Southeast Arizona
Sep 21-23, 2001
Sunny & Warm, 70-90 

A leisurely trip to SE AZ with Henry, Suzanne, Erika, Becky, Adriana, & Gaby to go camping and explore the beautiful area
56 species total (list follows at end page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Becky, Erika, Adriana, Gaby, & Suzanne 

We arrived at Coronado National Monument at the southern end of the Huachuca Mountains late on Friday afternoon.  We decided to hike up to the cave and explore it before setting up camp.  As we crossed a small stream we disturbed a roosting colony of Turkey Vultures, which flapped off with a great rush of wingbeats. 

The cave was mostly dry, but with interesting water-carved passageways, a big column, and a few other interesting formations.  As we exited the cave,  we watched several bats circling the entrance and a vociferous Canyon Wren which objected mightily to our presence.  


On the return trip from the cave we scared up a covey of Montezuma Quail and heard several Poorwills calling.  That night we camped out close to Overstreet Canyon, serenaded throughout the night by several owl species:  Elf, Northern Pygmy, and Flammulated.  Dinner was hot dogs, beans, and smores!

Banded rock rattlesnake
On Saturday morning Suzanne, Gaby, and I took a hike up the road into Overstreet Canyon.  Among the beautiful late summer wildflowers were Yellow-eyed Juncos & Chipping Sparrows, and this banded rock rattlesnake.

Several colorful grasshopper species were propagating.



After a breakfast of ham & eggs, we drove down the road to visit Happy Jack Cave.  This spiny lizard and centipede were the guardians of the opening, but we braved their presence to explore the cave.  While this cave had more formations than the Coronado Cave, it also had fewer side passages to explore. 

Spiny lizard

Suzanne and Gaby, with the cave entrance behind them

A large rockfall made it difficult to reach the farthest reaches, so we headed back to the entrance.

Curtains, pools, large & small stalagtites & stalagmites, and other formations were scattered from one end of the cave to the other.  


Paton's water fountain

At the Beatty Apiary, we enjoyed watching six varieties of hummingbirds visiting several dozen feeders.  Rufous and Black-chinned were the most numerous, but the most striking were the Blue-throated and Magnificent Hummingbirds.

After lunch we drove up to Scheelite Canyon in search of the Spotted Owl.  We hiked 3/4 mile up the canyon and spotted no owls, so we turned back.  Erika spied this fine kingsnake as we hiked out of the canyon.


Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake


Then, after all hope was lost, Suzanne found us the SPOTTED OWL!  It was sitting on a branch about two feet off the ground!  We all got excellent looks and even captured it on video tape.

As we drove out of the canyon, a Coues' white-tailed deer ambled across the road, stopping to look at us from the meadow. 


Sweetwater Ponds

On Sunday morning we stopped at Sweetwater Ponds in Tucson to check out the bird life there.  We found some waterfowl and a few migrating warblers, but nothing out of the ordinary, except for this huge spider, which provided lots of entertainment for the girls. 


Adriana & Gaby

# Species Name

Great Blue Heron

2 Ruddy Duck
3 Northern Shoveler
4 Cinnamon Teal
5 Mallard
6 American Coot
7 Common Moorhen
8 Killdeer
9 Turkey Vulture
10 Red-tailed Hawk
11 Swainson's Hawk
12 American Kestrel
13 Gambel's Quail
14 Montezuma's Quail
15 Mourning Dove
16 Common Ground-Dove
17 Rock Dove
18 Spotted Owl
19 Northern Pygmy-Owl
20 Elf Owl
21 Flammulated Owl
22 Common Poorwill
23 Anna's Hummingbird
24 Black-chinned Hummingbird
25 Costa's Hummingbird
26 Calliope Hummingbird
27 Blue-throated Hummingbird
28 Rufous Hummingbird
# Species Name
29 Magnificent Hummingbird
30 Northern Flicker
31 Strickland's Woodpecker
32 Cordilleran Flycatcher
33 Western Kingbird
34 Black Phoebe
35 Mexican Jay
36 Common Raven
37 Verdin
38 Canyon Wren
39 Marsh Wren
40 Cactus Wren
41 Swainson's Thrush
42 Loggerhead Shrike
43 Northern Mockingbird
44 Curve-billed Thrasher
45 European Starling
46 Orange-crowned Warbler
47 Wilson's Warbler
48 Great-tailed Grackle
49 Red-winged Blackbird
50 Yellow-headed Blackbird
51 House Sparrow
52 Abert's Towhee
53 Yellow-eyed Junco
54 Chipping Sparrow
55 Song Sparrow
56 Lesser Goldfinch


Photos Henry D. Detwiler