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Birding Arizona and Sonora, Mexico

15–27 February 2005

I flew to Phoenix and enjoyed a wonderful visit with with Russ and Joyce Widner in Cave Creek. We birded that area for two days. Then Ann Johnson arrived from Iowa and we birded the Tucson area with Rich Hoyer. On 19 February, Russ, Ann, I, and Bob Cecil and Francis Moore (from Iowa) drove into Sonora, Mexico through Nogales. We enjoyed good accommodations, food, and travel adventures for eight days. The birding was a bit “underwhelming” as to numbers of species (~170), but we saw some great birds and a few lifers. We had to work for them, however!

Our itinerary was as follows:

Sat., 19 Feb: We stayed at Hotel Playa de Cortes on the Gulf of California below Guaymas where we birded estuaries and from the hotel shore, adding lots of shorebirds, gulls, etc. to our Mexico lists.

Sun., 20 Feb: Just north of Navojoa, we stayed at Motel El Rancho where we birded along a small stream. We drove south on Hwy 15 and birded a canal and near a pepper farm east of Juan de la Barrea and more estuaries just north of the Sonoran border at Agiabampo. Then we drove inland on Hwy 10 to Alamos.

Mon., 21 Feb: Casa Roberto in Alamos was our home for the first night. We birded roads and river arroyos around Alamos.

Tues.–Thurs., 22–24 Feb: For the next three nights, we stayed at the very lovely Rancho Acosta in Alamos. We birded Rio Cuchujaqui and other arroyos, roads, microwave tower roads, the Alamos dump, and other likely birdy spots. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Alamos including great street tacos and a gourmet dinner at La Aduana.

Fri., 25 Feb: After birding our way back to San Carlos, we stayed at the Creston Motel where we enjoyed more shore birding.

Sat., 26 Feb: From San Carlos, we headed back to Phoenix through Hermosillo on Hwy 15, and then followed the Rio Sonora on Hwys 17, 89, 2, and 80 to the Naco border crossing. The route is a beautiful hilly, high-desert landscape (~6,000 ft) cut by the Rio Sonora, with ever-changing flora. We had a delicious lunch specially prepared by the owner of the El Rodeo restaurant in the little town of Arizpe. We arrived in Naco only to learn that our Sonora-only car permit had to be turned in at Nogales! So that meant a trip back to Nogales and re-entry through that crossing.

Sun., 27 Feb: I spent the day with Russ and Joyce and their wonderful family, and enjoyed some more of their very special hospitality including their granddaughter's fifth birthday party! I flew back to Colorado in the evening.

Click on photo to enlarge.

 

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Canyon Towhee, 15 Feb, Cave Creek


Canyon Towhee, 15 Feb, Cave Creek


Bendire's Thrasher, 16 Feb, near Phoenix


Bendire's Thrasher, 16 Feb, near Phoenix


Bendire's Thrasher, 16 Feb, near Phoenix


Bendire's Thrasher, 16 Feb, near Phoenix


Burrowing Owl, 16 Feb, near Phoenix


Curve-billed Thrasher, 16 Feb., Cave Creek


Curve-billed Thrasher, 16 Feb, Cave Creek


Gambel's Quail, 16 Feb, Cave Creek


Gambel's Quail, 16 Feb, Cave Creek


Gila Woodpecker, 16 Feb, Cave Creek


Gila Woodpecker, 16 Feb, Cave Creek


Anna's Hummingbird, 17 Feb, Cave Creek


Ruddy Duck, 17 Feb, Sweetwater Marsh, Tucson


Ruby-throated Hummingbird, 17 Feb, Rich Hoyer's yard, Tucson


Lesser Goldfinch, 17 Feb, Rich Hoyer's yard, Tucson


Groove-billed Ani, 19 Feb, near Guaymas


Groove-billed Ani, 19 Feb, near Guaymas


Yellow-footed Gull, 19 Feb, estuary near Guaymas


Gray Hawk, 19 Feb, near Guaymas


Sunset over Gulf of California, from Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas, 19 Feb


Looking at Guaymas across bay from Hotel Playa de Cortes, 20 Feb


Long-billed Dowitcher at edge of swimming pool at Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas, 20 Feb


Brown Booby and Brown Pelican, 20 Feb, Gulf of California, Hotel Playa de Cortes, hear Guaymas


Brown Pelican, 20 Feb, Gulf of California, Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas


Brown Pelican, 20 Feb, Gulf of California, Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas


Common Loon, 20 Feb, Gulf of California, Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas


Unknown bird harassing Brown Pelican, 20 Feb, Gulf of California, Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas


Probable Heerman's Gull in center that was harassing Brown Pelican, 20 Feb, Gulf of California, Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas


