Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon, AZ
Santa Rita Lodge was my destination in Madera Canyon and the place I chose to use as my base camp while exploring the area. The lodge itself provided plenty of birding opportunities and I found 2 new life birds right at the lodge. The most exciting find was totally unexpected but it had been a bird on my 'want' list for for quite some time. During my 2 night stay I ran into a very nice couple and their very young son from Texas that were also staying at the lodge and their cousin from Tucson had come down to visit, and they were kind enough to allow me to tag along. We had decided to walk across the road to a picnic area and check it out before heading into town for a bite to eat. We found a deer grazing in the grass and as I was trying to get my camera focused on the deer, the blurring noise of 2 birds flew across our path directly in front of us and landed in some grass nearby and disappeared. By their flight pattern and sound I knew immediately that it was some kind of a quail, but it took us awhile to finally catch enough of a glimpse of them to see they were Montezuma Quail. This little bird can be very elusive and it is a much sought after bird for many birders. The male finally worked his way around a rock and peeked over the top to check us out and allowed us to get some nice photos of him. Quite a handsome little bird don't you think?
The Santa Rita Lodge also has many feeders out and lots of hummingbirds visit along with several Mexican Jays that seem to come and go and lots of Acorn Woodpeckers. But the most numerous birds were probably the Lesser Goldfinches. Here are some photos of some of the other birds that were in abundant numbers; Mexican Jay, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Lesser Goldfinch, Wild Turkeys, a female Hooded Oriole (that was a bit camera shy), and an Anna's Hummingbird sipping from a feeder right out side the front door of my Casita.
This last photo is one of another one of my new life birds, a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. It would fly into the feeding station area every once in a while and chase an Acorn Woodpecker or two and then fly off again. It never did land in the right spot for a decent photo, but sometime birds do not want to cooperate and I guess I should count my blessings that I got to see the bird!