Tuesday, November 6, 2012

More Desert Life

Connie and I also drove down to the infamous Madera Canyon on our forced/extended trip to Arizona last week.  We have been to this magical place twice before,  most recently with Lori and Tara (see this post for details).  That trip was awesome. It was also in April.  This trip was the end of October.  It is a totally different place.  Much more desolate.  Devoid of most birds.  I did however, get 4 life birds on the trip because I concentrated on sparrows and ground birds rather than warblers.

This first photo shows 2 birds.  We originally thought it might be an adult and a juvenile Black-throated Sparrow. But once we looked it up, we realized that the bird on the left is Rufous-winged Sparrow which is very rare in the US.  In fact, the range map on the page shows it only creeping up into Arizona about as far as Madera Canyon. We were quite lucky to see it.  We saw 3 of them total.  The Black-throated Sparrows were all over the place.  These are handsome little birds.

Rufous-winged Sparrow left, Black-throated (right)
 The next interesting bird that we saw was the Phainopepla.  I'm not kidding.  That is the name of the bird. Not the Latin name, the name.  This bird is jet black with a puffy crest and bright red eye.  I think I captured that in the photo below.  They are definitely desert birds.  I can't figure out why they would be black when they live in the desert.  That seems like it would be really hot.

 We hiked out of the picnic area at Madera Canyon down to the little creek to see if we could find some other birds.  I caught movement across the creek and saw this guy scrambling down the rocks.  It is a Coutimundi which is like a long tailed Racoon.  He wasn't afraid of us. He just looked at us and kept coming closer to the creek.  Next thing you know, we are running up the path back to the car!  We also saw a Bobcat later in the trip, but that didn't seem to scare us as much as this guy.  The Bobcat scampered away from us as soon as he saw us.

Further up the canyon, woodpeckers stole the show.  I had 4 species that posed for me.

Acorn Woodpecker

Arizona Woodpecker

Ladderback Woodpecker

Red-naped Sapsucker
 If you haven't been to Madera Canyon, you must go. It is a little slice of awesomeness. Even in October when I was the only person on most of the trails and parking lots, I got to see alot of wildlife.  I even got Hepatic Tanager and Painted Redstart. 

1 comment:

JM said...

Nice shot of the sparrows. The coatimundi is very cool too! Glad your trip was a success.