September 1, 2020 Madera Canyon, Patagonia, AZ and Tombstone

On our first full day in Arizona, we visited two places where hummingbird and bird feeders are out to attract birds. I always feel like it's sort of cheating to obtain photos this way as even though the birds are "in the wild" they are in some way baited. However, as a photographer, it is always easier to get good photos of birds that come close to you. And certainly, none of these birds are tame.

If you haven't been to southeastern Arizona, you should know that it's one of the most biodiverse places in the U.S. It is also a major migratory route for many birds including hummingbirds. While we in CA have maybe four hummingbird species we see on occasion and only two species we see often, Arizona often gets up to nine species.

A target species and "find" of the day was probably the varied bunting we saw in Madera Canyon. A beautiful bird, I struggled anyway to get good photos as it continually perched on a tangle of dead branches on the ground or else in a tree a hundred yards away. Still, it was great to see this gorgeous bird.

Another target species was the plain-capped starthroat hummingbird that has been visiting a place called the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. The Center is currently closed but the feeders are visible from the road. Unfortunately, the starthroat rarely visited the feeders and when it did it was at the furthest from the road and we never saw it when it was perched elsewhere. As a photographer I do not like feeder shots but that's all I could get and it's such a poor photo I hated to put it up but it was great to add this species to my list and it was great to see the bird.

While waiting to see the starthroat, I prowled the area around the Center looking for insects and flowers. One of the most common insects in AZ is the giant mesquite bug and these are truly scary looking--at almost 2 inches long, they have a habit of gathering in large groups. I posted one I found although I saw several others.

FInally. we made it in to Tombstone, AZ. We don't normally go in for touristy places but Tombstone happened to be one of the closest towns to our stop for the following day--Rucker Canyon. Miles from anywhere Rucker Canyon was the location of the eared quetzals.

I managed to use my evening time at the Tombstone motel to search for insects and got a great variety hanging on the wall. There were several of these antlions, a genus that I don't see that often. Surprisingly, Tombstone seems to be a great place for wildlife as it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by great habitat.

Posted by naturephotosuze naturephotosuze, September 11, 2020 23:00

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Long-tailed Antlions (Tribe Brachynemurini)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

September 1, 2020 11:06 PM PDT

Description

Tombstone AZ
Survey of insects on wall of motel

Photos / Sounds

What

Giant Mesquite Bug (Thasus neocalifornicus)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

September 1, 2020 04:33 PM PDT

Description

Patagonia, AZ

Photos / Sounds

What

Plain-capped Starthroat (Heliomaster constantii)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

September 1, 2020 05:08 PM PDT

Description

Patagonia, AZ
About as poor a photo as I can post--but it's all I could get

Photos / Sounds

What

Varied Bunting (Passerina versicolor)

Observer

naturephotosuze

Date

September 1, 2020 11:34 AM PDT

Description

Madera Canyon

Comments

I'm thoroughly enjoying armchair traveling with you on this trip, thanks so much for sharing :)

Posted by scubabruin over 1 year ago (Flag)

I've never gotten out to southern Arizona, this is just a little more incentive to do so. Would love to find one of those giant mesquite bugs! Thanks for posting.

Posted by ectothermist over 1 year ago (Flag)

Thanks Laura! And thank you @quidestforas! We have been there now three times and there is always something new to discover. One thing to remember is that the best time to visit for seeing most species is in August and September. While it is hot, much of southeast Arizona is at elevation and reptiles and insects as well as hummingbirds are most apt to be seen during this time due to migration and the monsoonal rains (though this year, the rains have been very sparse.)

Posted by naturephotosuze over 1 year ago (Flag)

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