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creeker

SEAZ quick trip recap

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So, we did end up going to SEAZ, driving overnight to arrive the morning of 7/17. As we were heading up I-10, I noticed a familiar name from a Facebook group I belong to. So we made our  first birding spot the J Six Ranch and Mescal Road offramp area. It was early morning, and lots of birds were singing. There was one song, loud and kind of Cardinal like. Finally located the source, a Pyrrhuloxia. Cool, first lifer of the trip. All photo links are photos taken by my birding partner on this trip, Toofly.

httpsotos.app.goo.gl/WNUG8JFzJhTiP2Cz2

There were lots of Cassin's Sparrows, launching themselves skyward, then disappearing when they hit the ground.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/3Acn6LZfIFoVpYX53

Looked hard, and found Lucy's Warbler, one of my targets for this trip. Also saw numerous Cassin's Kingbirds, Cactus Wrens, Curve-billed Thrashers, a Vermilion Flycatcher, three Swainson's Hawks, a Blue Grosbeak, several fly by White-winged Doves, and some other common birds.  

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/9ulIKkwGQ0HfPCk22

https://photos.app.goo.gl/hXuheQQUL98irsg42

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cHoj6URknsjXm01x2

https://photos.app.goo.gl/KCQSdml1g2Jh8L703

And of course we had the random venemous snake, a Black-tailed Rattlesnake. Me getting a real close look at it. You can see him in the foreground of this pic.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/E1ervWp5klMuB0eP2

 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/FWcsJDF1JIUxSmCK2

So this impromptu stop took 90 minutes or so, and netted me two lifers. But now we are behind schedule..   

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Driving to Sierra Vista, we stopped a number of times to check out power pole Hawks. Most ended up being Swainson's. Finally made it to Carr Canyon road. Climbing up towards the Carr Reef campground, I got my next two lifers, Eastern Bluebird, and Painted Redstart. 

https://goo.gl/photos/SGTyzMdThU7BT1ca9

We birded the Carr Reef campground pretty thoroughly despite the intermittent downpours from the monsoonal rains. Got target lifers Grace's Warbler and Olive Warbler, but dipped on the Tufted Flycatcher. Saw at least four different Buff-breasted Flycatchers, a Zone-tailed Hawk, Yellow-eyed Juncos, Hepatic Tanagers, Brown Creeper, and a bunch of other common birds. Spent a little too much time trying to find the Tufted Flycatcher. Our original plan was to be at Ramsey Canyon by noon, but now we would be pushing it to be there by 2:30 pm. We headed back down Carr Canyon road. Saw a few Mexican Jays on the way back down, but nothing else noteworthy........

Buff-breasted Flycatcher

https://goo.gl/photos/nyWmbf3HK58FiYhP9

Brown Creeper

https://goo.gl/photos/2LWMCySEjjyebN6C9

Female Hepatic Tanager with beetle

https://goo.gl/photos/A2h8zdKSj9fpZmT4A

 

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Pulled up to Ramsey Canyon parking lot. It was raining lightly. We had been pushing hard all day, and realized we hadn't eaten much of anything. So we took a minute and ate some sandwiches. By the time we paid our entry fee and signed in, it was 3:00pm. There wasn't much going on at the hummingbird feeders due to the rain, and we figured we'd hit them on the way out. I was eager to get to the Flame Tanager and Tufted Flycatcher spots, the furthest of which was about two miles in. The trail was very non-birdy, and we only saw a Summer Tanager and a family of Cooper's Hawks near the start of the trail, and a few Western Wood-pewees and a Greater Pewee farther in. At one point on the trail we passed a group of maybe 10 young birders. I asked if any of them was on Whatbird, and a girl said "Whatbird.com?" And I said yes. She said she was and her name was The Traveler. I recognized that name instantly and told her mine. I joked that we could mention it on the which whatbirders have you met thread. We got to the Flame Tanager spot and nothing was there. Pushed on to the Tufted Flycatcher spot and got blanked there too. I gotta say that directions that include "the big rock pile,"  "where the stick is on the trail," and "near the small dead trees"  are worthless when there are numerous rock piles, sticks, and dead trees along the trail. We had to book it out of there, since we only had 35 minutes to get from the Tufted spot to the visitor center before closing. Next time I visit seaz I will skip Ramsey Canyon, since I have been there twice and haven't seen much of anything there, save for a Violet-crowned Hummingbird on my first trip there. We drove down Ramsey Canyon Road back towards Sierra Vista. I stopped and hiked over to some oaks on a hillside, and managed to pish in a couple of Hutton's Vireos so close I could almost touch them. We checked out a few more birds down the road, nothing special. Then we headed on to Madera Canyon.

