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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Along the San Pedro River

Today I was up early and after handing over my driver's license & allegiance to the fort's entry guards, I drove up the primitive & Fort Huachuca Canyon Road. Once there I parked and hiked maybe an eighth of a mile up the north side of the canyon along an established path. Saw many interesting birds, but no sign of Trogons, nor did I hear any - I was wildly disappointed, but there is nothing stopping me from trying again tomorrow.

I saw this bouncy little Gnatcatcher and was happy to get many shots of it so I could identify its species at my leisure.

Try as I might, I could not manage to turn it into a Black-capped or Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. It was 'only' a lovely garden variety Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, as evident from its undertail feathers that is so kindly showed off to me. Hum.. on second thought, maybe...
Dusky-capped Flycatchers that seemed to be everywhere
When I gave up looking for Trogons on the upper reach of the canyon, I tried to find rare bird that I saw in bird alerts was to be found in 'the lower picnic grounds in the usual spot'. Heaven only knows which lower picnic grounds was the right one, or what 'spot' was the bird's usual spot. Nor could I find birders that even knew what the heck I was looking for. Alas, the Sinoloa Wren posted as being found in the canyon went unseen by me, at least for today.

When I left Fort Huachuaca Canyon, yet again it took me twice as long to find my way out of the facility, than it had taken to squirrel my way in. When I managed find my way through the maze of streets and out, I headed for the San Pedro house.There are xeriscape display gardens and lots of hummingbird feeders around the house, which headquarters the Friends of the San Pedro River and sells lots of books, gears - and my favorite items - cloisonne pins.

But before buying anything I bite the bullet, finding myself tromping down the dry, dusty trail to the river. There I found a couple of ducks were paddling about. They were Mexican ducks one of the stranger Mallard subspecies in which the male duck's plumage resembles the female, as though the males are in duck drag.

Very likely a bonded pair Mexican Ducks, i.e., a male & a female
The best thing the river had was lots and lots of ridiculously brightly colored Vermillion Flycatchers.

Hello! Do you have a license to show off such blindingly bright color, Mr. Vermillion Flycatcher?
Mrs. Vermillion Flycatcher in her
more somber plumage featuring pinkish pantaloons
This fellow, a Green-tailed Towhee (basically a
giant sparrow), wears a ginger punk haircut
A Cassin's Kingbird - found in California, but by me? Not too often
After my San Pablo River walk, I chatted with the volunteer in the Visitor Center. Some other birders joined in the conversation which was about Trogons - which everyone in the room saw at some point - except me. I eyed an Elegant Trogon cloisonne pin but didn't want to jinx myself by purchasing it - it would have to wait for another day.

After the lively conversation I went outside to watch hummingbird feeders being sucked dry by the ravid & bright hummingbirds; nice way to end the day.

1 comment:

  1. And Vermillion Flycatcher answers: Why Yes, Yes I do