our trip in Phoenix Arizona in Encanto Park to see Rosy-faced Lovebird
now countable by ABA standards, to our surprise these were very
easy to find by their noisy calls, a bonus bird was Inca Dove of
which we saw several mixed with Mourning Doves. The park is a super
introduction to American duck which included Ring-necked following
us around looking for food amid Mallard and American Coot. Great-tailed
Grackle, Neotropic Cormorant, Snowy and one Great Egret. Next day
we spent the morning in the Botanical Gardens as all native Cacti
species were present, we did a guided tour and recommend same. Cactus
Wren is common as are Anna's Hummingbird, We saw our only Costa's
of the trip here. Bonus bird being Prairie Falcon sitting on the
side of the mountain overlooking the gardens for quite some time.
Later we visited The Riparian Wetlands which is outstanding for
water and land based birds. We saw our only Song Sparrow here, other
birds of note Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck and Lesser Scaup.
Dabbling Duck were Green-winged Teal and American Wigeon not to
mention several species of European duck. About a dozen American
White Pelicans were present including one which was satellite tagged
from Mexico. We found two first winter Snow geese amid the Canada.
Waders were well represented with Long-billed Dowitcher, Greater
Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt,
Wilson's Snipe and Killdeer. This is the only site we saw Harris's
Hawk and Osprey.
next stop was Sierra Vista in the southeast, this was to be our
base for the Mexican border sites. Tubac was our first port of call
for Green Kingfisher which we saw very well picked up by it's wren
like call. Next Chiricahua Mountains for Mexican Chickadee, we planned
to give this difficult species three attempts, we got it in one
thanks to the wardens at the gate house which one should check in.
They also pointed us in the right direction for Blue-throated Hummingbird
of which we saw and found a second just for good measure. Gambel's
Quail is common here but failed to see Montezula.
to San Rafael Valley for Longspurs but failed to reach same due
to heavy overnight rains which did not suit our rental saloon, A
higher based car/jeep would have suited, on advice we tried Sonoita
which was getting Longspurs and huge numbers of Sparrows. Rain hampered
our day but we did manage one McCown's Longspur amid hundreds of
Vesper Sparrows. Only one Horned Lark amid same. The grassland were
abounding with several species of sparrows, Northern Harrier were
to be seen every few minutes, two White-tailed Kites were ever present,
one Rough legged Hawk and a Ferruginous Hawk. We saw several Eastern
Meadowlarks which are considered Lilian's on range. By the end of
the day snow was falling and more forecast, we decided to play safe
and head back to Tucson. From here we spent half a day in the Paton's
Centre for Hummingbirds which gave us Broad-billed and Anna's.
next few days were well spent in Santa Rita just to catch up with
some now familiar birds, the big surprise though was Northern Pygmy
Owl! lifer and bird of the trip performing very well, daytime hunting
and tame. Other notable birds during out tenure being two Magnificent
and Blue-throated Hummingbirds. We struggled to find Olive Warbler
but were eventually rewarded with a performing male, stunner!. Hammond's
flycatcher, Greater Pewee, Arizona Woodpeckers, Hepatic Tanagers
to mention just some. Santa Rita is just a magnet for good birds.
spent our last morning in Green Valley looking at more superb diving
and dabbling duck, the lake was surrounded by sparrows including
Lincoln's, Lark and two Cassin's before heading to Phoenix for our
flight home. We had ample time and revisited Riparian Wetland for
more of the same but including Inca Doves this time.
We have visited Arizona several times over the years and will
certainly be back as the birding is just fantastic, we seem to see
something new every time which is a bonus, driving is very easy,
people are just relaxed and friendly and everything just works as