Sunday, September 23, 2012

Southeast Arizona

Liam and I love Southeast AZ!  We got there about 3 weeks later than we wanted to and paid for it by missing Elegant Trogon and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher.  We have seen them in the past but not this year of course!  When we got to Tucson we drove straight down to Ash Canyon Bed & Breakfast.  If you want the best variety of hummingbirds in one spot, this is the place to go.  It is hard to say that one thing about Southeast AZ is the best but Ash Canyon B&B hummingbirds could be it.  And the owner Mary Jo is always so nice to us.  If you visit please put as much as you can in the "sugar fund" because it is needed and this place is worth it!  For someone who wanted to get away from it all in a remote canyon in AZ, to open up her home and give all her time to birders and hummingbirds is an amazing thing.  We were rewarded with Plain-capped Starthroat when we were there!  Also Lucifer, Magnificent, Rufous, Broad-billed etc...!!
After a few hours we headed back to Tucson instead of Madera Canyon for the night because our luggage didn't make it.  Long story short.  We wasted good birding time driving back and forth to the airport to find luggage for 2 days.  Our first trip up Old Baldy trail in Madera Canyon was very quiet and bird free.  We did manage to find a Townsend's Warbler and an Olive Warbler but that was about it.  That night we camped in the Bog Springs campground in our dirty underwear.  We made Jiffy Pop on the fire and had fun looking at the stars.   We drove down the canyon road to see if we could find any snakes or owls and got a Barn Owl! At 3am I went out to potty and was greeted by a Hognose Skunk!  I think I would have been less frightened by a bear!

The next day we went up again.  Just above the favorite Trogon spot, Liam was trying to catch a lizard and I was shaking a dead tree limb.  A minute later I was swatting at some big hornets in my hair and spinning like a dervish.  I had made my way about 20 yards down the trail and Liam pointed out that it was because I was shaking the tree.  There was a swarm of them on the end of the hollow log I had just had my hand on and they were between me and Liam.  He started to get nervous and I told him just to run quickly around and down to me and they wouldn't catch him.  I was wrong and he let out a loud frightened whine as he ran past to me.  He had 3 stings on his shoulder and I was officially the worst dad in the world.  Luckily they weren't that bad and it didn't force us off the trail.  On the way down we went into the trees closer to the creek and found some birds!  A bunch of Painted Redstarts, White-breasted Nuthatch, Brown Creeper and a Hermit Warbler and Hermit Thrush.
Our last night we stayed in the Santa Rita Lodge and it was so peaceful and relaxing.  The next morning was our last.  While Liam was in the shower and I was putting socks on I heard some crashing through the branches out our back window.  I looked out and saw a Coatimundi!  I told Liam and he hurried out of the casita with me dripping wet to get a better look.  That morning we also saw a big gopher snake and a Greater Roadrunner!  It was a fun morning and a great way to end the trip!

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