SE Arizona – Day 5 (July 20): Tubac to Patagonia via Rio Rico

The plan for Day 5 had changed due to the events that had occurred earlier in the trip but it still kept the same Patagonia/Rio Rico theme.

Our morning started off again looking for the Rose-throated Becard at the De Anza Trail. Nice looks at Tropical Kingbird, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Summer Tanager, Yellow-breasted Chat and Lucy’s Warbler were had but we failed to turn up the becard, a bird that has now all but ceased as a breeder in Arizona and the US for that matter.

Yellow-breasted Chat

Moving along, we again tried Montosa Canyon for Black-capped Gnatcatcher, again putting in two hours and once again striking out. More movement and flitting was seen in the exact same tree as the day before but no Black-capped were ever glimpsed. It would constitute one of the most frustrating misses on the entire trip.

A Coatimundi crossing the road at Montosa Canyon

It was back to the De Anza Trail for the THIRD time we’d try for the becard, finally giving up on this one too. A small consolation was a nice, young Northern Goshawk that flew by as we departed the trail.

After our last stint at the De Anza it was decided to finally depart the area and begin moving along towards Patagonia and then Sierra Vista, thus beginning a new chapter of the trip.

Our first stop in the area were the flooded fields of Rio Rico and nearby ponds. Our highlights there included Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Green Heron, and “Mexican” Duck.

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks

Next was the Kino Springs Golf Course where a Ruddy Ground-Dove had been recently seen. No luck with the dove but we did enjoy nice views of Gray Hawk, Cliff Swallow and Cassin’s Kingbird.

After Kino Springs, we hit the famous Patagonia Roadside Rest Area. We were able to bag Thick-billed Kingbird fairly quickly and, although Rose-throated Becards no longer breed, we still spent the next while there watching the kingbird preen, then catch and eat a large insect before moving on.

Thick-billed Kingbird

Thick-billed Kingbird just after devouring a large insect (pretty scientific destription there!)

Our final stop of the day were the Paton’s Feeders in Patagonia. Although Marion Paton is no longer alive, her property remains open to birders thanks to the Tucson Audubon. We opted to spend the rest of our day there enjoying the hummingbird spectacle. And we were not disappointed. Five species of hummingbird were present while we were there including Broad-billed, Black-chinned, Rufous, Costa’s and the specialty bird of the Paton’s: Violet-crowned Hummingbird in which we noted 3 individuals.

At least one Gray Hawk was audible most of the time and one was, at one point seen passing over the yard. Other non-hummingbird highlights here included: Common Ground and Inca Doves, Gila Woodpecker, Phainopepla, Blue Grosbeak, Bronzed Cowbird and Hooded and Bullock’s Orioles.

Hummers mobbing the feeders at the Paton's - Violet-crowned on the right

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Violet-crowned again on the right with a Broad-billed (on the feeder) and a Black-chinned (in the air)

Costa's and Broad-billed Hummingbirds

Hooded Oriole

Just like the Hooded Oriole, this Gila Woodpecker also had a sweet tooth

It was an awesome way to end the day before moving on to Sierra Vista for the night.


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