Liz said she felt drawn to Madera Canyon this morning and so armed with the Finding Birds in SE Arizona book and a print out of the AZ bird list, we set out down I-19 to Continental Road. Our first stop was the Continental School where we easily found Gambel’s Quail, Black-throated Sparrow, Verdin, Blue-gray and Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, Cactus Wren among many White-crowned Sparrows. As we proceeded on White House Canyon Road, we spotted Northern Mockingbird, Phainopepla, the first of three Roadrunners as well as a Harris’ Hawk.
The day was very sunny and mild. As we walked along the trail at Proctor parking area, the air warmed significantly (into the 60’s easily) and we quickly stripped off a layer or two of clothes. Along this trail, we saw Spotted*, Abert’s, and Green-tailed Towhees in abundance as well as a pair of Northern Cardinals, Mexican Jays, Bewick’s Wren, 2 more Roadrunners, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Hermit Thursh (an AZ state list bird), and a very large flock of Lesser Goldfinch.
At the Santa Rita Lodge visitor center were the ever-present Acorn Woodpeckers and Mexican Jays. We also saw several subspecies of Dark-eyed Juncos including the Pink-sided and Oregon. After a few minutes there, we drove up to Chuparosa Inn to check out the lodging. While talking to the owner, several Bridled Titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, Pine Siskins, a Costa’s Hummingbird and Painted Redstart flitted in the trees overhead. Other birds seen in the Madera Canyon area were: Red-tailed Hawk, Mourning Dove, Common Raven, Chipping Sparrow, and House Finch.
Finally, we stopped at the Green Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant on the way back. Among the odiferous waters we found Northern Shovelers, a few Gadwall, American Widgeon, Ruddy Duck, Snow Goose, Ross’ Goose, Killdeer, American Coot, Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, Great-tailed Grackle, Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings and American Pipit. They were joined by a single female American Kestrel hunting along the birm. That’s almost 50 species today!