Sunday, July 15, 2007

Red-faced storm

What better healing for a broken heart than a “most-wanted” lifer? Saturday morning, Liz and I made the climb up Mount Lemmon to the Marshall Gulch picnic area in search of a red-faced Warbler or two. The temperatures were much lower on top of the mountain and we’d both wished we had dressed just a tad warmer. Parking was already getting tight at 8:30am at Marshall’s Gulch picnic area where we encountered a large group of noisy hikers at the rest rooms, one of whom apparently had never seen birders before – “Look! A birder!”

We hadn’t ventured far from the picnic area when we heard a lot of “pishing” Stellar’s Jays and although we never did find what was causing their upset, it brought a flurry of activity to where we were. First there were Brown Creepers, Mountain Chickadees and a White-breasted Nuthatch. Then three Pygmy Nuthatches appeared at the base of a gnarled oak tree. After a short while, Liz shouted that she had a Red-faced Warbler. I was unable to see it for several minutes. Just as I was about to give it up as gone, I saw it. Not just one, but an entire flock of Red-faced Warblers! There were at least 8 or 10 of then. Some were obviously juveniles with pinkish to orange-ish faces, but the adults were absolutely vibrant red. For a few minutes, the trees seemed to drip with them. It was amazing. During this fray, we also spotted an Orange-crowned Warbler, a pair of (Red-shafted) Northern Flickers and a Red-breasted Nuthatch, plus an unidentified bright yellow warbler sp. Then, as suddenly as it began, the noise and flutter subsided. We waited a few minutes and then headed back down the mountain and into the heat.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Butterfly Trail

Danny and I escaped the valley heat and headed to Mount Lemmon to do some mid-week birding. We stopped at Butterfly trail which, like most other trails on Mount Lemmon that I’ve seen, is a reverse hike – going downhill first and making you climb uphill on the way back which is quite cruel if you ask me! The birds were very cooperative and we needed to stop every few feet to watch and listen for something new. I’ve lumped them all together as they were all seen along this trail:

White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Red-breasted Nuthatch
Mountain Chickadee
Red-shafted Flicker
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Stellar’s Jay
Turkey Vulture
Bewick’s Wren
House Wren (possibly the Mexican ssp.)
Olive Warbler
Black-headed Grosbeak
Yellow-eyed Junco
Western Tanager