Thursday, January 12, 2012

Birding Southeast Arizona

After spending a great 5 weeks in Tucson, we are on to more birds and wildlife in Southeast Arizona.  Our last outing was to the heights of Mt. Lemmon where we were amazed at the rock formations as these pictured on the left.  As we climbed higher we came to the snow, just in case we missed winter.  We ended the year with 477 species of birds, now we are starting over with our 2012 list plus adding to our trip list.  Species of note on the summit were large numbers of Pygmy Nuthatches, Yellow-eyed Juncos, Mountain Chickadees, Stellar's Jays, and Pine Siskins.

What is most interesting in traveling the road from the Tucson valley floor at 2,500 feet above sea level to the 9,100 foot summit in a distance of 25 miles is the definitive life-zone transitions.  Saguaros cut off at exactly 4,000 feet, giving way to cedars and finally the large pine forest of the summit. Each zone has its complement of birds and wildlife.

We spent 2 days at Madera Canyon hiking the trails and locating the Arizona Woodpecker, Bridled Titmouse, Mexican Jays, Hutton's Vireo, Olive Warbler, Townsend's Solitaire, Dusky Flycatcher, and the most rare for Arizona - an Olive Sparrow.

We traveled on to Patagonia Lake State Park and walked the creek pictured to the right.  Here we added Plumbeous & Cassion's Vireos, Lark Sparrows, Ash-throated & Gray Flycatchers, Green-tailed Towhees, Mountain & Western Bluebirds plus 75 more species in 2 days.  Here we also found deer and Jack Rabbits.

We made several stops along the Huachuca  Mountains and are now in the historical mining town of Bisbee.
Wishing you all the best in the new year.  Ty & Ida

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