Sunday, October 25, 2015

Travels from New Mexico to California

A road trip to Northern California provided us with some great places to stop and explore on the way. Our route took us through Sierra Vista, Amado, and Tucson, Arizona. We then ventured into California on I-10 to I-5 (missing the mudslides on I-5 by 1 day!!!!) heading north to the San Francisco Bay Area. The following provides a glimpse of the places we stopped along the way. We hope you enjoy the wildlife and scenery we experienced:-)

While in Sierra Vista we visited the following places:
Patagonia Lake State Park

Willow Flycatcher
Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet
Rufous-winged Sparrow

Silver-bellied Cicada

Summer Tanager migrating south

We think this is a Gray Flycatcher. It was pumping its tail downward as it flew to the ground to pick up insects. It also has the characteristic dark tip on the lower mandible. What confused us was the buffy nature of the wing bars.

Paton's Center for Hummingbirds
Young male Broad-billed Hummingbird

Adult male Broad-billed Hummingbird

We had a beautiful hike up Ramsey Canyon
Red-breasted Nuthatch

The Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake is known to be a shy species that usually lies undetected in the leaf litter. We were lucky to see it basking in the sun.

Bob spied this Red-naped Sapsucker eating the Madrone berries. The Red-naped Sapsucker makes sap wells in trees for later sipping. They are reported to sometimes eat insects that are attracted to the sap. We had never seen one eating berries?

Hunter Canyon
This Black-tailed Rattlesnake did not want to share the trail....we waited for a few minutes thinking it would move along...eventually Bob encouraged it by giving it a gentle nudge with a LONG stick:-)

Here is a Red-naped Sapsucker working on creating a sap well

This curious Rufous-capped Warbler poked its head out to see who was coming:-)

A Greater Pewee was taking a bath and later drying on this branch

The Slate-throated Redstart was hiding down in a berry bush along the stream

Then a pair of Rufous-capped Warblers came out to pose

As we worked our way west we detoured to Amado, south of Tucson to check out the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (BANWR)  as a potential place to volunteer next spring. It is a beautiful grassland refuge that was created to reintroduce the Masked Bobwhite. The refuge was full of life; they have received 22" of rain during the monsoon season this summer!

We visited BANWR's Arivaca Cienega a few times... 

Say's Phoebe

Orange-crowned Warbler

We think this was an immature Gray Flycatcher, if you look closely you can still see the gape and a dark tip on the lower mandible.

We saw this Barn Owl as we were driving into the Headquarters.

Vesper Sparrow

Immature Gray Hawk

We came upon two species of orioles traveling together at Arivaca Cienega. An immature Bullock's and male adult Hooded Orioles can be seen together in the photo below.

Immature male Bullock's Oriole

Adult male Hooded Oriole

Rufous-winged Sparrow

Wandering Glider Dragonfly


Male Lesser Goldfinch

See the Ladder-backed Woodpecker below. The books indicate they typically forage on insects and anthropoids by gleaning, probing, prying and tapping; only occasionally excavating. The photo below captures the "occasional excavation" :-)

Salt Marsh Moth Caterpillar

We also stopped at the Tumacacori National Historic Park on the Santa Cruz River in Tubac, Arizona. It is one of the last stretches of the river that flows year-round. The river continues north and is drained dry by agriculture and urban developments.

Female or immature Broad-billed Hummingbird

Male Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

Adult male Black-throated Gray Warbler- we had a large number of these warblers migrating through along the river.
Palmer's Metalmark Butterfly

Female Hepatic Tanager

Florida Canyon in Green Valley, Arizona is located just north of Madera Canyon, which is a few miles north of Amado.

This Golden Eagle was hunting above the canyon as we started up:-)

Adult male Townsend's Warbler migrating through

Long-horned Beetle

Fiery Skipper

Jumping Spider

Tooth-necked Longhorn Beetle
Immature Cedar Waxwing

While in Tucson  we stopped to have some work down on our fifth-wheel and took a trip to the Desert Museum: it is a very special place!

This male Northern Cardinal greeted us

Cactus Wrens were around every corner

Thick-billed Parrots are now extinct in the U.S.. An attempt to re-introduce them into the Chiricahua Mountains was made but unfortunately was not successful.

A Rock Squirrel with cheeks full...

Mountain Lion 

Black Bear

The Mexican Gray Wolf appeared to be about the same size as a small coyote

Its all about the smells:-)

Talk about smells.....Striped Skunks come with a caution- they can spray upto 20' away!

Harris's Antelope Squirrel

Northern Leopard Frog

Regal Horned Lizard


Gray Fox

Milkweed Butterfly

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly

Hummingbird Aviary
Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Anna's Hummingbirds can have many appearances due to variations in age and sex
Female or immature Anna's because they both have the spot on the throat
Male immature Anna's

Immature or female Costa's Hummingbird

Male Costa's Hummingbird

The desert race of Big Horn Sheep

White-nosed Coati

Inca Dove

California has been experiencing a severe draught the last few years. The national wildlife refuges are feeling the pain. There was some water but just a fraction of what we had seen in previous years.

Merced National Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, California
Long-billed Dowitchers come in by the hundreds to winter here

Black-necked Stilt

Savannah Sparrow

Hermit Thrush

Sooty subspecies of Fox Sparrow

Golden-crowned Sparrows (like most sparrows) love to bathe

This appears to be the Alaskan subspecies of Song Sparrow, known as maxima

Wilson's Snipe

Female and male Gadwall

American Wigeon

Least Sandpiper

Immature Black-crowned Night-Heron

White-faced Ibis coming into feed

Sandhill Cranes returning in the afternoon after their morning feed

A rare glance at a swimming Sora:-)

American Pipit in winter plumage

The Greater White-fronted Geese are starting to arrive for the winter. This goose seems to have an issue with this Sandhill Crane
This Greater Yellowlegs is on the hunt
White-crowned Sparrows are arriving for the can hear them singing everywhere

 San Luis National Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos, California

Sandhill Crane

The World is Full of Beauty & Wonder,

Turtle & Hawk

1 comment:

  1. So glad you safely escaped the mudslides! AND the snakes on the trails! Your birding along the way was wonderful -- you hit our favorite spots in Sierra Vista. We always enjoy the Desert Museum in Tucson, too. Your photo of the Rufous-capped Warbler is terrific -- I would love to see one of those in person!