AZ: Day 7 (Aug 7) - Madera Canyon, Mount Lemmon, HOME

We entered our final day with just one major target: Scott's Oriole. Our strategy was to give Florida Wash a try on the way to Madera Kubo, where Scott's had been reported periodically coming into a jelly feeder.

Florida Wash was birdy. We knew this would be our last look at desert species for the trip, so we enjoyed Rufous-winged Sparrows and Lucy's Warbler one more time. Phainopeplas were streaming overhead in groups. Our only oriole was a Bullock's.

We set up shop at Madera Kubo and waited. BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS were abundant, and the BERYLLINE HUMMER made a brief appearance. After about 20 minutes or so, an adult male SCOTT'S ORIOLE flew into the feeder, slurped down some jelly, and flew off. Sweet!

Our flight didn't leave until well after dark, so we had the rest of the day to kill. We decided on a return trip up Mount Lemmon to try to find some of the mixed flocks that had been reported recently. We weren't able to find the mega-flocks, but did located 2 more RED-FACED WARBLERS and our trip-first NASHVILLE WARBLER. Interestingly, this individual was not bobbing its tail. According to the literature, western birds frequently tail-bob, while eastern birds do this much less often. I've seen some presumed eastern birds actively bobbing their tails in New England. I wonder if the presence or absence of this behavior is at all useful when trying to distinguish between the two populations.

more views from Mount Lemmon

It was hard to believe, but our week was over. We dropped James back in Tucson and drove to Phoenix for our flight out.

As I said before, our trip was a huge success. We got nearly all of our targets. Our misses were: Harris's Hawk, Elf Owl, Lucifer Hummingbird, Green Kingfisher, Gray Vireo, and Bendire's Thrasher. Of the misses, I was really only bummed about the Lucifer Hummer because it's a tough bird to get elsewhere in the ABA area and had been reliable at a feeder until just a few days prior. In addition, there were no reports this summer of Buff-collared Nightjar, Rose-throated Becard, Streak-backed Oriole, or even rarer species such as Eared Quetzal, Aztec Thrush, or Rufous-capped Warbler. There was a one-off report of Plain-capped Starthroat, but there were no follow-up sightings.

A great trip. Can't wait to go back!

- Nick


  1. Thank you Nick for the trip report, I enjoyed it very much and hope to someday venture out there myself.

  2. My pleasure Tom. I'm sure you'll enjoy it out there.

  3. Nice write up Nick as per usual. Nashville tail-bobbing - hmmm yes I've observed that behavior in fall Nashvilles here a couple of times and wondered whether it really indicated anything meaningful.


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