Spent a couple of nights in Madera Canyon. On Thu afternoon, hung out at the feeders at the Santa Rita Lodge for a while. Still a lot of hummingbird activity, had at least one BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD coming in amongst all of the more numerous RIVOLI’S as well as a couple of RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS willing to take on all comers. That night, walked up the creek to the amphitheater from the lodge. Heard a NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL just a ways upstream and then at the amphitheater, thought I heard the last two “gargled” notes of a MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL which seems awfully late? The bats were really active after dark at the lodge sugar feeders.
The next morning, I hiked the Josephine Loop, up the Old Baldy Trail to the saddle and then back down the Super Trail. Not much of note to comment on, other than the expected common resident species. The Super Trail was much less birdy, consistent with my previous experience, it being a bit more exposed and drier with its more western facing. I think the Carrie Nation Trail is generally more birdy than this entire loop and would opt for it as the one place to see the most birds and species in this drainage. As I was finishing up this loop, I heard a constant, low cooing, and didn’t recognize it as anything I had ever heard before? Spent some time trying to get on it, when I spied a female ELEGANT TROGON coming into view. It was not making the call. Then I noted a male ELEGANT TROGON apparently coming in to attend her, even quickly mounting her at one point. He was also not making the noise which continued all this time. At one point, I then saw them both fly towards the noise and a third bird appeared. I hadn’t seen Sally’s earlier posting but now think this is the family she reported. By my GPS, it was just less than one quarter miles from the Super Trail trailhead. The low cooing/begging continued the entire time, over a half hour of observation time. I tried to get a recording, and will try cleaning it up and posting it with my eBird results.
That night, I thought I would walk up the trail from the upper parking lot that follows the creek along the west side of the picnic area. Whoa, the first set of “bear-proof” trash containers were flipped open and all of the trash inside spread out upon the ground. Not something you want to see at the start of a solo night hike in the mountains. Now, I hate to be accused of profiling, just because he was huge and black, but I then ran into the perp just another 75 yds up the trail. He backed off a bit, but complained loudly and my courage to continue faded at this point, this was probably the heftiest black bear I have ever seen? Boy, I have run into bears over the years many times in these mountains with no problems at all until this summer, with my encounters of late with feisty bears clearly on the upswing. So, be careful up there.
The next morning, hiked up to Bog Springs along the dry forest trail. Birding was just so-so until you’re getting close to the springs themselves, where the habitat is really quite good. Nothing too remarkable here, several HERMIT THRUSHES, RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES, and a BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. Hiked down to a lot more human activity, given this weekend day.
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
- Richard Feynman