Bougainvillia, 20 Feb, Hotel Playa de Cortes, near Guaymas
Spiny-tailed Iguana, 20 Feb, near Guaymas


Great Blue Heron, 20 Feb, near Guaymas


Loggerhead Shrike, 21 Feb, near Navojoa


Two of several Harris's Hawks hunting together, 21 Feb, near Juan de la Barrea


Two more of several Harris's Hawks hunting together, 21 Feb, near Juan de la Barrea


Harris's Hawk, 21 Feb, near Juan de la Barrea


Harris's Hawk, 21 Feb, near Juan de la Barrea


Rock Squirrel (Citellus variegatus), 21 Feb, near Juan de la Barrea


Black Skimmer, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Whimbrel, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


White Ibis, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Brown Pelican, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Heerman's Gull, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Ring-billed Gulls, Yellow-footed Gull, and White Ibis cleaning recently beached fishermen's boat, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Heerman's Gull and White Ibis cleaning recently beached fishermen's boat, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


More scavengers, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Ruddy Turnstone, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Roseate Spoonbills, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


Wilson's Plover, 21 Feb, Gulf of California, near Agiabampo


White-winged Dove, 22 Feb, along Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Gray Hawk, 22 Feb, along Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Tree Lizard, 22 Feb, along Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Elegant Trogan, 22 Feb, along Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Elegant Trogan looking skyward, 22 Feb, along Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Zebra-tailed Lizard, 22 Feb, along Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Mexican Parrotlets flew in to roost for the night, 22 Feb, Rancho Acosta, Alamos


Mexican Parrotlets nearly asleep, 22 Feb, Rancho Acosta, Alamos


Cypress vine (Iponea quamoclit) in dry bed of Arroyo El Mentidero, 23 Feb, near Alamos


Thorn scrub beneath rock formations along Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, 23 Feb, near Alamos


Bare-throated Tiger-Heron stretching to check us out, 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos




Birders Ann Johnson, Bob Cecil, Francis Moore, and Russ Widner (shooting the photographer!), 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Possible Nutting's Flycatcher (did not hear call), 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Silver Emperor male (Doxocopa laure), 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Giant Swallowtail, 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Vermillion Flycatcher, 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Bob overlooking the Rio Cuchujaqui, 23 Feb, near Alamos


Puddle party of butterflies, Cloudless Sulphurs (large) and Boisduvals Sulphurs (small), 23 Feb, Arroyo El Mentidero leading to Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Vermillion Flycatcher, 23 Feb, road near Alamos


Cedar Waxwings, 23 Feb, road near Alamos


Sinaloa Crow, 23 Feb, near Alamos


Turkey Vulture, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Eye spots on back of swiveled head of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Back view of barred tail of Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, 24 Feb, near Alamos


White-fronted Parrot in fig tree, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Small lizard, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Night Snake (Hypsiglena torquata deserticola) (1+ inch diameter) was under log, 24 Feb, near Alamos




Black-throated Magpie-Jays, 24 Feb, near Alamos


People mining rock on microwave tower road, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Rock quarry being mined on microwave tower road, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Kapok tree, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Young kapok tree, 24 Feb, near Alamos


Rancho Acosta, lovely accomodations, 24 Feb, Alamos


Black Vultures at Alamos dump, 25 Feb


Crested Caracara, 25 Feb, near Alamos


Arroyo Cuchujaqui wildlife habitat information, 25 Feb, near Alamos


Green Kingfisher, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Spotted Sandpiper, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Bridge over Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Northern Cardinal, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Bare-throated Tiger-Heron, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Black Phoebe, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Broad-billed Hummingbird, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Opuntia willcoxii, an arborescent prickly pear cactus of the area, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Hecho or cardon cactus (Pachycerus pectin-aboriginum), 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Shrine, 25 Feb, Rio Cuchujaqui, near Alamos


Killdeer, 26 Feb, wetlands near San Carlos


Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks, Blue-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, 26 Feb, wetlands near San Carlos


Western Sandpipers were numerous everywhere along the coast, 26 Feb, wetlands near San Carlos


Puddle ducks, 26 Feb, wetlands near San Carlos


Rio Sonora along Hwys 17 and 89 NE of Hermosillo, 26 Feb


Anna's Hummingbird, 27 Feb, Cave Creek


Saguaro cacti on hills beyond Widner's home, 27 Feb, Cave Creek


Verdin snitching nectar, 27 Feb, Cave Creek


Verdin, 27 Feb, Cave Creek


Verdin, 27 Feb, Cave Creek


Anna's Hummingbird, 27 Feb, Cave Creek

 

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