Magnificent Hummingbird at Ramsey feeders.....

https://goo.gl/photos/s6REpFUiSUi2v96v7

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It was about 10pm when we pulled into the Santa Rita Lodge in Madera. We unloaded the car and immediately went on a search for owls in the trees behind the lodge on the ampitheater trail. I looked for a good hour, but found nothing. Finally gave it up, and went to the cabin to shower and crash after being up for some 40+ hours. We planned on getting up early and heading down to Florida Canyon first thing before it got too hot. 

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We were in the cabin that is right next to the feeder area, so we went over to the feeders for a few minutes first thing in the morning. There was some activity going on. Lots of Bridled Titmice, Lesser Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Finch, Acorn Woodpeckers, Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds, and a few Summer and Hepatic Tanagers. We checked them out for a few minutes, then hopped in the car and headed down to Florida Canyon.

Lesser Goldfinch

https://goo.gl/photos/A2oohWzbu2Yn5oe2A

Broad-billed Hummingbird

https://goo.gl/photos/DL2vFcsfmdgxDwk17

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As we drove down Florida canyon road, we saw and heard the sparrows singing from the bush tops, so we parked and checked them out. There were numerous Black-throated, Rufous-winged, Botteri's, and Rufous-crowned Sparrows around. An American Kestrel was on a wire overhead. A Greater Roadrunner ran across the road, a male Brown-headed Cowbird was on top of one bush, and we started seeing Varied Buntings. We drove and parked a few times until we hit the trailhead for Florida Canyon, right across from the research center. There was a male Northern Cardinal right there, and a male Summer Tanager. The tanager was acting strange, kind of laying on a branch with his wings and tail spread, motionless for at least 10 minutes. Nothing wrong with it, just odd behavior.

https://goo.gl/photos/uttZAdFrCSeh1jvY7

What it looks like driving down Florida Canyon Road. Hey! A White-tailed Deer. Lots of them around Madera.

https://goo.gl/photos/2DBHncaLwJw6UzuJ8

Dusky-capped Flycatcher. Lots of them around.

https://goo.gl/photos/Utq1GhMoVVGd1ADs8

Tight trail

https://goo.gl/photos/DESGvQpUG7Hr4PvKA

You might give blood.

https://goo.gl/photos/3Vcje5dKjxerTvdy7

Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

https://goo.gl/photos/QiUNfCcnFjvi6xVj6

As we hiked the trail, we saw numerous Dusky-capped, Brown-crested, and one Ash-throated Flycatcher. Lots of Varied Bunting males and females. The male is a really cool looking bird when you catch it in sunlight. Looks black when it's in the shade. Saw one Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, a couple of Bell's and Hutton's Vireos, a Scott's Oriole, and a few other unexciting birds. We hiked in a couple of miles, then back out. We needed to hit some trails up the hill in Madera. I still needed to see an Elegant Trogan, so off we went.

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Nice trip report!! Florida Canyon and Ramsey Canyon were two places we had to cut out of the trip when we went there due to lack of time, but I would've loved to go to those places!

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I don't think you gave much of an effort in Madera Canyon.  At different times of the day you'll see different birds at the Santa Rita Lodge feeding area.  But you didn't seem to attempt any trails.  Proctor Trail, for instance, is a great hot spot.  Both there and at the beginning of the  Mt. Baldy Trail,  you could have searched for the Elegant Trogan.  Madera boasts over 250 different species of birds (and 15 species of hummingbirds, depending on the season).  I recently saw Lucifers, Magnificents, Broad-tails and White-eared hummers besides the ones you mentioned.

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On ‎8‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 9:58 AM, creeker said:

We needed to hit some trails up the hill in Madera. I still needed to see an Elegant Trogan, so off we went.

 

47 minutes ago, AZLaurie said:

I don't think you gave much of an effort in Madera Canyon.  At different times of the day you'll see different birds at the Santa Rita Lodge feeding area.  But you didn't seem to attempt any trails.  Proctor Trail, for instance, is a great hot spot.  Both there and at the beginning of the  Mt. Baldy Trail,  you could have searched for the Elegant Trogan.  Madera boasts over 250 different species of birds (and 15 species of hummingbirds, depending on the season).  I recently saw Lucifers, Magnificents, Broad-tails and White-eared hummers besides the ones you mentioned.

Sounds like he hasn't gotten to that point in his trip report yet.

Also, Lucifer and White-eared are quite uncommon at Madera.  Per eBird, neither have been seen at Madera this year.  White-eared are uncommon anywhere, and I think only one has been seen this year anywhere in Arizona (at Miller Canyon). 

