Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Arizona, Day 1
I began my first day in Arizona with two life birds over breakfast at the Riverpark Inn in Tucson: Anna's Hummingbird and Gila Woodpecker, which got me to ABA #400 before I had two sips of coffee. The day was sunny and clear, and I was headed to the northeast of Tucson, with the morning planned for Sabino Canyon and the afternoon at Mt. Lemmon.
I spent 3 hours hiking around Sabino Canyon, which wasn't as birdy as I had hoped, but it was birdy enough. I started out with Cooper's Hawk, House Finches and Mourning Doves, and then started hitting the desert birds. I had great looks at Cactus Wren, Gambel's Quail and Cassin's Kingbird.
In a riparian corridor, I picked up Green-tailed Towhee, Verdin, more Anna's Hummingbirds, a Costa's Hummingbird, and another couple of Cooper's Hawks. I followed a gnatcatcher's scolding hoping for Black-tailed, but had Blue-gray instead. Further hiking gave me more birds, such as Common Raven, Turkey Vulture, Northern Cardinal, Gila Woodpecker and Northern Mockingbird, and I added Black-throated Sparrow, Gilded Flicker and Greater Roadrunner to my life list.
At 11:30, I felt I had probably seen all the birds I would at Sabino Canyon and headed up to Mt. Lemmon, stopping frequently to bird. I spent a little over 6 hours at Mt. Lemmon, birding up the mountain. Mt. Lemmon was fairly productive, especially in a rocky dry creek bed at a campground, where I had Canyon Wren, Bewick's Wren and House Wren; Summer Tanager; Brewer's Sparrow; Painted Redstart; Western Wood-Pewee, Canyon Towhee, and Nashville Warbler.
A little further up at a picnic area I came across the only Yellow-eyed Junco I would see, along with Mexican Jay, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towheeeand Red-naped Sapsucker. Finally, I made it up to the top and had a very late lunch/very early dinner at the Iron Door restaurant. I was the only customer at that time and had excellent service, enjoying German food and beer while watching the Broad-billed and Rufous/Allen's Hummingbirds feed next to me. Then, I headed to the very top, picking up Hermit Thrush, "Red-shafted" Northern Flicker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Mountain Chickadee, Yellow-rumped ("Audubon's") Warbler, Stellar's Jay, and Hermit Warbler. Light was beginning to fail and I could see rain clouds rolling in, so I headed back down the mountain, stopping to enjoy the scenery and feeling pretty good - having added 20 ABA birds in one day!