Mary Ann and I drove to Madera Canyon from Aravaipa Canyon, and arrived at about 5 PM. It’s about a two-hour drive, and there was a lot of traffic going through Tucson. This post has a description and some photographs.
Madera Canyon is a popular birding spot in southern Arizona. It has a large variety of different birds. On this trip there were loads of Mexican Jays, Broad-billed Hummingbirds, Acorn Woodpeckers, and Chipping Sparrows. These were mostly hanging out around Santa Rita Lodge, where we spent the night.
We hiked along the creek from Santa Rita Lodge to the picnic area. We saw the Painted Redstart, White-breasted Nuthatch, and Wild Turkey. I was hoping to get a photograph of the Painted Redstart, so I was happy to see it.
In the morning we got up early and hiked up the Carrie Nation trail. We didn’t see as many birds as we expected. I was hoping to get a picture of an Arizona Woodpecker. I saw one, but wasn’t able to get a photograph. Of course, we hoped for the famous bird of Madera Canyon, the Elegant Trogon – but no luck. I did get a photo of a Hutton’s Vireo, which is hard to photograph because it moves quickly and stays hidden most of the time.
I think the most unusual bird I photographed is the Williamson’s Sapsucker. They are in the canyon, but not in abundance, and are not commonly seen. When I took the picture I thought it was a Gila Woodpecker, and didn’t realize what it was until I saw the photograph on the computer. If I had known I would have tried for a better picture.
We found out from the locals that the normal rule for seeing birds of ‘get out early’ doesn’t apply at the Canyon, and that the birds there tend to get active when the sun gets high enough to hit inside of the canyon. We found that this was true on our hike up Carrie Nation trail.
Here are the pictures: