Jeff Cowell, John Small, and I left Claremont on Friday morning at 05:35 a.m., for a Southeast Arizona birding trip that was planned over a month ago. After we had already planned the trip, one (possibly two!) Brown-backed Solitaire(s) showed up in the Huachucas at Miller Canyon, then at Ramsey Canyon.
We were supposed to bird Madera Canyon Friday afternoon, which we did, but we were robbed of 3 hours of daylight by the fatality truck accident on the 10 near Tucson (the truck driver died, and her load of toxic chemicals shut down the highway). We saw Black-throated Sparrows, Bell's Vireo, Hermit Thrushes, a Bridled Titmouse, and a Wild Turkey. We heard-only Whip-poorwill, Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers, and Whiskered Screech Owls. We also saw a unique desert hare called an Antelope Jackrabbit. It has white sides, like a two-toned car.
Saturday morning we birded Patagonia Roadside Rest, the Paton's backyard, and the Preserve. We only heard the Sinaloa Wren, but saw Black Vultures, Gray Hawks, Cardinals, White-winged Doves, Gambel's Quail, Brown-crested Flycatchers, Thick-billed Kingbird, Canyon Towhees, Curve-billed Thrashers, and a female Varied Bunting.
On the way to the Huachuca Mountains (the site of Miller, Carr, and Ramsey Canyons) Saturday afternoon we had Grasshopper Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Botteri's & Cassin's Sparrows.
At Miller Canyon we sat at the hummingbird feeders at Beatty's Orchard, where we saw White-eared, Blue-throated, Magnificent, Anna's, Berylline, Broad-billed, Broad-tailed, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. John Small and I hiked up the canyon, where we encountered the Black-tailed Rattlesnake in the photo. He held his ground, but never lunged at us. As a matter of fact, he only rattled once. We kept our distance, and that was good enough for him. He must be eating the local Rock Squirrels, which look just like the California Ground Squirrel.