Florida Canyon, Hunter Canyon, and Christmas, December 2016

Mary Ann and I went to southern Arizona in search of the Rufous-capped Warbler (RCWB). This is a rare bird in North America, and only seen in the mountains of southern Arizona. It has been reported in Florida (they use the Spanish pronunciation of flor-EE-dah) Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains, and also Hunter Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains. We left Thursday morning (12/29) at about 8:15, and were on the Florida Canyon trail by 10:00 AM. We got back to our car at about 3 and drove to Sierra Vista, where we had a room at the Sierra Suites (nice room, good breakfast, good price – only $47!). The next morning we got to Hunter Canyon by about 8:30, and spent the day there. We left at about 4 and drove to Tucson for dinner at Chuy’s, and home from there.

The canyons were beautiful, but the birding wasn’t good. Maybe because a cold front moved in the day we arrived, and we had some light rain. In Florida Canyon we took the west fork. The trail to the west fork is a short way down the main trail, across the creek. If you get to the trail signs (which we did), then you’ve gone too far. You pass a large green water tank, and an old dam before you get to the grove where the bird was seen. The trail is hard to follow in spots. We had to cross the creek several times, which was running fairly strong due to recent rains. Unfortunately, there were no birds to speak of. We met some birders from Michigan who were pretty disappointed.

It was the same story in Hunter Canyon. We met some serious birders there. It was a British family, the parents now living in Hong Kong, and the daughter in Vancouver BC. The daughter had a recording device for bird songs. The father’s bird list is over 5000 birds! Mike Lehman? (didn’t hear the last name), daughter Katarina?, wife – I forget. They were disappointed at not seeing the RCWB. We did hear it, but it was across a large ravine and didn’t seem interested in coming over where we were. We did see a Crissal Thrasher, which was a first for me – too far away for a very good picture.

I included some landscape pictures of the canyons and the Crissal Thrasher. I also threw in some pictures we took on Josh’s birthday, which is Christmas day. There is also a picture of Mary Ann with our goddaughter Gracie.

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