Meadow Trail, Mt. Lemmon, ~9,000 feet,
Mt. Lemmon is one of SE Arizona's sky islands, topping out at 9,000 feet, one hour drive north of Tucson. The map below shows the route from downtown Tucson up to Summerhaven, and the Meadow trail, close to the summit.
Mt. Lemmon is home for many birds and a way station for scores of others whose north/south flyway comes over the mountain. Below is a sample of what can be seen on the mountain, by season, beginning in the spring.
May on the Mountain: Spring Arrives: June 11, 2020
An overview of Mt Lemmon starting with the top of the mountain, the Meadow Trail at 9100 feet. Species seen include the Violet Green Swallow and a Spotted Towhee in the trees calling for a mate. In Summerhaven at 7500" we see Black-headed Grosbeaks, Townsend's Warblers, and a Cooper's Hawk. In Rose Canyon, a walk-in only venue during this pandemic year, we see a Red-faced Warbler singing for a mate, Painted Redstarts (also warblers), a Hermit Thrush, a Warbling Vireo (warbling, but not a warbler!), Western Bluebirds, White-breasted Nuthatches, and a Cordilleran Flycatcher up from southern Mexico for breeding.
To the right, a male Western Bluebird, Rose Canyon, June 2020. Because of the pandemic, Rose Canyon was closed to cars and camping, but open for walking. This fellow was quite comfortable perched on a speed limit sign, with only hikers to contend with. Click on the image to go to the blog post.
Summerhaven after the Bighorn Fire. August 1, 2020
The Bighorn fire burned 120.000 acres of the Coronado National Forest in June and July of 2020, coincident with the covid-19 pandemic. Fortunately Summerhaven was spared due to the work of a team of firefighters, including the Mt Lemmon Fire Department as well as forest service hotshot crews and air support.
Here is a sampling of the birds in Summerhaven after the fire: Red-faced Warblers, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Red-start, and to round things out, Abert's Squirrels.
The photo to the right is a Red-faced Warbler along Sabino Creek in Summerhaven. Click on the image to go to the blog post.
The Meadow Trail, Mt. Lemmon, Arizona, Summer 2021 Wrap-up
This post from September 2021 provides an orientation to Mt Lemmon and the meadow trail, including maps and landscape photographs. Birds included in this post are: Red-trailed Hawks soaring near the summit (including a short tutorial on wing anatomy), a Plumbeous Vireo nest, Violet Green Swallows nesting in a tree cavity (shot later in the season than the June 2020 post), a Broadtail Hummingbird nest, and three nuthatches, Red-breasted, White-breasted, and Pygmy. And, a host of ladybugs on flowers near the trail.
The photograph to the right is a White-breasted Nuthatch near Radio Ridge. Click on the image to go to the blog post.
Mt Lemmon October Wrap-up: Warblers, Woodpeckers, Vireos, and a Brown Creeper comes out of hiding.
In this post we see a number of species that breed in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, and winter in Mexico, using Mt Lemmon as a stopover on their way south. Many of our visitors are warblers, a large and at times confusing lot! For (hopefully) some clarification, see the introduction to this post.
The species shown in this post are: Townsend's Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Red-naped Sapsucker (a woodpecker), Acorn Woodpecker (in a supporting role), Northern Flicker, Warbling Vireo (a vireo, not a warbler!), Cassin's Vireo, and a Brown Creeper.
The photograph to the right is a Wilson's Warbler. Click on the image to go to the blog post.
October 2019 on Mt Lemmon: Fall leaves and wildlife.
This post shows another side of fall, including brilliant leaves in Bear Wallow, Acorn Woodpeckers literally putting away nuts for the winter, Cous White-tailed Deer wandering through the village, a Red-naped Sapsucker passing through on his way to his winter home in Mexico, Red-tailed Hawks, and a Abert's Squirrel.
To the right is a photograph of an Acorn Woodpecker putting an acorn (a true nut) into a hole in dead tree. Referred to as granary trees, they are filled with nuts that the gregarious clan of woodpeckers tend year round, and use to feed themselves and their families throughout the winter. Click on the image to go to the blog post.