|The New Mexican desert east of Portal, AZ|
|Looking for Buff-breasted Flycatcher|
|A Female Phainopepla|
|Canyon Wren, mid-song|
We also got point-blank looks at a Painted Redstart at this spot, plus our first Golden-banded Skipper and Northern Cloudywings (butterflies) of the trip, as well as our only Striped Plateau Lizard. And on the way out we added two more birds: an energetic and fast-moving flock of tiny and long-tailed Bushtits, and a very cool (and unusual) Arizona Woodpecker, a very nice southeast Arizona specialty and one of the few woodpeckers that is brown, not black.
|Striped Plateau Lizard|
|Evidence of forest fires near Rose Canyon|
|The view from Aspen Vista|
|Banded Alder Borer|
On our last morning in the Santa Catalinas, we made another attempt at the Buff-breasted Flycatcher spot, but were not any more successful, and the bird remained elusive. We did spot an "Aububon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler, the western subspecies of the widespread species, which may be split into a full species soon, and also relocated Grace's and Olive Warblers.
We then packed up our tents and gear, and headed down the mountain, en route to the Chiricahuas, a trip that would take most of the day, with lots of stops. The first was at the Gordan Hirobayashi Campground, which has scrubby habitat with lots of agaves and yuccas. There were a few Rufous-crowned Sparrows, and we saw our first Rock Wren of the trip, a rather drab bird with a very long beak perched on a yucca stalk.
Our next stop was the eastern portion of Saguaro National Park, just outside Tuscon. This was a stop for desert birds, and there were once again plenty of the park's namesake cacti. Typical desert birds that we hadn't seen for a few days were Pyrrhuloxia, Gambel's Quail, Curve-billed Thrasher, Gila Woodpecker, and cactus-nesting Purple Martins. The sought-after Gilded Flicker did not appear, but as we were heading out we had a run of very good luck, and spotted three new birds in just a couple of minutes. The first, and my favorite, was a Greater Roadrunner, the bizzare large ground-cuckoo on which the cartoon is based. Roadrunners are really cool birds, and seeing this one, at very close range, was one of the highlights of the trip. To add to that, we found a Harris's Hawk on a telephone pole and a flock of tiny Black-tailed Gnatcatchers, and left the area with three new birds (plus some cool new butterflies, like Ceraunus Blue, American Snout, and Orange-barred Sulphur).
|Willcox Sewage Treatment Plant|
|A big flock of Avocets, Stilts, and Phalaropes|
|4 species- two avocets on the left, 6 phalaropes, a stilt in the back right, and a dowitcher in the middle|
|Western Box Turtle|
|Box Turtle poses for photos, post-rescue|
|The desert east of Portal|
|Our rooms at Cave Creek Ranch, underneath the walls of Cave Creek Canyon|
|Sunset over Cave Creek Canyon|