Thursday, May 13, 2010

Birding from Dawn ‘till Done, Kathryn’s last Day in Sycamore Canyon

DSC_0024 Can a day start out any better than with a red-tailed hawk soaring in a bright blue sky?

Skywatch Friday!

DSC_0031 Since Kathryn's plane did not leave until late afternoon we spent our last morning going for a hike in Sycamore Canyon. in 30 seconds we were in the Big Wash or the main Canyon and seeing birds. An unfamiliar song led me to this familiar bird, a canyon towhee.

DSC_0039Farther up the canyon we were startled when a red-tailed hawk flew screaming out of this nest high over our heads in a saguaro.  We had not seen the nest nor taken notice of the cactus until the bird flew out. since we did not want to disturb the bird or the nestlings we hurried away from that location.

DSC_0041Meanwhile mama (or papa) bird continued to scream at us from across the canyon in a mesquite tree on the opposite rim.

DSC_0052 We were seeing so many birds in the sycamore Canyon, a reminder to me that I need to come out here more often!  while I am chasing birds all over SE Arizona, once again I am discovering that there is a treasure trove right in my own backyard! We found this little bird and I took several photos of it.  I’ve studied and studied it and finally come to the conclusion…

DSC_0057 …that it is a Western (Pacific/Cordilleran) Flycatcher due to the lack dusky smudges on its undertail coverts, the short primary projection, the slight crest and the eye ring pointed at the back.  If you have a different opinion please tell me and tell me why!

DSC_0060 However, the male Phainopepla presents no such problem in identification with his silky black crest and red eyes.

We saw so many birds out in the wash and the whole time I kept saying to Kathryn that I was so surprised we had not seen a black-headed grosbeak out there. We barely got back home and I was dressing after taking a shower when Kathryn called out to me that there was a black-headed grosbeak in the acacia tree in the front yard!


While I saw it there I was unable to get its picture, but then the bird obliged me by flying to the backyard and landing in the mesquite tree which made photographing it a bit easier as I could gently slide the sliding glass door open and poke out my lens.

 DSC_0070 What a great way to end her birding trip.  To top it all off, as we left for the airport we saw a Swainson's Hawk soaring at the bottom of the road in my neighborhood, her final species for this trip and a new addition to her AZ Life list! Sycamore Canyon is a great place to live!

Location: Sycamore Canyon Wash
Observation date: 4/13/10
Notes: Birding with Kathryn.
Number of species: 28
Turkey Vulture 5
Red-tailed Hawk (Western) 3 one hawk on nest in saguaro.
White-winged Dove 5
Mourning Dove 22
Greater Roadrunner 1
Costa's Hummingbird 2
hummingbird sp. 1
Gila Woodpecker 6
Gilded Flicker 4
Gray Flycatcher 1
Cordilleran/Pacific Slope flycatcher 1
Bell's Vireo 3
Gray Vireo 1
Common Raven 2
Verdin 7
Cactus Wren 6
House Wren 1
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher 1
Northern Mockingbird 5
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western) 6
Phainopepla 6
Lucy's Warbler 2 pair building a nest.
Green-tailed Towhee 1
Canyon Towhee 1
Rufous-winged Sparrow 1
Pyrrhuloxia 2
House Finch 10
Lesser Goldfinch 1
House Sparrow 1
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(

Location: 17 S. Vermillion Sunset Dr.
Observation date: 4/13/10
Notes: Birding with Kathryn. Her last day here.
Number of species: 17
Gambel's Quail 6
White-winged Dove 2
Mourning Dove 15
Gila Woodpecker 8
Gilded Flicker 3
Say's Phoebe 2
Chihuahuan Raven 1
Cactus Wren 3
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western) 6
European Starling 3
Rufous-winged Sparrow 1
Lincoln's Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Black-headed Grosbeak 1
House Finch 9
Lesser Goldfinch 6
House Sparrow 9
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(


Beth Niquette said...

What incredible photos--I loved each and every one of them. They filled my eyes, which is the greatest compliment I can give.

Gaelyn said...

You two sure had fun filled days of birding. That hawk's nest is very cool. And right outside your door.

Birding is Fun! said...

I like you, love where I live and find a lot of joy in my birds. Those flycatcher types are a pain to tell apart. I have learned that the call of the Western Wood-Pewee really differentiates it as well as its lack of tail flicking as mentioned in Sibley. I've had both Wood-Pewee's and Dusky Flycatchers here in Idaho and I expect Willow Flycatchers any day now.

Kathie Brown said...

Beth, thank you for such a nice compliment.

Gaelyn and Idaho Birder, after further study I've changed my mind about the flycatcher and changed the info in my post. Thanks for stopping by!

Birding is Fun! said...

I remember the "western" flycatchers being a lot more yellow than that. I think you might have been right with the Western Wood-Pewee.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Great photographs. You are really good at getting images of the birds.

Kathryn said...

Thanks for a great trip, Kathie. I enjoyed every minute of our adventures in birding! Love ya.

Anonymous said...

They're all beautiful but that first shot of the red tailed hawk is amazing. Love the way the sunlight catches him. Gorgeous! ~Jeanne

Dan Huber said...

lovely post and pictures, sure looks like a great place to go and bird


Michael Watson said...

Thanks for the gift of birds! I am transported home to the mountains of New Mexico! I have, however, not developed the skill and patience to be a good bird photographer.

Redzlan said...

That red-tailed hawk in flight against the clear blue sky, sure make my day. said...

incredible photos...all are very very nice...but...I love it the photo of the HEADER ALSO...


TonyC said...

Great post, I'll definately visit you again!!

Kathie Brown said...

Idaho Birder, you don't kow how trying to ID this bird is giving me fits! I am going to shoot an email off to someone at Tucson Audubon and see what they have to say. Thanks for your imput. I may have to edit this post once again!

Kathryn, you are welcome. Come back any time birding buddy!

J Bar, Jeanne, Yogi, a viewfromme, forestal, Tabib, Grace Olsson, thank you all for your visits and your comments!

Micheal Watson, so glad to transport you!

TonyC, I do hope you visit again. Thank you!

Carolyn Ford said...

I am so impressed with the Red Tailed Hawk in flight. That is a sight to behold!

eileeninmd said...

Awesome shot of the Hawk in flight! I love the black headed Grosbeak too. Great outing and a beautiful sky!

Hilda said...

That first shot is just absolutely awesome!

abb said...

That first photo is spectacular!