Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pinal Mountains - A Warbler Bonanza

Once again this summer I had the privilege to go birding in the Pinal Mountains south of Globe, Arizona.  This is always a great place to visit especially in the summer months as the higher elevation is so much cooler.  Plus this area can be a great spot for migrants. Joining me were our driver Ed Jeter, along with Ellen Hairston and a new birder, Steve Maurer.

Our little trip turned out to be my highest count of warbler species in one day.  We ended up with 11 species of warblers which is pretty awesome and that number included several migrants starting to return south.  Here is the list of warblers we found:  Virginia's Warbler, Grace's Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Painted Redstart.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get photos of all the species, but did get a few that I can post.  At one spot where we stopped along the road, we looked over the bank and down about 20 yards to a very small stream bed with just a bit of water running in it and discovered a small opening in the shade and among some rocks where many of these warblers were taking turns bathing.  So trying to focus my camera into a dark, shady spot and focusing through a small opening in the vegetation, was rather difficult.  I at least got some identifiable photos and and in one photo I was lucky to capture 3 different warblers all at the same time.

 Virginia's Warbler in full bath mode

Virginia's Warbler

 Orange-crowned Warbler

 Townsend's Warbler

Townsend's Warbler

 Hermit Warbler

Hermit Warbler in full bath mode

 Black-throated Gray and Wilson's Warblers

 Black-throated Gray and Grace's Warblers

Black-throated Gray and Wilson's Warblers

Black-throated Gray, Wilson's, and Grace's Warblers

OK, enough of those wonderful warblers!  We did find other birds on our visit including a couple nuthatches.  White-breasted Nuthatches are really quite common in Arizona and throughout much of the United States, but at times, getting good photos of them can be a bit difficult as they usually are found in fairly shady spots.  This day I happened to get a pretty decent photo of one flaking off a bit of bark.  The Red-breasted Nuthatch is much less common in Arizona.  They can be found but not nearly as numerous as the White-breasted species.  I came across 4 of them near the cabin with feeders near the top of Pinal Peak.

 Red-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

The hummingbird feeders were very active with Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds and Magnificent Hummingbirds also near the top.  For once I refrained from taking a lot of photos of them and just enjoyed watching them vie for the feeders and the the nectar that was available for them.  The trip was another great adventure and full of wonderful birds!


  1. I am fascinated by those pics. It's not everyday you get all the warblers together for a camera shoot! They certainly mob an area quickly and leave just as fast but to catch them on a time out is wonderful. I love all of your bathing shots. That is quite the find my friend! Congrats! And especially congrats on the capture of the Virginia's Warbler. They're even trickier than the others to get on camera:)

  2. Gordon what an incredible bonanza that is! Especially those shots with 3 species coming down to drink and bathe! You certainly don't see that everyday. I've only been to the Pinals once, and they are incredible. I did get to see a Greater Pewee when I went probably about 20 feet away and eye level views. It just sat there, too bad I had a crappy camera then!

  3. Wonderful captures of such amazing birds! You will have to tell me where this place is! I have never been to the Pinal Mountains! I would love to see all these species! Congrats Gordon! and I am glad you took the time to just enjoy the birds!