This morning I was able to sleep in a bit because instead of my van leaving at 5 AM, it wasn’t scheduled to leave until 5:30. WOW. A whole extra 1/2 hour. And when I awoke, there was one hell of a storm here. Thunder, lightening, heavy rain. I did not come prepared for rain. No rain coat or anything. But I thought, What the hell. I’m going for it. So when I got over in the lobby, I noticed that no one else had rain gear either. I seems that the rain was very localized. Our trip this morning, was to Madera Canyon, in the Santa Rita Mountains. When we arrived, there was no rain clouds, the sun was shining, a beautiful morning. The main target bird for this trip was the Elegant Trogon. We drove up as far as we could to a parking lot (the was a short way past the Santa Rita Lodge. At this point, we drank some water and headed up the rocky, Carrie Nation Trail. Elegant Trogons are known to nest along this trail. We hiked up and up for over an hour without sight or sound of the trogon. We did see several Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, which was another life bird for me. Eventually, we started back down. We were about 2/3 of the way down when we heard a trogon fairly close to the trail. Everyone started looking around. Trogons don’t move around much. They just sit very still. Finally a young lad in our group spotted it. Everyone (there was about 12 of us) started scrambling to get a look. We stayed there watching it for about 45 minutes. Other hikers coming up the trail got to see it, too. Alicia Cavazos, a participant on this tour, digi-scoped this picture and shared it with me. Thank you, Alicia.
Once we got back to the van, we drove down to the Santa Rita Lodge. Click on this link to see their web-page. This place is nestled in the mountains and is wonderfully set up to allow visitors (and not just those guests staying at the lodge) to park their vehicles and sit in comfortable chairs to view the bird feeding area. There are numerous hummingbird feeders, platform feeders, tube feeders. It was amazing to watch this spectacle of bird feeding frenzy. We saw 7 species of hummingbirds, including two new life birds for me: The Plain-capped Starthroat and the White-eared Hummingbird. We finally left the lodge and headed back to our hotel. We pulled in about 12:30.
The festival is over. But I am going to stick around for a couple more days to see some of the places that I just haven’t had time to see yet. This evening, I drove out into the Saguaro National Park. This is basically just desert. I found a place to park the car and just stood there watching the day end as the sun set behind some mountains. It was wonderful. I scanned the desert with my binoculars hoping to spot an owl. I did see a Common Nighthawk and what I believe were a couple of Golden Eagles way off in the distance soaring above a mountain peak. It was magical being out there watching the day end and the night begin.