Date: 7/12/18 5:51 am
From: Tim Helentjaris <tnhelentjaris...>
Subject: Re: [AZNMbirds] Florida and Box Canyons
After getting Caleb’s comments and from others, I am concerned that we may have lost this species from this site, much like French Joe Canyon years ago. At this point, it seems that the birds in Hunter Canyon may be the only active residents left in this country, although the paucity of folks making their way up into Lower Humboldt Canyon in the Patagonia Mts makes it hard to evaluate current activity at that site. The active mining operations nearby don’t bode well for it either, not to mention the long-term occupation of that same site by Mexican Spotted Owls. This species feels very much like “pioneers” at the fringe of their normal range and vulnerable to winking in and out of existence, akin to the previous becards at the Patagonia Roadside Rest. In contrast, some species like Five-striped Sparrows and Black-capped Gnatcatchers seem much more stable in their outposts, establishing mini-colonies of breeders that seem to weather up-and-down years. Must be some inherent aspect of the life history of all of these species that first pushes them to wander and then to determine the stability of those outposts.

Just asking folks to keep their eyes out that the RcWa’s might not actually be gone but just moved higher in the canyon, maybe they will return in the winter, but I suspect not. I guess it also adds more fuel to the argument that us residents here need to make greater efforts to explore more under-birded areas in our area of the state to find more Box Canyon FsSp’s or Brown Canyon BcNi’s. There’s a lot more un-explored country out there, who knows how many more Pine Flycatchers and the like we might find?

Tim Helentjaris
Tucson, AZ

“There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.”
- Rod Serling




On Jul 11, 2018, at 12:18 PM, Tim Helentjaris <tnhelentjaris...><mailto:<tnhelentjaris...>> wrote:

This morning, decided to do a little pre-Festival scouting and headed down to Florida Canyon to see if I could re-find the Rufous-capped Warblers that have not been reported there since April. So, I put in a lot of time and effort, up the canyon past where they have been reported in the past and had no luck at all? Disappointing, spent a lot of time running down chips, listening closely to a lot of singing down there early this morning, even a little active playback, and I was surprised I wasn’t able to relocate them? Perhaps they have moved even further up-canyon? Was a birdy morning down there and I ended up with a pretty good list, just not the main target I was hoping for. Picked up a number of the expected species for the narrow drainage with its vegetation of willows, oaks, etc.: NORTHERN BEARDLESS TYRANNULET, DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHERS, BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS, HUTTON’S VIREOS, SUMMER TANAGER, GRAY HAWK, as well as representative species from the flanking upland desert: VARIED BUNTINGS, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, SCOTT’S ORIOLE, HOODED ORIOLE. What’s also impressive walking through here is the abundant blooming Bouvardia, making the resident hummingbirds very happy. After getting back to the car, did walk down and picked up the resident BLACK-CAPPED GNATCATCHER just before the paved crossing.

Since I was down that way, decided to pop on over to Box Canyon and look at the habitat where the FIVE-STRIPED SPARROWS are being commonly reported from. I’ve been interested in this species for several years now, why they’re found some places, and not others? Little surprised, they’re on a south-facing slope, which I normally expect to be drier, but in fact it’s vegetation is very lush and much better than the very dry north-facing slope across the drainage, why I can’t say? As I was walking along the road, I think I could discern at least three different territories as defined by separated singing birds, which kind of fits with my limited understanding of this species as often being distributed in loose colonies. Beats going all the way to the Gulch. Didn’t pick up the Lucifer Hummingbird but others had seen it this morning.

Tim Helentjaris
Tucson, AZ

“There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.”
- Rod Serling





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