Three More Days in Arizona

And the birds keep piling up!

February 17th started out cold and dreary but things warmed up fast when we spotted the Rufous-backed Robin at Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve. This sighting was followed by the Western Screech-Owl and Gray Flycatcher at the preserve and Lazuli Bunting at the Paton’s House feeders. Then, while heading back to our campsite, we ticked off a Canyon Wren at the Patagonia roadside rest area. Despite unseasonably cold weather and some rain (and even snow at slightly higher elevations) we were able to add five species to the year list.

The 18th was not as prolific. We missed the Streak-backed Oriole at Tubac, AZ (Nobody had seen the bird for several days.) and did not turn up anything new on the drive to Madera Canyon. But Florida Canyon made up for the slow start to the day by producing two Rufous-capped Warblers that were so close we could practically touch them!

Unfortunately, despite several more hours of birding, Madera Canyon continued to disappoint. We added nothing new the rest of the day or in the morning of the 19th.

Later today (Feb. 19th) we got back on track with another five-bird day. As we were leaving Madera Canyon we swung through Box Canyon Road and picked up a pair of Rufous-winged Sparrows. Then, we drove up to Buckeye to look for some late longspurs in the ag fields south of town. The longspurs were gone but we did see a Prairie Falcon there. A short distance away, at the intersection of Baseline and Salome Roads, we spotted both Bendire’s and LeConte’s Thrashers and Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. (Thanks to eBird and the AZ RBA for the heads up on the “thrasher spot!”)

Now, we are holed up in a motel in Parker, AZ, just 20 miles away from the Nutting’s Flycatcher that has been holding court since late December. Let’s hope tomorrow is as good to us as the last three days have been!

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