Friday, May 20, 2016

San Pedro River

After unplanned extra days in Ruidoso, NM dealing with a dental emergency, we are on the road again and in Sierra Vista, Arizona. For North American birders, Southeastern Arizona a favorite place to find rare birds. Many birds of Mexico follow rivers and mountains up into the US only in this area.

On our first morning we drove over to the San Pedro River National Conservation Area. The San Pedro River is a tree-lined oasis in the middle of dry desert, and attracts many birds and animals.

At the Visitor Center we watched the hummingbird feeders for a few minutes. The Gila Woodpeckers were taking a real interest in the feeders, even though they are most definitely not hummingbirds!
Gila Woodpecker - Not a Hummingbird!!
We took a trail down to the river, and followed the river for about a mile before returning. On the way down we spotted this Curve-billed Thrasher singing from the top of a blooming yucca.
Curve-billed Thrasher
It seemed like Vermilion Flycatchers were everywhere. We never thought we'd get to the point that we'd say "Oh, just another Vermilion Flycatcher", but we did!
Vermilion Flycatcher
The other red birds in the trees were Summer Tanagers.
Summer Tanager
As we walked along we heard a loud rustling in the grass and spotted a large lizard running up a tree. We watched this Clark's Spiny Lizard for several minutes as he did "push-ups" and inflated his throat sack to impress a nearby female. We never saw her but he knew she was there!
Clark's Spiny Lizard
This big fellow was about 6" long, which is pretty good sized for a lizard. It looked very blue from some angles, but not so much from others.
Clark's Spiny Lizard
In several areas we heard birds singing like mockingbirds. But we soon discovered that we were hearing Yellow-breasted Chats.
Yellow-breasted Chat
Our best bird of the day was found back at the Visitor Center. We'd have never seen it if the volunteer on duty hadn't told us where to look. How well camouflaged is this Western Screech-Owl?
Western Screech-Owl
Next we'll head into the nearby canyons in search of hummingbirds. So stay tuned...



  1. We always wanted to volunteer at San Bernadino and Leslie Canyon NWRs... never did get around to it. If you get over to Buenos Aires NWR there are some great hiking trails. Great bird photos!

  2. My Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, 2001, calls the Yellow-breasted Chat a "large and unusual wood-warbler." The 2013 Stephenson and Whittle says, "Previously categorized as a warbler, but very likely belong elsewhere taxonomically."

    1. They don't act much like warblers, that's for sure!

  3. I love reading your blog. I always learn so much. Beautiful pictures of birds. I hate visiting the dentist.

    1. Can't figure out why I am seeing double. Sorry. This has happened 3 times. Very frustrating. Sorry.

    2. I think it is a "Google" problem. Sometimes Teri's comments appear twice. Stinkin' computers!!!

    3. Yah, but you can't live without them, even though life was so much simpler then.

  4. I always forget about the San Padro I really need to get over there to check out the birds. I went to Madera a couple of weeks ago but not much going on there. But I will go back and keep checking

  5. This blog took us down memory lane. Great birding!!! We got the spotted owl in Shelite Canyon along with the Montezuma quail. FUN, fun fun!!!