We started at Upper Picnic Area in Garden Canyon, where practically our first bird of the day was a lovely SULPHUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER sunning itself and preening on a snag. A stunningly bright male HEPATIC TANAGER delighted, too.
Just as we were preparing to leave, we heard an ELEGANT TROGON or two calling. In our attempts to track them down for a visual, we came up empty-handed but instead discovered a PLUMBEOUS VIREO singing from a nest, and a pair of HUTTON'S VIREOS building a nest (about 30 feet away from the Plumbeous).
We then made our way up to Sawmill Canyon, where several BUFF-BREASTED FLYCATCHERS awaited us. One called from the parking area; one was calling and seen up the old road starting behind the outhouses; and one or two more called and flew overhead as we walked up the main gated road to the left. An extremely cooperative RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW often perched only 10 feet away from the group, allowing for killer looks and photos. Best of all, we tracked down a calling ELEGANT TROGON and discovered a nest! Mark Sharon captured some amazing photos of the male at the nest entrance, which he has generously contributed for viewing by the general public:
We topped off our breeding activity discoveries when I stumbled upon a YELLOW-EYED JUNCO nest about 1.5 feet from the road under a big tuft of grass. I felt bad even though I had flushed the incubating adult by complete accident, but the 4 whitish eggs looked like they were doing quite well... GRACE'S WARBLERS finally became accommodating as we worked our way back to the cars.
Scheelite Canyon was our last stop. Although we didn't see the famous Spotted Owls, we enjoyed stellar close-up looks at CANYON WREN, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER, glimpsed ARIZONA WOODPECKER, PAINTED REDSTART, a calling adult GOLDEN EAGLE, and heard yet another ELEGANT TROGON about 3/4 mile up the drainage.
Full list and more pictures by Mark Sharon below. Hopefully our most enthusiastic participant, Jules Wyman, will help me out if I've missed anything in this list!
(ALL pictures seen in this post were generously provided by Tucson Audubon trip participant Mark Sharon.)
Buff-breasted Flycatcher, a much sought-after AZ specialty:
Western Wood-Pewee, at a high angle for comparison:
Plumbeous Vireo nest discovered at Upper Picnic Area in Garden Canyon:
Hutton's Vireo nest discovered at Upper Picnic Area in Garden Canyon:
Very cooperative Rufous-crowned Sparrow! Almost certainly this bird had a nest nearby, but didn't seem terribly concerned with our presence:
Beautiful male Hepatic Tanager:
Grace's Warblers are often very difficult to see because they forage and sing high in the canopy of pine trees, but this one came down to give us a personal show:
Dusky-capped Flycatcher, unfortunately only seen by a few folks:
Scheelilte Canyon is a great place to see Canyon Wren, as you can tell from this photo:
Total group list, not all birds seen by all birders, 47 species:
Hairy Woodpecker (heard only)
Cordilleran Flycatcher (heard only)
Pygmy Nuthatch (heard only)
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Spotted Towhee (heard only)
Scott's Oriole (heard only)
Bullock's Oriole (fly-by)