Sunday morning we knew it was our day to head back the ugly heat of the valley, but we also wanted to explore the area around the Tonto Fish Hatchery. Chris had never been there and I always enjoy stopping when I have time. After enjoying a great breakfast at June's Cafe in Heber, we took to the road and headed for the fish hatchery which is north and east of Payson.
The road to the hatchery itself is a beautiful drive with towering pines on both sides of the road interspersed with a mixture of deciduous trees. Cordilleran Flycatchers were calling in several places and one of them came out and posed for us in the sunlight. That does not happen often as this species usually hangs out in the lower to mid level canopy of the trees and is quite often a challenge to photograph in shady conditions.
We also noted Virginia's Warblers calling, but getting a good look at them was quite a challenge. Finally had one fly into a nearby tree, but it did not want to show itself, so I just raised the camera and focused on where it was and got lucky enough to capture one photo as it decided to take flight.
Shortly thereafter a Painted Redstart also made an appearance for us as well.
Flowers and butterflies also entertained us as did this Zela Metalmark butterfly that was very attracted to this head of orange blossoms. What is rather cool was that it had company on the flowers. We knew the bee was there, but did not notice the small assassin bugs until I looked at the photos.
Zela Metalmark - With some assassin bugs
Not a great photo of this damselfly which I believe is a Canyon Rubyspot damselfly. But it was very showy with those red spots on the wings.
Canyon Rubyspot damselfly
A great ending to a couple of enjoyable days of birding and I know these places will be spots that I return to in the future and I think Chris will as well.