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Yah azlaurie, thus report is definitely taking longer than the trip! When I get a chance I'll continue the report on Madera. Just for the record, in 2014 I got a White-eared and a Plain-capped Starthroat at the Santa Rita Lodge. Toofly hiked the trails with me this time, so I'm sure he's snickering at the "lack of effort" we put in! :D

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We were in the cabin that is right next to the feeder area, so we went over to the feeders for a few minutes first thing in the morning. There was some activity going on. Lots of Bridled Titmice, Lesser Goldfinch, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Finch, Acorn Woodpeckers, Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds, and a few Summer and Hepatic Tanagers. We checked them out for a few minutes, then hopped in the car and headed down to Florida Canyon.

Lesser Goldfinch

https://goo.gl/photos/A2oohWzbu2Yn5oe2A

Broad-billed Hummingbird

https://goo.gl/photos/DL2vFcsfmdgxDwk17

And an Arizona Woodpecker!

 

arizona wood pecker

 

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We headed back up the road to Madera canyon. Once again we stopped at the Santa Rita Lodge. There was a nice Rufous Hummingbird mixed in with all the Broad-billed and Black-chinneds. There was also a couple of Hepatic Tanagers hanging around.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/5LFl7OTlw3Xd1RaV2

Can't get enough of these guys...

https://photos.app.goo.gl/lJWWTHsmEnP8ptKV2

It was time to hit the Carrie Nation trail. One of my reasons for coming back to Madera was to get the Elegant Trogan, and this trail is known to produce a sighting from time to time. The intermittent rains had stopped, and I was hoping for the best. There wasn't much going on; a Common Raven at the parking area, Sulfur-bellied Flycatcher on the early trail, House Wrens, and a few Western-Wood Pewees. Got better looks at some Painted Redstarts as well. Toofly heard what sounded like an Elegant Trogan, and I told him with my current luck it was probably someone using playback, and not an actual bird. Then magically and in a surreal sequence of events, both a male Elegant Trogan and a female came flying into the trees right around us. We both got outstanding looks and Toofly got decent pics. At the same time a small covey of Montezuma Quail wandered into sight. The way the Elegant Trogans flew in made this trip for me. It was one of those rare instances where everything you could hope for happened. I had tried in vain to find them on my last trip, and it had bothered me for the past two years. I know they're not a super rarity, just a really cool bird.

Hepatic Tanager.......

https://photos.app.goo.gl/AZngnpT1qAypq7a13

One of the trogons......

https://photos.app.goo.gl/cViKrN6HRt2MNUuf1

Where's Waldo shot of the Montezuma Quail....

https://photos.app.goo.gl/JRyZmBP9ff5RCq183

After a while we headed back over to the feeders at Santa Rita. A nice Rivoli's Hummingbird flew in to one of the feeders.....

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mj4vcONbvrTadjlG3

We took a hike around the Amphitheater trail, but there was little going on there. We decided to finish off the evening in the lower canyon, to once again check out the sparrows. There were tons of Rufous-winged and some Botteri's Sparrows singing from the bush tops.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/hkhm8JucvdogOTFi1

Also saw a Loggerhead Shrike, a Northern Cardinal, Blue Grosbeak, Red-tailed Hawk, a family of Phainopeplas, and Common Ravens.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/rKp5pchTBVFHJZa93

Just before sunset, several Lesser Nighthawks circled above us...

https://photos.app.goo.gl/uV7v8wUnqC0OLb1W2

Desert sunset.......

https://photos.app.goo.gl/vsB9A0naPyOU6cdy1

We then hopped in the Blazer, a bit beat from the two days of hiking and rushing around, and made the long drive home. It was a really good time. I got to fellowship with Toofly, added eight lifers, and Toofly added dozens of lifers to his list. 

Two beat birders. I'm the more mature looking one. ;)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SNhd75bHjq3rSxHA2

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@creeker I added over 74 birds to my life list! And got hooked on a stupidly expensive, time consuming, and lamely difficult hobby of birding! But hey, who's counting! B)

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On 10/1/2017 at 3:40 AM, creeker said:

We then hopped in the Blazer, a bit beat from the two days of hiking and rushing around, and made the long drive home. It was a really good time. I got to fellowship with Toofly, added eight lifers, and Toofly added dozens of lifers to his list. 

Two beat birders. I'm the more mature looking one. ;)

https://photos.app.goo.gl/SNhd75bHjq3rSxHA2

What a great Trip Report! Thanks for sharing. I hope to hit a few of these spots on my upcoming trip. I'm going with 2 non-birders & don't know how much they will endure. I am leaving Dallas on 10/14 headed to Durango, the 4 corners, The Grand Canyon, down to Patagonia, then either to Las Cruces-Roswell-Dallas or Las Cruces-El Paso-Dallas. We don't have a specific path carved out so what are the best places this time of year to possibly see the most birds? Having trouble finding cabins at state parks but sure to find motels. eBird sorted by October is not very successful for much of SE AZ. Some places may have 1 contributor that year for Oct. The easier the paths/trails, the better. 

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