Birding Trip, Southeastern Arizona
Birding Trip, Southeastern Arizona
April 27th - 30th
I met my good friend from Tucson, Brian Jones, for a quick weekend trip through the Chiricahua Mountains. Me, Brian, his wife, and my friend Dave,
a 2+ week trip to Brazil in June. We wanted to have a get together for some
equipment testing before the big trip in six weeks.
For me personally, the goals of this trip were three-fold.
First: Brian and I have a lot of new equipment we have purchased for our Brazil trip, so we really wanted to have a dry-run to see how everything is
to work. I wanted to make sure I could easily carry my new D-SLR, lenses,
binos, and hiking gear, etc.
Second: I really wanted to find an Elegant Trogon! Their range extends north into just the southern part of AZ, right in the Chiricahua mountains. Cave
Canyon is famous for the trogon.
Third: I really needed a weekend to try and clear my head. Issues in my personal life, from my Dad’s cancer coming back, ex friends being stupid, Fozzy’s
back problems, several things in my life seem to have been going really bad lately. These things have been weighing heavily on me and I needed to get to
remote places to center myself.
On to the trip details and pictures!
I arrived in Portal AZ late Thursday evening and then made my way to the nearby Sunny Flat Campground in Cave Creek Canyon. The weather was great
and the campground was about half full. Every site had a birder camped there. One couple I met from Canada had driven 3 days to spend a week in the
Southeastern AZ is well-known to the birding world.
Brian arrived Friday before lunch and by then I already had quite the bird list going. Just walking around the campground I got some great looks
I've not seen in years. Here are a few pictures I got that morning. The pictures
are clickable to a larger image.
My comfy home away from home!
Yellow-eyed Junco and a Bewick's wren
Pine siskins and a black-headed grosbeak
The area was made up of sycamores, oak, pines, junipers, Arizona cypress, cottonwoods, and willows. Saw some deer near camp too.
camp until late in the day Friday. On Saturday morning we hiked up South Fork canyon, then went to John Hands Campground
because the trogon was sighted there. Never did see the trogon, but lots of other critters. Here are a few more pictures
from that morning.
A Mexican jay and some spiny lizards sunning on the rocks
We then headed over the Chiricahuas on Forest Road 42, which comes out on the western side near the Chiricahua National Monument. It's known as the land
of standing rocks, so named by the Chiricahua Apache Indians.
link for many migrant birds (as well as illegal immigrants!!) to work their way north through the desert. We camped in the BLM land east of the river and
hiked the conservation area Sunday morning. Had a comical encounter with some folks that thought we were from the MinuteMen group. Nope, sorry
not us! ;-)
A Gila woodpecker, slightly out of focus and a Wilson's warbler.
A few shots of what I think is a song sparrow.
The Wilson's warblers were everywhere, we saw hundreds of them. The complete birdlist for this trip is listed next. This list looks long, but really
it isn't even half of the birds in the area.
I'm looking forward to getting better with this camera and taking some more professional wildlife images. It's a matter of patience
and perseverance. I'm going to start hosting a page of just my wildlife photography when I get enough of a library going.
Overall Birdlist For the Trip
These are in the order I saw them.
Yellow-eyed junco (*This was a new lifer bird for me!) (**My friend Tiffany Shepherd emailed me and said I saw them with her in BIO-410 class, sorry, don't
remember, so it's still a lifer! :-p) (Having a bad memory is good for finding new life-list birds!)
Blue-throated hummingbird (*Another lifer for me)
Canyon wren (only heard this guy)
Swainson's thrush (I think, it may have been a Hermit)
Black-throated gray warbler
Cassin's vireo (maybe)
Poorwill of some kind, flew into camp and landed, but never called, too dark to see any plumages
San Pedro River National Conservation Area:
In addition to several of the same species above...
Great blue heron
Yellow-breasted chat (Only heard this bird)
Lucy's warbler (*Another lifer for me)
Lastly, several empidonax flycatchers I couldn't ID w/o help from someone more experienced.