Pacific Wren

Pacific Wren
Pacific Wren

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hummingbirds in Arizona

This last Sunday, good friend and birder, Muriel Neddermeyer and I headed to the southern parts of Arizona specifically to check out the hummingbirds.  Arizona has more species of hummingbirds in the United States than any other state, so if a person has a love of hummingbirds, this is the place to visit.  Of course not all the species are year-round residents as some are migrants and the time of the year will dictate a lot of what one can see.  Some of the species are more common in parts of Mexico, but there is always a few that cross the border into Arizona providing for some great birds.  There are several hotspots in southern Arizona that cater to the hummingbirds and most of them ask for a nominal fee of about $5.00 when visiting their facilities.  This helps to defray their costs to keep the feeders maintained.  Trust me, that small charge is definitely a bargain to see some of these amazing hummingbirds. 

First stop was Ash Canyon B & B, which is probably the best known location to view the Lucifer Hummingbird.  It's range extends into southeastern Arizona, an extreme very small area of southwestern new Mexico, and also into the Big Bend area of Texas.  Not to be confused with the more common Costa's Hummingbird, this bird has a long curved bill that is a key identification mark.  Still have not been able to capture a photo of this bird away from a feeder, but someday I am sure with enough visits, that will happen.

Lucifer Hummingbird

We counted 6 species of hummingbirds at this location on this day, but I have been there before when I got 10 species in one day.  Broad-billed Hummingbirds were in abundance here and at the other places where we stopped.  It is another stunning bird and unfortunately, I most generally focus on photographing the males, this time I did make an attempt at getting some photos of some of the females.  I do not ever recall getting a photo of a female Broad-billed Hummingbird, so on this day I did manage to do so and am glad that I did.

Broad-billed Hummingbird - male

Broad-billed Hummingbird - female

And of course the most common hummingbird in Arizona is Anna's Hummingbird which I have throughout the year in my back yard at my feeders.  Kind of enjoyed the markings on this juvenile male with the magenta coming in on its molt in streaks and patches.

Anna's Hummingbird

Of course there are more than just hummingbirds to be found here and I just could not resist taking a few photos of some of the rest: Acorn Woodpecker, Bewick's Wren, Black-headed Grosbeak, House Finch, and the Mexican Jay.

Acorn Woodpecker

Bewick's Wren

Black-headed Grosbeak

House Finch - not a bird that I photograph very often, but this one was redder than most.

Mexican Jay

Next stop was at Beatty's B&B in Miller Canyon, just a short distance up the road.  This location is just a bit higher in elevation and results in some different habitat.  Usually one of the best places to find Blue-throated Hummingbird and White-eared Hummingbird, but this day we did not have that luck.  But we still got lots of hummingbirds including the Magnificent Hummingbirds, Rufous Hummingbirds, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds.  Hope you enjoy the photos and the variety of hummingbirds, including some females.

 Black-chinned Hummingbird - female

Black-chinned Hummingbird - male

Black-chinned Hummingbird - male

Broad-tailed Hummingbird - male

 Rufous Hummingbird with yellow pollen on its bill

Rufous Hummingbird with yellow pollen on its bill

 Magnificent Hummingbird - male

Magnificent Hummingbird - male

As the afternoon was quickly arriving, we headed west to Patagonia and to Paton's Bird Sanctuary, one of the most reliable spots to find the Violet-crowned Hummingbird.  Host, Larry Morgan, is always a pleasure to visit with and is glad to help anyone find some special birds that visit this spot.  And the Violet-crowned Hummingbird did not let us down, although it did spend most of its time at the feeders, it is still a very different appearing hummingbird with that pure white throat, chest, and belly to offset that violet crown.

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

When the day was done, we had observed 8 species of hummingbirds and if we would have taken the time to visit Madera Canyon, we might have been able to add a 9th species, the Plain-capped Starthroat.  As mentioned in the early part of this blog, Arizona is an awesome state to see hummingbirds!!!









   

10 comments:

  1. Gorgeous, sharp shots Gordon! Pick your spot and crushinate them!

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    1. Thank Laurence, I get lucky once in a while, but I have also noticed that your photos from TX really rock! I am envious of your trip and have always wanted to hit that part of TX as well and you gave me the nudge to plan a trip!

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  2. Those are some AMAZING hummingbird shots!!! All I can say is WOW!!!

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    1. Thanks Caleb, I often wonder how my photos will turn out especially taking so many in low light. So I felt a little blessed on how some of them turned out. You have some outstanding photos as well. I just discovered your blog site and looks like I have a lot to catch up on. It looks great so far!

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  3. Great shots! It is hard to get photos of any bird with such clarity...much less a flitting, fleeting hummingbird! Very impressive.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. Hummingbirds can definitely be a challenge, but they are just so darn colorful and dynamic that I have to get some shots and hope for the best.

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  4. Fantastic and wonderful shots, Gordon! What a neat time you and Muriel must have had! I don't see your killer Magnificent shot on here though?

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    1. Can't believe I left that photo out! Thanks for catching that and reminding me, I was able to update the post.

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    2. Cool! You got some great photos of that bird, way better than I have ever had.

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  5. So beautiful! I'll have to take a roadtrip. Anna's are all I see in Phoenix.

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