Monday, June 17, 2013

Southeast Arizona Day 6: Garden Canyon, Santa Cruz Flats, and Gilbert Water Ranch

This is part 7 of a series of posts about our trip to Southeast Arizona. Click here to go to part 1 for an introduction to our trip.

First two stops: Garden Canyon and Santa Cruz Flats

On the last day of our trip we worked our way back to Phoenix from Sierra Vista. We just had time for a quick trip to Garden Canyon in hopes of finding a Spotted Owl. Tony Battiste had told us that he had just recently seen a Spotted Owl on a day roost that was supposed to be easily visible right from the road. We hurried to the location he described, but were unable to find the owl.

Garden Canyon

No Spotted Owl on this trip to Garden Canyon, Cochise County. March 20, 2013.

We hustled on to our next stop, Santa Cruz Flats, which was more of a detour than a stop. Santa Cruz Flats is an area south of Highway 10 between Tucson and Phoenix that is good for a large variety of raptors, as well as Mountain Plovers in the right time of the year. We were a little on the late side for the Mountain Plovers, but we had high hopes of finding other specialties such as Crested Caracara. Perhaps we were in too much of a hurry, but no lock on the Caracaras on this trip. Plenty of Black Vultures though.

BLVU 2

Black Vultures at Santa Cruz Flats, Pinal County. March 20, 2013.

Third stop: Gilbert Water Ranch

The big reason we were hustling was because we had a number of big gaps in our list of target birds for the trip that we had a good chance of filling back at Gilbert Water Ranch. The plan was to get there as soon as possible and spend the time before our return flight tracking down Inca Doves, Common Ground-doves, Common Gallinules, Rosy-faced Lovebirds, Costa’s Hummingbirds, Green Heron, and others. We didn’t find everything we were looking for, but did track down some Inca Doves and a couple of Green Herons.

INDO 2

Inca Dove, next to White-crowned Sparrow for size comparison. Gilbert Water Ranch, Maricopa County. March 20, 2013.

GRHE 1

Green Heron at Gilbert Water Ranch, Maricopa County. March 20, 2013.

Other birds we enjoyed included Neotropic Cormorant, Northern Mockingbird, Anna’s Hummingbirds, and a Gila Woodpecker.

NECO 1

Neotropic Cormorant at Gilbert Water Ranch, Maricopa County. March 20, 2013.

NOMO 1

Northern Mockingbird at Gilbert Water Ranch, Maricopa County. March 20, 2013.

ANHU 2

Anna’s Hummingbird at Gilbert Water Ranch, Maricopa County. March 20, 2013.

GIWO 2

Gila Woodpecker at Gilbert Water Ranch, Maricopa County. March 20, 2013.

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