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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Madera Canyon Delights: Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Blue Grosbeak

[Madera Canyon, SEAZ. August 2016]

Just as Black-whiskered Vireo, Snail Kite and Mangrove Cuckoo are synonymous with South Florida, so is SE Arizona the best venue in the country for Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and Broad-billed Hummingbird -- all species that we shall savor in this post thanks to a late summer trip to the Tucson area.

South of Tucson, the fabled hotspot that is Madera Canyon, serves as a veritable avian pilgrimage site for birders and nature-lovers alike. And here, this blogger (armed with his travel camera kit) was able to observe the following delightful species which in many respects typify SEAZ: 

  • Elegant Trogon
  • Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
  • Blue Grosbeak
  • Broad-billed Hummingbird
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • Mexican Jay
  • Bridled Titmouse
  • Painted Redstart
  • Montezuma Quail
  • Acorn Woodpecker
  • Red-tailed Hawk 
We start with the Trogon:

This stunning female was seen in the upper reaches of the canyon; a little lower on the trail where a resplendent male was seen two years ago.
A characteristic "squeaky toy" call betrays the presence of an imposing flycatcher:

This large, noisy and flamboyant tyrant flycatcher is a specialty species of the area.

Further down toward the Proctor Rd area, grasslands and shrubs about abound and this is perfect habitat for sparrows as well as Blue Grosbeak:

Blue Grosbeak is a widespread species -- breeding as far north as Ohio; however, the next species is exclusive to Arizona:

The peacock-hued Broad-billed Hummingbird:

Much more widespread is Black-chinned Hummingbird:

Raucous Mexican Jays are also ubiquitous at this venue:

Of all American titmice, the Bridled Titmouse has the most distinctive facial markings and is unique to SEAZ in the country:

Painted Redstart is a resident breeder in this area:

After a serendipitous encounter with Montezuma Quail in Spring, this blogger was not expecting to run into it again; but, an obscured yet certain sighting did indeed occur:

Other species included Acorn Woodpecker:

Red-tailed Hawk:

And, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (in a frightfully poor image):

Birders may scour the length and breadth of this country furiously checking off species after species but to see Elegant Trogon, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and other specialty species, the intrepid birder will discover that there is no place better than Madera Canyon in SE Arizona.

1 comment:

Bob Pelkey said...

Your reports from SEAZ have always made the environment particularly inviting, Hemant. I regret it will remain out of my reach for a while longer. I hope you subscribe to the birding magazine (either Birds or Bird Watching, I can't remember which one) that had a story recently telling of the writer's remarkable encounter with an Elegant Trogon. Your link to Friends of Madera Canyon, and then via another link within it, offered a very interesting Summer bird sighting report as well.