Birding Madera Canyon Arizona

In early April we traveled to SE Arizona (SE of Tucson) to Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains.  This is one of the “mountain islands” ( higher elevation areas than the surrounding desert) where species from the Sierra Madera Occidental of Mexico range northward into the U.S.

 

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Broad-billed Hummingbird

You can stay at  the 5000 ft elevation Santa Rita Lodge, which caters to birders, with lots of hummingbird  and other feeders to attract birds from the surrounding wilderness or Madera Kubo Bed and Breakfast just up the road. Both are reasonably priced and comfortable spots to spot some of the birds including the Elf Owl, Northern Pygmy Owl, the Elegant Trogon, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Lucifer Hummingbird, Blue-throated Hummingbird, and 10 more Hummingbirds (mostly Summer). You can hike the canyon woodlands for many miles or hang around your motel and see many birds in your own “backyard”. Many rare birds show up during the late Winter and Spring migration. It is cooler here than Tucson in the Spring and Summer and can snow in the Winter.

Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon

We used a guide- Laurens Halsey of Desert Harrier Birding and Nature  Guides http://www.desertharrier.com/ who was very knowledgeable and helped us find the Elegant Trogon and many other difficult to find rare birds. If you have limited time an expert who knows the local area can save you time and enable you to find and photograph birds that you might not find on your own.

 

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

 

Vermillion Flycatcher

Vermillion Flycatcher

We saw this Vermillion Flycatcher at Lake Patagonia ( about 1 hr drive from Madera Canyon)

 

Chased by a Skunk

Chased by a Skunk

When we hiked at the lower elevation of Madera Canyon road we were chased by this skunk for at least 1/4 mile all the way back to our car. I guess it didn’t like being photographed! He would not give up, and it was both comical and dangerous;  as it might have been rabid. Skunks normally can spray if you corner one but aggressively chasing people is not typical behavior