Cactus Wren at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum


Madera Canyon, Patagonia Lake, & the AZ-Sonora Desert Museum
11-13 June 2004, 65-95 degrees
Narrated by Henry Detwiler

Suzanne, Adriana, Gaby, and I spent a weekend at Madera Canyon to enjoy the birds & nature. 
species -- complete list at end of page

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

We left Yuma late Friday afternoon, ate a picnic dinner in the new park in Gila Bend, and rolled into Madera Canyon around 9:30pm.  Along Proctor Road we jumped out and heard the Buff-collared Nightjar's odd call.  On the way up the canyon we watched a Gray Fox amble across the road.  We got the key to our room, and after unpacking, I stepped out for a few minutes, snapping off a dim picture of an Elf Owl before it flew away.


Summer Tanager

Acorn Woodpecker

We got up early in the cool morning and headed uphill in search of the Flame-colored Tanager.  There were many beautiful birds to watch during our wait:  Hepatic & Summer Tanagers, Western Wood Pewees building nests, and Acorn Woodpeckers feeding young.  We finally heard it singing at the very top of a huge sycamore, and then it flew off and didn't return--Rats!

Back at the amphitheater parking lot we spotted the first of several Elegant Trogons for the weekend, apparently a young individual.  We drove to the upper parking lot, and then set off on foot.  Many birds were out and about, including Arizona Woodpecker, Bridled Titmice, vireos, and Painted Redstarts.


Elegant Trogon

Arizona Sisters


  Farther up the path I hiked along the creek, enjoying the flowers and multitudes of Arizona Sisters and swallowtails which were attracted to the pools of water.


Driving  over Box Canyon we added Cassin's Kingbird and soon ended up at the Roadside Rest south of Patagonia.  We missed the Becard, but added this Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Thick-billed Kingbird, and lots of Yellow Warblers.  

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

We spent most of Saturday afternoon swimming at Patagonia Lake State Park. That night after a fine steak dinner we made another successful stop at the nightjar spot, and then headed out owling.  After a while we made it back to the amphitheater parking lot, where we scored with several Whip-poor-wills and a pair of Whiskered Screech Owls.


Flame-colored Tanager in Madera Canyon

On Sunday morning we slept in a little, and then after a hearty breakfast I ventured back up the hill to the Madera Kubo B&B.  This time a small crowd of us got excellent views of a male, female, and fledgling Flame-colored Tanager.  As we watched the tanagers, we were interrupted by an American Robin chasing off and scolding a pair of Elegant Trogons!

Later the robin came back with food in its beak--it must have had a nest nearby.  I went back for Suzanne, and she also saw the tanagers.  Other fine birds in the canyon that morning included this Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher and all the other tanager species.

Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher

Varied Bunting in Florida Wash
Back at Proctor Road we searched for and found two Varied Buntings.  A surprise was the late morning calls of the Buff-collared Nightjar.  North of Florida Wash we saw several Botteri's Sparrows and in the wash itself another beautiful Varied Bunting.

Bobcat - Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

After a picnic lunch, we spent a couple of hours at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.  There are always a nice variety of wild birds in among the displays.  The prettiest by far was this Hooded Oriole.


Hooded Oriole

Black-tailed Prairie Dogs
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

These endangered Black-tailed Prairie Dogs were entertaining.  Close to the entrance of the park was the Cactus Wren that is pictured at the top of this page.
By mid-afternoon it had gotten really hot, so we headed back home to Yuma, thinking of cool nights and mornings in Madera Canyon.

Southeast Arizona, 11-13 June 2004
# Species
1 Neotropic Cormorant
2 Double-crested Cormorant
3 Great Blue Heron
4 Cattle Egret
5 Mallard
6 Cooper's Hawk
7 Swainson's Hawk
8 Red-tailed Hawk
9 American Kestrel
10 Gambel's Quail
11 American Coot
12 Turkey Vulture
13 Rock Pigeon
14 White-winged Dove
15 Mourning Dove
16 Inca Dove
17 Whiskered Screech Owl
18 Elf Owl
19 Lesser Nighthawk
20 Common Poorwill
21 Buff-collared Nightjar
22 Whip-poor-will
23 White-throated Swift
24 Magnificent Hummingbird
25 Broad-billed Hummingbird
26 Black-chinned Hummingbird
27 Elegant Trogon
28 Arizona Woodpecker
29 Acorn Woodpecker
30 Gila Woodpecker
31 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
32 Northern Flicker
33 Western Wood Pewee
34 Vermilion Flycatcher
35 Dusky-capped Flycatcher
36 Brown-crested Flycatcher
37 Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
38 Cassin's Kingbird
39 Thick-billed Kingbird
40 Loggerhead Shrike
41 Bell's Vireo
42 Plumbeous Vireo
43 Hutton's Vireo
# Species
44 Mexican Jay
45 Common Raven
46 Purple Martin
47 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
48 Cliff Swallow
49 Bridled Titmouse
50 Verdin
51 White-breasted Nuthatch
52 Cactus Wren
53 Canyon Wren
54 Bewick's Wren
55 Hermit Thrush
56 American Robin
57 Northern Mockingbird
58 Curve-billed Thrasher
59 European Starling
60 Phainopepla
61 Yellow Warbler
62 Yellow-breasted Chat
63 Black-throated Gray Warbler
64 Painted Redstart
65 Hepatic Tanager
66 Summer Tanager
67 Western Tanager
68 Flame-colored Tanager
69 Botteri's Sparrow
70 Spotted Towhee
71 Canyon Towhee
72 Rufous-crowned Sparrow
73 Black-throated Sparrow
74 Song Sparrow
75 Yellow-eyed Junco
76 Cardinal
77 Black-headed Grosbeak
78 Blue Grosbeak
79 Varied Bunting
80 Red-winged Blackbird
81 Western Meadowlark
82 Great-tailed Grackle
83 Brown-headed Cowbird
84 Hooded Oriole
85 House Finch
86 Lesser Goldfinch
87 House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler