Saturday, May 5, 2007
Trogans and Tanagers and Grosbeaks, oh my!
After a phone call from Danny, who taunted me about the birds he saw last Monday at Madera, I decided it was high time I made another trip to the canyon to see some of the fabulous birds that have been sighted there recently. I took along a non-birding work friend who turned out to be an excellent set of eyes and ears. We decided to head straight up the road into the canyon bypassing all the usual spots people stop to bird in Madera and then bird our way back down. This turned out to be an excellent strategy and we worked against the flow of all the other birders and hikers. There was plenty of parking at the top of the canyon road. We followed Old baldy trail to the Sycamore strands where we listened hard for the “unusual” call of the Elegant Trogan*. This wasn’t all that easy since neither of us knew exactly what it sounded like. However, after about 30 minutes of wandering slowly up the trail, we knew at once when we heard it call, that the description that of the call that sounds somewhere between a dog barking and a frog croaking was about as accurate as one could get. We made our way a little way further up the trail when Laurie-Ann spotted it. We looked and listened for several minutes before heading back down. Lifer number 403.
Our next stop was Chuparosa B&B where were got great looks at Black-headed Grosbeak and a Hepatic Tanager* that practically landed on us! Also saw several hummers at the feeders as well as Lesser Goldfinch, House Finch, and Acorn Woodpecker which were all new to Laurie-Ann.
A stop at the Kabu gift shop was the next destination. We didn’t have to wait long for Western Tanager who was resplendent in yellow and red. The Flame-colored Tanager* required a bit more waiting, but he was definitely worth the wait! He was, well there’s no other word for it, flaming orange in the sunlight. Lots and lots of Black-headed grosbeaks here (best looks I’ve ever gotten), as well as Acorn Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatch, a gorgeous male Rose-breasted Grosbeak who hung around for while, and Bridled Titmouse.
While we could have stayed longer, we headed back to town for some cheese enchilladas and lemonade at El Charro. Feliz Cinco de Mayo!