|Gray Hawk monitors area|
|Camouflage and possible nesting site.|
I continue to counter the crowds by understanding their routine lives. I visit places that most people overlook. There's a lot of back road trails around the Catalina area that have several lovely riparian areas.
|Not distance in the trail between me and my subjects! Social distancing is a serious matter.|
The best birding right now in Arizona is along our riparian areas as birds migrate through these wet and shaded corridors. If you're a rarity hunter, this is the place to be. Our first stop is the incredibly beautiful riparian area known as Cienega Creek Natural Preserve outside of Tucson. You need a permit for this location, but it's easy and free! Just go online and follow the instructions. I was interested in this corridor for migrating warblers and nesting hawks.
|The Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler|
I am always intrigued by this time of year because wintering and summer warblers overlap. There are the chipping Yellow-rumped Warblers in their gorgeous breeding plumage mixed with our other regular wintering warbler, the Orange-crowned Warbler. A regular warbler that breeds in the higher elevations of Arizona but pass through these areas on the way up to places like Mt. Lemmon, the Black-throated Gray Warbler, can also be found here in smaller numbers. So often, those are the "chips" you will hear in the riparian corridors. The challenging part is figuring out which chip is made by these warblers.
|Black-throated Gray Warbler|
And while all these warblers are chipping or singing, there are a million other birds making their various calls. My ears are good. Often I stand in one spot and just enter in the data. I don't have to see many of these birds as I have seen them often. But some, I like to see over and over again..... Yes, I have my favorites:)
I'm not a huge fan of vireos and it has been a vireo week! We had Cassin's and Plumbeous Vireos which have somewhat similar calls. We had a Warbling Vireo at the creek. AND the MOST common vireo is my FAVORITE one, the Bell's Vireo. Their "watchee wichahhh" call also makes me laugh. It's a small vireo with a loud voice and a huge personality. Here's your yearly photo of a Bell's Vireo. I cannot tell you how much I love these little vireos.
|The smallest flycatcher with the biggest personality, the Northern Beardless Tyrannulet|
|A Gray Hawk flies over our heads|
|Zone-tailed Hawks "flirt" as they ride the thermals over the creek|
Madera Canyon at the right time of day is a delight. At 4 PM, a lot of the annoying people have to go home and "eat" and do whatever they do at night. I arrived as the canyon was emptying out. And I had the whole place to myself. My mission? I don't know. Just get out of the house and enjoy being outdoors. This quarantine can be too much! Thankfully there's plenty of areas where I can go to avoid the crowds.
In less than a minute, I watched her swirl down from out of nowhere to join him.
She flew right in front of me. Ravens are absolutely gorgeous. Look at the detail of that plumage! I imagine, if I were a designer, how I'd incorporate such intricate patterns into one dress. This Common Raven has 7 or 8 different feather patterns! Incredibly beautiful bird.
|I hear the dry "whit" of the Ash-throated Flycatcher hiding on a limb|
The canyon was so lovely that I stayed until the evening just to listen for Whiskered Screech-Owls and Elf Owls. And it didn't disappoint. I also hung out with the owner from the Santa Rita Lodge for awhile chatting with him about his business in this time of cancellations. He's hoping the loans will help him out. I'm hoping he got through that mess. Apparently it wasn't as easy as the US government made it out to be. Again, a bunch of liars. Every single one of them.
|Coue's Whitetail Deer|