Monday, April 22, 2013

Birding with Kathie - 14 April 2013

After such an exhausting day on Saturday, I met up with fellow birder/blogger Kathie Brown at the Agua Caliente Park in the eastern part of Tucson.  This was the first time we have met in person, but knew each other a little bit by our blogs.  I highly suggest checking out her blog site as she can present a different perspective that is always informative:

We met at Agua Caliente Park with a goal of trying to locate a Northern Beardless-Tyrannlet which this location has been a good spot for many birders and evidently bred here.  Unfortunately for us, we were not able to locate this small flycatcher so we settled for some other birds and critters instead. it was a great spot for birds including a Rufous-winged Sparrow that made its presence by singing in some of the dry grassy areas.  

Rufous-winged Sparrow

Also nearby in the morning hours were a couple of Coues (pronounced cows) Deer, a small southwestern version of the White-tailed Deer.

 Coues Deer

Coues Deer

We left my car there while Kathie and I explored Mt Lemmon and later in the day when we returned we also  found a few more discoveries.  A Harris's Hawk came in for a landing and I have to thank a Lark Sparrow for being so cooperative and allowing some decent photos.  What a handsomely marked sparrow!  Kathie also discovered a Vermilion Flycatcher nest, and I am convinced I must be losing my eyesight as it took a long time for me to find it.  However, the nest was hard to see and we did not want to interrupt the birds by getting too close.  The photo says it all.

 Harris Hawk

 Lark Sparrow

Vermilion Flycatcher and nest

From there, Kathie drove, (thanks again for offering to drive Kathie), and we then headed up the road to Mt Lemmon.  We made several stops on the way up and found birds at each stop.  One of the stops while still in the desert habitat included a Rock Wren and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  What was neat about this stop was that we had 2 different species of gnatcatchers and 3 species of wrens, (unfortunately, I was only able to get 2 photos out of those 5 species of birds).

 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Rock Wren

One of the most exciting stops was at Rose Canyon Lake and we hiked the south trail and got some wonderful birds, including a Yellow-eyed Junco that decided it liked us because when it saw us taking photos of it down lower on the ground, it decided to fly up into the tree right beside us and pose for our cameras.  What a dynamic looking bird with that awesome bright yellow eye!

 Yellow-eyed Junco

  Yellow-eyed Junco

 Yellow-eyed Junco

Also seen at this location was an Osprey, a Mexican Mallard, and a Pygmy Nuthatch and its nesting cavity.
The Mexican Mallard is not considered as a separate species at this time, but a sub-species of the common Mallard.  At one time it was a separate species.

 'Mexican' Mallard


Pygmy Nuthatch

Also at this location we found a nest in progress of a Broad-tailed Hummingbird, thanks to another couple that advised us where to look.  But even then it was almost impossible to find, but thanks to Kathie's eyes we finally spotted it.  The nest is pictured below, but the photo of the female Broad-tailed hummingbird was actually taken at almost the top of Mt Lemmon.

 Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird nest

Once we reached the top we enjoyed a small pizza and a LARGE cookie and found that the Yellow-eyed Juncos were everywhere at the top.  What a great day of birding and seeing some great birds and having a great guide really enhanced the trip.  Hope to do more birding in the future with Kathie and maybe we can persuade another birder/blogger, Chris Rohrer to join us.


  1. Oh I would have loved to come with you guys. If you come down again, let me know and we'll find birds:) I can't keep up with all the updates! Better if I find the bird in Arizona and much better if I find them in Pima:) I still have to go up to Havasu and a million other places. Love your pics and all of them are great birds. Sorry about the Tyrannulet but the good news is that they are still around:) I hiked 7 miles for a non-Condor, two miles for a Trogon.....and I'm sure it won't be the last. I have a celebratory dinner planned after finding the new Nemesis bird:)

    1. Chris, OMG, we have something in common! The trogon is also one of my nemesis birds. You have a better chance of finding one before I as you live a bit closer to them than I do. I still have several birds down your way that I would like to add to my list, so I might have to plan another trip or 2. Scaled Quail is another one and they have been seeing them quite a bit at Wilcox. Next post for me actually was another one of those trogon attempts that did not materialize. Thanks for the comments! We will definitely get together some day!

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  3. Wow Gordon great series. Your photos are super solid, especially with that Junco.

    I'm planning a Caliente/Mt. Lemmon for Tyrannulet, Greater Pewee, and Buff-breasted Flycatcher later this summer.
    Hope to see you in the field.

  4. Great pics/narrative as usual Gordon, especially of the Junco !

  5. Gordon, what a nice post and your pics came out great! It was such a pleasure to meet you and we had such a good time! You were a good sport about my injured leg. Thank you. I do hope that you, Chris and I can go birding together one day, as well as mister Laurence Butler whom I am still waiting to meet!

    1. I am sure we will. We will just have to plan a meeting sometime when we aren't all so busy with our other schedules. Thanks again for a wonderful time!