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Gavin Bieber on his recently completed tour, Arizona: Owls and Warblers

June 04: Gavin Bieber on his recently completed tour, Arizona: Owls and Warblers

Our trip coincided with the first hot week of the year, with temperatures hovering a few degrees above average and many migrant birds quickly heading north for more pleasant climes and their respective nesting territories.  Despite the low numbers of migrants it was a fine week, tallying an impressive 211 species.  Our avian highlights were many: residents such as an inquisitive Whiskered Screech Owl peering down from its roost site in a roadside sycamore, a Five-striped Sparrow lurking in California Gulch, or the incomparable Montezuma Quails spotted in Ash Canyon were just some examples. 

Summer breeders such as dazzling Red-faced Warblers and handsome Blue-throated Hummingbirds were busy setting up their territories, and not all the wintering birds had departed as we were treated to views of a lingering Lewis’s Woodpecker, and a female Williamson’s Sapsucker, and several wandering Red Crossbills. 

This was an excellent year for 'Mexican' species, and we found nesting Rose-throated Becards and bathing Rufous-backed Robins along the Santa Cruz River, and a very cooperative Slate-throated Redstart in the beautifully scenic Chiricahua Mountains. 

When you can combine a wide array of spectacular birds with a nice supporting cast of mammals and butterflies, all in wonderful desertscapes, it's hard not to have a truly excellent tour!

Posted: June 04, 2018