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Thursday, May 28, 2015

An Afternoon at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge




Swainson's Hawk soaring at the Refuge entrance




By Wednesday the semi-sad truth occurred to me, that the Plain-capped Starthroat Hummingbird has gone back to where ever it came from and this isn't my year to see one. *sigh* Certainly saw loads of other nice birds. On Wednesday I drove down to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in hopes of finding some of the Masked Bobwhite Quail but no dice.

Refuge view of Altar Valley and the Baboquivari Mountains

The adobe brick refuge visitor center
  Other species were kinder and I found the first of them at the Visitor Center.

Barn Swallows hung around visitor center entrance way
At the rear of the visitors center I saw lots of other birds, and I watched them while I had my lunch on the picnic patio.

Visitor center's back patio picnic area

A Say's Phoebe found me suspicious
A Cactus Wren caught and enjoyed its own picnic beneath a picnic table
Vermillion Flycatcher also watched me eat lunch
After lunch I hit the Pronghorn Drive, but alas, as the last time I visited the refuge, no Pronghorns.


I found a lot more wildflowers than wildlife.

Coulter's Matilija Poppy aka Cowboy's Fried Egg Flower

Wild Verbena
Now we're talking desert wildflowers... a prickly pear cactus flower
Most of the birds I saw were either Eastern/Western Meadowlarks or Horned Larks.

The Horned Larks seemed, like me, to wilt in the heat
After leaving the refuge I drove back towards the tiny town of Arivaca, but on the way I stopped for short walk around one of the refuge trailheads. I found several nice birds and a pair of cooperative Butterflies.

Tiny Checkerspots

On the way back to Madera Canyon, barely a quarter mile north Arivaca I saw a small kettle of vultures. I was surprised to see there were Black Vultures, which I always associate with the east coast. The Black Vultures circled a road kill with the usual Turkey Vultures. That was a nice treat, I mean, seeing a second type of vulture, not the dead kitty.
Black Vulture left, Turkey Vulture Right
Altogether I had a nice day, abliet a hot one, taking in the sights of the southeast. Later in the evening I was pleased to get a quick look at one of Santa Rita's resident Elf Owls that nest in a telephone pole by the bird feeding area. Add to that, the air was full of the sound of various night birds, the most exciting one of which was the Mexican Whippoorwill. Ugh! Now I know I've heard them, I certainly wish I could find one to photograph, but will probably have to wait a year or ten, just like my first sighting of a Plain-capped Starthroat.

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