Wednesday, June 12, 2013

AZ trip May 30th - June 8th

The fifth trip of a projected six for 2013 was an AZ early summer trip, best discussed at length in a separate trip report.  The five trips were: TX, AZ (winter), FL, NC, AZ (summer) with the west coast pelagic(s) still to come.  The highlights of this AZ trip were Spotted Owl (USA #688), Northern Pygmy-Owl (#689), Buff-collared Nightjar (#690) and Mexican Whip-poor-will (#691), made all the more unusual by getting three of those on the first day.  Both owls were at well-known nest sites, with views of the nestlings.  (Mexican) Spotted Owl is an endangered species, and Buff-collared Nightjar a rare one but I even had two Nightjars after I found a second one of my own.  The commonest species of the four - the Whip-poor-will - was if anything hardest to find and I enlisted the help of a guide who got me exceptional looks as well as lucking into a Mountain Lion in the drive up into the Patagonia Mtns.

Other good birds included: White-eared Hummingbird (Miller Cyn), Elegant Trogon (South Fork Cave Creek), Buff-breasted Flycatcher (Carr Cyn), Thick-billed Kingbird (Patagonia), Common Black-Hawk (Sunflower).  Many of the same species, in fact, as my "big western flycatcher trip" of 2006 which covered many of the same sites but two weeks earlier.  Slightly different mix of birds, with basically none of the migrants in 2013 that I found in 2006.

AZ was especially dry and arid with little water in the canyons and some fairly ferocious mid-afternoon heat down in the desert (100+ for most of the 10 days).  Few fires yet, by no small miracle, but those monsoon rains will be especially welcome.