Hot temperatures continue and the humidity is increasing. It won’t be long before the afternoon showers begin. I am continuing the “catch-up” of chores and paperwork with a little birding & guiding thrown in for good measure.
On Friday June 20th I took Steve Lima down to California Gulch in search of Five-striped Sparrows. It was a good thing that Steve got eyes on one of the pair that flew across the trail early. That was our best views of what turned out to be a difficult bird to see & hear this morning. We did end up seeing or hearing seven Five-striped Sparrows; mostly heard call notes, a few shadows seen flitting through the scrub after hearing calls, one male sang a few times, and the one of the pair that Steve saw teed up. The small water hole at the third crossing is almost gone. It is amazingly dry down here.
Saturday morning June 21st I picked up Bill & Landra at the Chuparosa B&B for a morning of birding in Madera Canyon. We started at the Proctor Road trail, then stopped by Madera Kubo for a short feeder check, and then walked the first mile of the very quiet Super Trail. The highlight of our time together was a Zone-tailed Hawk but their highlight of their visit was the male Elegant Trogon calling around the Chuparosa Sunday morning.
I found myself back at the feeders at the private residence in Green Valley on Sunday morning June 22nd. It was less than ten minutes after filling the previously empty feeders that the Plain-capped Starthroat shows up. It came out of the wash, landed in a Palo Verde tree called for several minutes, briefly visited the back feeder (closest to the wash), perched up on the other side of the Palo Verde, for a few seconds, and then headed back into the wash. I waited 50 minutes for the bird to return – it did not.
[Sunday 22nd night - My client from a few days prior emailed a report of a Berylline Hummingbird in he saw in Ramsey Canyon.]
I joined Mark & Molly in a search for Gray Vireos on Redington Pass Monday June 23rd. Even though I did not need the Gray Vireo for the year list, it was good to get out with Mark & Molly and for my part explore. The few times I have been up Redington Pass Road I usually go up in search of a few particular species (Sage Thrashers, Juniper Titmouse) and typically do not find the road/corral/tank I was supposed to bird at. We heard and saw at least two Gray Vireos singing around MP 14. This was one of the two locations that Mark & Molly had found them last summer (July).
I thought about chasing the Berylline Hummingbird after leaving Mark & Molly. There was a positive list server posting concerning this bird and I knew the Nature Conservancy Preserve is closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays. The posting also stated that Rick Romero had received permission to “escort” birders in while the preserve was closed. So decided that I would try for the Berylline tomorrow. Later in the afternoon I got a premonition (actually bored of working on the computer) and went down to Torres Blancas Golf Course. I normally do not see much at Torres Blancas but every now and again something unusual shows up that keeps me looking. This afternoon the unusual was a Long-billed Curlew out on the fairway. I photographed this bird; this is perhaps the only Pima County June record of this species. I have one other record of Long-billed Curlew from this location, 16 September 2012.
Louise and I took an evening hike along the Nature Trail in Madera Canyon. This was not a birding hike however we witnessed thirty-six Turkey Vultures coming in to roost and heard seven individual Mexican Whip-poor-wills, impressive numbers locally.
24 June 2014 Tuesday: This is target birding at its best! I drive into a beautiful sunrise arriving at the Ramsey Canyon Preserve with Sycamore filtered sunlight illuminating the path to the hummingbird feeders. Almost immediately both Rick and I hear the Berylline Hummingbird singing. I take numerous pictures and make a few recordings over the next hour & half. See http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18896199.
Since I am in the neighborhood, I decide to stop by Huachuca Canyon for a little bit to see if the Hooded Warbler that was reported there several days ago might still be around. No luck with this warbler. It was still a worthy stop being that Huachuca Canyon is such a wonderful spot.
In the evening, I convince Louise to join me on a nightjar search up Faber Canyon. Last year I had a pair that probably bred. This year, I have not heard a nightjar sound from this area of excellent habitat. We did find a Common Poorwill flycatching from the trail, always fun to see.
With the addition of the Berylline Hummingbird, the year list stands at 370.