Monday, September 30, 2013

A Magnificence of Hummingbirds and Warblers in Southeast Arizona

[SE Arizona. Sept 2013]

Southeast Arizona is justifiably renowned for its hummingbirds. Hummers can be notoriously difficult to photograph; thus, while many more hummingbirds were seen, the ones that photographed well enough to submit to positive identification were relatively small:
  • Magnificent
  • Broad-billed
  • Anna's 
Also, a half-dozen species of warblers were seen in a couple of hotspots (Sweetwater Wetlands and Mt. Lemmon):
  • MacGillivray's
  • Townsend's
  • Hermit
  • Yellow
  • Painted Redstart
  • Audubon's
And the bonus birds of the Post include a Mexican Jay and a couple of raptors seen at the venues:
  • Cooper's
  • Red-tailed
First the hummers; these incredible birds that are helpless on their feet (capable only of perching) yet are masters in the air (the only bird that can fly "in reverse"):
Broad-billed Hummingbird (seen at Madera Canyon)

Broad-billed Hummingbird is an Arizona exclusive -- this Mexican hummer is a summer visitor to Southern Arizona.

If you think the Broad-billed is colorful, the next hummer, aptly named the "Magnificent" is a stunner:

Magnificent Hummingbird (sub-adult)


The Magnificent Hummingbird is named for its brilliance -- the male is striking with a purple crown, iridescent teal throat and black undersides.


Like other hummers, the Magnificent has to drink almost twice its weight in nectar every day.


The Magnificent is second in size only to the Blue-throated Hummingbird. Like the the Broad-billed, the only place to see this hummer is Southeast Arizona.


The final hummer is Anna's this (rather poor) photo was taken at Madera Canyon); unlike the other two, this common species ranges widely across the West Coast.

Not seen this time around, were the Costa's -- posting some earlier photographs of these fabulous hummingbirds:

Costa's Hummingbird



Over to the warblers; the first four were observed at Rose Canyon while the latter two were seen at Sweetwater Wetlands.


Audubon's Warbler was the drabbest looking; this warbler is presently lumped with Myrtle where they are considered two variants of the "Yellow Rumped".


Next was Hermit Warbler (above). It's bright yellow face contrasting strongly with its white belly and only shades of it black throat visible.


Still fully resplendent was this Painted Redstart:

Painted Redstart


This warbler is always a delight to observe in the field due its bold color scheme.


Also observed was this Townsend's Warbler:

Townsend's Warbler


This is one of two birds named after John Kirk Townsend.


Over at Sweetwater Wetlands, a yellow warbler was spied (above). However, the real treat was the MacGillivray's:

MacGillivray's Warbler was first described by Townsend but was named after the Scottish ornithologist William MacGillivray by Audubon.

Similar in habits and appearance to the Mourning Warbler, this species is restricted to the West. The key differences are the prominent white eye-arc's (and the lack of the black bib on the Mourning).

Finally, the Mexican Jay (above):

And, a Red-tailed hawk; keeping watch.

... plus the Cooper's Hawk:


Southeast Arizona is known as the Hummingbird Mecca of the US for good reason. And, as the pictures in this post attest, late Summer and early Fall can yield a bonanza of choice species including Magnificent Hummingbird and also migrating warblers.

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