the opportunity to photograph other birds coming down to the water drip. Of particular interest was a nesting Black-chinned Hummingbird and the “Brown-throated” race of House Wren.


House Wren
House Wren

Black-chinned Hummingbird
Black-chinned Hummingbird

Some other photos of the surrounding area, including a Fungus Beetle that came out to play.

Aliso Spring, Sawmill Canyon

Aliso Spring, Sawmill Canyon

Fungus Beetle

 

Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Photography Adventures

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SE Arizona – Day 4 – Santa Rita Mountains

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.

Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow

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!

Hooded Oriole
Hooded Oriole

Hooded Oriole
Hooded Oriole

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.

Click here to see full GPS track logs of my SE Arizona trip!

 

Posted by on August 6, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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