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Operation PhotoTrogon Cease #9 – Santa Rita Mountains – Reflections of the Pure World

By Jim Achieve


This weblog collection chronicles the adventures that Wealthy Brown and I skilled on our quest to search out and {photograph} the superb birds of Southeast Arizona in Might of 2022.


After the Paton Middle for Hummingbirds, we stopped briefly on the close by Patagonia Lake Birding Path.

We had a really pleasing stroll alongside the birding path with views of the native Mexican Geese and lots of migrating Yellow Warblers.

Mexican Geese
Yellow Warbler
Lucy’s Warbler

Leaving the lake, we continued our journey to our ultimate vacation spot, Madera Canyon within the Santa Rita mountains. As it’s customary for me we first stopped on the Santa Rita Lodge to see what was feeding on the multitude of hummingbird and seed feeders.

The customary flock of Wild Turkeys was current as at all times as had been quite a few Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Home Finches and Lesser Goldfinch‘s.

Wild Turkeys

As we had been watching the hummingbirds, first a Rivoli‘s hummingbird popped in for a drink after which an Arizona woodpecker flew in to one of many feeders to one of many suet feeders.

Rivoli’s Hummingbird
Arizona Hummingbird

There was not the kind of exercise I used to be used to seeing there and the numbers of birds was low, presumably being that it was 2 o’clock within the afternoon. Was not a very scorching day, however it was fairly gradual on the lodge.

Wealthy inquired inside the shop as to the standing of the elegant trogon‘s that day within the canyon. He was exhibiting a map which he photographed that confirmed the place the trogons had been seen earlier within the day. We had been cautioned that we weren’t prone to discover them right now within the afternoon. We drove as much as the higher parking space and made plans as to how one can strategy our goal birds.

Wealthy together with his uber-enthusiasm was anxious to go up the Carrie Nation Path seeking the trogons. This was actually his most wanted goal chicken. I used to be feeling somewhat low on power and with my injured Achilles tendon I used to be not anxious to go mountain climbing up the path at that time limit. So Wealthy went up the path and I hung across the car parking zone for about 45 minutes. I used to be having fun with the numerous Bridled Titmice and Painted Redstarts that had been flitting concerning the shrubs.

Bridled Titmouse
Painted Redstart

All of a sudden I see Mr. RICHARD BROWN virtually working down the path in direction of me. He yells out “Check out what I noticed!” I knew what it needed to be, an Elegant Trogon. Positive sufficient Wealthy had not solely discovered, however taken a most wonderful {photograph} of a male Elegant Trogon. He said that he had barely gotten up 1/3 of a mile up the path and will hear them calling, fairly loudly. So after ingesting some water we took off up the path, in order that I might additionally discover and {photograph} probably the most elegant trogon within the canyon. We obtained as much as the realm the place the Outdated Baldy path veers off to the left and the Carrie Nation path continues. There’s a pleasant bench there for folk like myself which may have depleted their oxygen provide getting there, and it was within the shade. What a pleasant spot to take a seat again and wait. Nicely the wait didn’t final greater than about 60 seconds because the trogon began calling once more. So over the following 45 minutes we adopted the unusual ventriloquistic sounds, which at all times appeared farther away than they really had been, and took a number of good photos of the Elegant Trogon.

Elegant Trogon – Male

We managed to search out not solely the male however the quiet feminine Elegant Trogon.

Elegant Trogon – Feminine
Elegant Trogon – Feminine
Elegant Trogon – Male
Elegant Trogon – Male

And so the goal of operation PhotoTrogon was in hand.


After a excessive 5 and a few very huge smiles we walked again in direction of the automobile and at this level it look like the rest can be anti-climatic.

However then I remembered there was a nesting Elf Owl proper throughout the road from the Santa Rita Lodge. So we drove again right down to the car parking zone somewhat earlier than 7:00 pm discovering one other half dozen birders excitedly ready for the pending present from the feminine Elf Owl.

Ready for the Elf Owl to Present

As we chatted, the homeowners of the property got here out and invited us to face up within the space that was subsequent to the pole the place the nest was. We had been knowledgeable that this Elf Owl pair had been there for at the least 10 years and that she was not bothered in any respect by the chatter of birders standing beneath her home. This was a nightly prevalence on the spot and the proprietor felt that this manner birders obtained their Elf Owl and all the neighboring Elf Owls weren’t bothered.

Nearly on cue the Elf Owl appeared on the gap and sat there for about 2 1/2 minutes all of the whereas images cameras had been going click on, click on, click on.

Elf Owl

I inquired about the potential for Whiskered Screech-Owl and Mexican Whip-poor-will and it was instructed that we go to the amphitheater car parking zone simply up the street for the screech owl. He laughed once I requested concerning the Whip-poor-will as a result of he mentioned you possibly can’t miss all of them the best way up and down the canyon. So we be part of one other couple and drove as much as the amphitheater car parking zone quietly closed our doorways and nearly instantly the toot-toot-toot name of the Whiskered Screech-Owl got here from one aspect of the street adopted shortly there after by a second owl on the other aspect of the car parking zone. On the similar time we might hear a Mexican Whip-poor-will begin up. We determined to drive the remainder of the best way as much as the highest of the parking space at Mount Wrightson to see if the rest appeared and certain sufficient, there was in all probability 4 or 5 Mexican Whip-poor-wills calling from across the car parking zone.

So, with emotions of full satisfaction that the journey had been an excellent success, we headed again to our greatest western resort room in Inexperienced Valley uncertain about the place to go subsequent over the following two days. At this level nearly each certainly one of our goal birds had been not solely seen, but additionally photographed and now we had been beginning to search for needles in a haystack so to talk.

Subsequent cease unknown.



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