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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Buckshot Birding

Lazuli Buntings at Santa Rita Lodge, Madera Canyon
Buckshot birding means I scattering my birding hither and yon this weekend in southeastern Arizona. Before I tell what I saw, let me mention one slight little hiccup to my trip - shortly after my visit to Patagonia Sonoita Preserve, my car's air conditioning died. It blew refreshing cool air, then Poof! It blew deflating hot air.
R.I. P. little A/C.
My immediate thought was to head home for some quality pouting. Then I mulled over things over  deciding to just get the damned thing fixed & not cut my trip short. So, read a ton of on line reviews, choosing a repair shop in Tucson.

The repair guy told me the cost would be a whopping 2K. YIKES! Shocking, except back in 2004 when the a/c went out in my old Honda Accord, the Honda dealer gave me a repair price of $3K - with NO guarantee the fix would work. I opted to instead buy my current SUV.  In comparison, the 2K with an assurance the a/c would work after repairs was fine by me. The work will be done tomorrow, Monday morning.

Back to my weekend - on Friday I started off with a visit to Madera Canyon. I quickly toured the area - uh... without hiking... and ended up at Santa Rita Lodge where bird feeders attract things for happy birders to stare at. It seemed a miracle to see both Lazuli & an Indigo Buntings at the same place at the same time.

The birders were, as usual, quite friendly and I enjoyed a lively birding oriented chat. I ended the twilight hour sitting under a telephone pole where I was told a little Elf Owl - a species I've not seen before - popped to entertain the spectators the previous night. Sadly, the little guy didn't pop out to entertain me.

Surprise MacGillvray's Warbler

Saturday I visited the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. I did a bit of birding around the Refuge HQ.  I was stoked when I happened on a Macgillivray's Warbler and managed to get one shot of the little bird with it's smokey gray head and white crescent marked eyes.

There were many tiny Lucy's Warblers with their rusty rumps. I managed a better-than-a-sharp-stick-in-the-eye photo of one.

After checking out the birds by the Refuge HQ, I took a short drive on the refuges' Pronghorn auto drive.  There I found a Raven and I spent a good long while parked, keeping a close eye on the large bird.

Common Raven or not?

When I got what I wanted when the breeze blew and I not only got a look at the underfeathers on the bird's neck, but I got a photo of the white underfeathers too.

Not! A lovely Chihuahuan Raven

Why did I care? The white neck feathers mean the Raven was no Common Raven, but a Chihuahuan Raven, which is a Mexican species. Cool, eh?

Sunday I drove south towards Nogales, and then on into the boondocks. I took lots of wrong turns but eventually found the famous road that leads down to California Gulch. The gulch is famous for it's Mexican bird species that illegally cross the border & chirp, "We don need no stinking birdseed!"
Unfortunately, though I saw none of my targeted species, but there were some nice birds down there and even a few butterflies. 

Arizona Sister
It was a nice weekend, but tomorrow I take the Honda in for a new condenser for the a/c. You know, so I don't boil in my car on my way back to California next week.

Here is a teeny bit of a Nighthawk I found on the streets of Green Valley, Arizona, just west of Madera Canyon Road. Have finally puzzled out that it is a Lesser Nighthawk, not a Common Nighthawk. Love the bird's moth-like flight.

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