* I would say “as the crow flies” but there are no crows in SE Arizona, rather lots of ravens. Since I have not seen ravens at the park, I will assume that the Red-tail hawk can make a straight flight, if not distracted by food on the way.
We visited the park for early morning bird walks on March 10th, and today, May 3rd. Many thanks to our volunteer guides, Jim in March, and Mary Ellen today. More information on walks in May here.
Great Horned Owl's Nest
In March Jim led us on the Bridle Trail to the group picnic area, which is also accessible by car. We spotted a female Great Horned Owl sitting on her nest in a large mesquite tree. Below you can just see the top of her head, looking like a WW I ace sitting in an open cockpit:
These are big birds and the nests are very deep. We went back to the same spot today, 8 weeks later, to find that she has two offspring, still fluffy, but getting very big. The two best images are below. Finding an opening between the branches was a challenge.
To provide a sense of scale, below is an image of an adult male that we spotted today at another location in the park. Presumably he is keeping an eye on his own nest. They are nocturnal, so he is losing sleep during the day, and needs to hunt at night to feed the nestlings. Based on the size of the branch he is sitting on, he is probably 24 to 30 inches high.
Today we spotted the bird below hopping around in dense brush and twigs at the base of a mesquite tree. Getting clear images was difficult, and the one below is the best of the lot. The consensus was that this was a flycatcher Genus Empidonax, probably a Dusky Flycatcher. However, I cannot really see a white eye-ring and the bill looks longer than the pictures I find in The Sibley Guide to Birds, on on Tom Grey's website. Could it be a Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Genus Myiarchus? There is a place for comments below, feel free to give us your opinion.
This male posed for us on a snag, at some distance but with good lighting.
Below for reference are three images captured at Agua Caliente this past winter.
I am going to close with a bird that we saw today, but I was unable to capture with my camera. However, I did get images on our walk with Jim in March. Lucy's Warbler is a resident of the Sonoran Desert with a range in Southern Arizona and Mexico. It is one of two warblers that nest in holes, and prefers riparian mesquite woodlands.
These birds are described as rather plain, with chesnut rump and crown patches. Both can be seen in the images above. The second image is not that sharp, but clearly shows both crown and rump with the wings raised.
That's all for now. Happy trails!
Henry Johnson, photographer and author of this site. For more detail, see About