The amazing Anza Trail – near the historic settlement of Tubac (seen below – photo from the internet), with shed-loads of interesting birds
Although our direction of travel now is generally north, we decided this morning to return to a couple of sites along the Juan Bautista De Anza trail – nearer to the Mexican border. In particular we were looking for Rose-throated Becard, the nest of which we’d found, or so we thought, a couple of days ago. We arrived at the site, yomped the half mile or so to the nest-site and waited. We’d been there nearly an hour with no success when a couple of birders came past us on the trail. ‘You looking for anything in particular?’ they enquired. We casually explained that we we’re on a ‘stake-out’ for the Becard – keeping the nest under constant observation. ‘Oh, they said, we’ve just been watching them further up the trail’. Turns out that the little blighters were in the process of constructing a second nest! We hot-footed it up the trail and were eventually treated to superb views of both the male and female. On our last visit to Texas, in 2009, we’d gone to the Santa Ana reserve to look for several rare birds – Black-throated Magpie-jay and Rose-throated Becard in particular. I got to see the first but then became distracted by photographing Red-capped Parrots. When I returned to the party I discovered that they’d seen the Becard. Ten years later and it’s a ‘grip-back’ of epic proportions! Later we went on to see Thick-billed Kingbird at another point along this superbly ‘birdy’ trail and got better views of the Rufous-backed Robin. The afternoon was spent at the Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson, adding another half-dozen new State ticks. Tonight we’re staying at the excellent Red Lion Inn & Suites – where ‘happy hour’ consists of free food & drinks – certainly made Bob and me very happy!
Grip-back – Rose-throated Becard. It’s been ten long years…
The other GABRAT tick and American List addition – Thick-billed Kingbird
Also, better views of the Rufous-backed Robin, along the ANZA trail
and, in the afternoon, at Sweetwater Wetlands, several State ticks, including this much missed favourite – Ruddy Duck
Tomorrow we’re making the 35 mile ascent (driving of course) of Mount Lemmon (9,159 feet) – which receives over 200 inches of snow annually, stopping at various locations for what we hope will be another hat-full of new birds.