The Azure Gate Bed & Breakfast

9351 E. Morrill Way, Tucson, Arizona 85749
Innkeeper(s): Dennis & Christine Widman

Arivaca Cienegas: Yellow Billed Cuckoo 26 Sep 2016, 12:14 pm

Had a chance to go to Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (all parts) a couple of days ago. First stop was Arivaca Cienegas. I was there by 7:00 am and found it very birdie!!  In fact, so much so that it was difficult to focus in on a particular bird in order to get that "perfect" photo. Lots of warblers: Orange Crowned, MacGillivray's, Wilson's, and Lucy's.

But the find of the morning was a pair of Yellow Billed Cuckoos. They were quite active so I didn't get many good photos, but I did manage a couple of nice ones. Here is one of those:

Yellow Billed Cuckoo

More from Sweetwater Wetlands 24 Sep 2016, 5:43 am

In addition to the Juvenile Peregrine Falcons, there was a nice Ladder-backed Woodpecker that allowed me to get quite close:

Juvenile Peregrine Falcons at Sweetwater Wetlands 22 Sep 2016, 5:39 am

A quick trip over to Sweetwater Wetlands was not quite as productive as I had hoped. It may be that I just didn't get there early enough (arrived and 9:45). And it was hot -- 97 degrees hot. However, I did come away with some nice photos of three Juvenile Peregrine Falcons. I did not see either adult. Here are a couple of those photos:

Birds on a Wire: Cassin's Kingbird 20 Sep 2016, 7:04 am

Southern Arizona has four Kingbird species: Cassin's, Thick Billed, Tropical, and Western. Here a Cassin's Kingbird sits a a wire awaiting an insect to snatch:

Cassin's Kingbird

Birds on a Wire: Broad Billed Hummingbird 18 Sep 2016, 7:01 am

Around nectar feeders, hummingbirds use nearby wire to sit and rest primarily. Sometimes they will clean their bill on the wire, but it is less often that the wire is a perch to catch insects passing by.

Here are two photos of Broad Billed Hummers at rest:

Male Broad Billed Hummingbird

Male Broad Billed Hummingbird

In the last photo a Male Broad Billed Hummer about to land on the wire -- already occupied by a Female Anna's Hummer:

Male Broad Billed Hummingbird and Female Anna's Hummingbird

Birds on a Wire: Brewers Blackbird 16 Sep 2016, 6:55 am

One of my favorite "early" photos (from 1990 or so). It doesn't have the detail that my 51 megapixel camera (of today) has, but I like the composition, color, and the way the bird has his head tilted and tail fanned.

The photo was taken in Glacier National Park, Montana.

Brewers Blackbird

Birds on a Wire: Blue Throated Hummingbird 14 Sep 2016, 5:29 am

The Blue Throated Hummingbird drinks nectar and eats flying insects and spiders. Typically they hawk insects catching them in mid-air while flying or by striking out from perches:

Blue Throated Hummingbird

Birds on a Wire: Blue Grosbeak 12 Sep 2016, 5:24 am

Blue Grosbeaks feed mostly on hard bodied insects including grasshoppers, beetles, cicadas, and crickets. As such they may forage in trees and shrubs or on the ground. (They will also feed on seeds). Occasionally, though they will sally out for flying insects from a perch. And a wire is as good a perch as any:

Blue Grosbeak

Birds on a Wire: Black Phoebe 10 Sep 2016, 5:17 am

The Black Phoebe is most often found along streams or ponds. It perches on branches waiting for an insect to fly by and then strikes out to capture it. If there is a wire near the water it provides the perfect perch:

Black Phoebe

Birds on a Wire: Black Headed Grosbeak 8 Sep 2016, 5:13 am

Sitting on a wire gives birds a great view and a perch to bolt out and catch an insect flying by. But it also provides a perch to just rest. 

The Black Headed Grosbeak is more often engaged in trees looking for seeds and hard bodied insects. Yet, occasionally it too finds a wire to perch on -- sometimes resting and sometimes waiting for a butterfly to pass by.

Black Headed Grosbeak