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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spectacular Sky Islands of Arizona featuring Red-faced Warbler

[Mt. Lemmon. April/May 2017]

What would the annals of American Birding be without reference to the spectacular birdlife of the Arizona Sky Islands? Like the crown jewels without the Kohinoor; or, the Himalayas without Everest, American Birding without the Sky Islands of Arizona would be a limp, colorless and insipid affair.

A Spring trip to Tucson and the surrounding area, proves why Mt. Lemmon should be on every birder's itinerary -- offering an unparalleled opportunity for observation of iconic species of the Sky Islands of the Southwest such as:

  • Red-faced Warbler
  • Audubon's Warbler
  • Acorn Woodpecker
  • Buff-breasted Flycatcher
  • Cassin's Finch
  • Grace's Warbler
  • Hermit Thrush
  • Pygmy Nuthatch
  • Pine Siskin
  • Plumbeous Vireo
  • Red Crossbill
  • Stellar's Jay
  • Summer Tanager
  • Western Bluebird
  • Yellow-eyed Junco
We start with the incomparable Red-faced Warbler:


The Red-faced Warbler is a warbler like no other -- a delicate grey with white undersides and a striking red face and black bonnet. 

Restricted to the Southwest, this beautiful warbler is not widespread but can be common in its limited range.  It was observed at Bear Wallow on Mt. Lemmon.


Audubon's Warbler, on the other hand, is a widespread warbler of the West:

Despite JJ Audubon's many contributions to the understanding of American birdlife, there are few birds named in his honor (unlike his contemporary, Alexander Wilson).

Acorn Woodpecker is one of our most unique woodpeckers:

In addition to its incredible memory, these gregarious birds are cooperative breeders.

Next, our most celebrated empid, Buff-breasted Flycatcher:

Also seen were, Cassin's Finch:

Grace's Warbler:

Hermit Thrush:

Pygmy Nuthatch:

Pine Siskin:

Plumbeous Vireo:

Red Crossbill:

Stellar's Jay:

And, in the lower regions of Molino Basin, Summer Tanager:

The best birding in this blogger's experience is at Rose Canyon, where this Western Bluebird was observed:

As well as Yellow-eyed Junco:

The American Birding experience cannot be considered complete unless it comprehends the Sky Islands of Arizona where a veritable avian cornucopia awaits discovery.


Bob Pelkey said...

You and your readers have been very well rewarded indeed, Hemant.

Digital Plume Hunter said...

I highly recommend a visit Bob!