Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Monday, July 12, 2010

One of Those Days

We breakfasted in the motel (not too bad!) and headed east for the Santa Rita experimental station near Florida Wash.  There has been a pair of Black-capped Gnatcatchers there, but there have beenn no recent reports.  But, we thought we'd give it a try....just in case.  We worked the area where they had been seen with no luck.  However, we did get a couple of Northern Beardless Tyrranulets which John needed as a catch-up bird.  Over the Greaterville Road to the Empire Ranch which has a nature trail along a marshy watercourse (La Cienaga).  We walked the area, noting that they were helping to raise the endemic, endangered Chihuahuan Leopard Frog in some enclosed ponds.  The watercourse has some impressive cottonwoods.  John spotted a large dark bird soaring over them that looked like a Turkey Vulture; it turned out to be our target, a Zone-tailed Hawk.  These birds mimic Turkey Vultures by flying with a noticeable dihedral and even tipping from side to side.  To make sure you have a hawk, you need to check for a banded tail.  The bands were there and we had bird #672.  From there we headed southeast to the Huachucas where we pointed the car up the steep gravel road along Carr Canyon.  This road gets you up to some beautiful scenery and into the pines where we would have a chance for the warblers we still needed.  However, we didn't find any warblers so decided to come back down and visit Tom Beatty's B&B in Miller Canyon where a bunch of hummingbird feeders are set up.  We parked, paid our entrance fee, and hiked up to the private viewing area where we sat and watched.  After about 20 minutes the male White-eared Hummingbird appeared (photo, #673).  There also was a beautiful male Berylline Hummingbird that did look like the picture in the fieldguide.  Continuing our string of Huachuca canyons we next went to Ash Canyon B&B run by Mary Jo Ballator.  I hadn't heard of this place until Chris, a birder from Chapel Hill who is doing a lower 48 big year, told me about it when I last saw him Florida in April.  It is best known for having reliable Lucifer Hummingbirds, removing the mandate to see them in Big Bend NP.  After finding the B&B wasn't on Ash Canyon Road, we did find the place by looking on the internet (MiFi pays off).  We paid our entry fee and settled in for the watch.  Although we were told that late afternoon was the best time to see the Lucifers, we didn't.  We spent over two hours with no luck.  I was dejected, and decided that we would go to a nice restaurant and celebrate John's birthday.  We did and it was worth it.  Went to bed a bit early without posting a blog.  Sorry, but...well you know.  Sometimes even I need some extra rest.

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