Santa Rita Mts, and Madera Canyon

From desert to lush canyons, and breathtaking mountain vistas(at least after climbing up the mountain...).
Mount Wrightson, Arizona, USA - May 20, 2005
Minolta Freedom Zoom Explorer

In conjunction with my business meeting in Las Vegas I decided to go to Madera Canyon since it wasn't far from this city. I did not only have some great birdwatching, and bird photographing, but I enjoyed great hiking, and met amazingly friendly people such as Gordon, and Linda Wright.

One evening when I was waiting for the Elf Owl to show at its traditional telephone pole nest hole a man approached from one of the cabins. In his hand was a glass with freshly cut, and cleaned fruit which he offered me while I was waiting for the bird to appear. Stunned by the friendliness (not common in New York City), I simply accepted his gift. We got talking, and my day-long hiking didn't inflict such fatigue anymore. Before he left he offered one of his cabin chairs, and THANK YOU! no more sitting on the stony ground.

It couldn't get much better if I also get the Elf Owl I thought, quite happy already. Not long time had passed before a delicious smell came soaring from behind the Wright's family cabin, and soon Gordon appeared letting me know he had three steaks for only two people..., and there it was; I was brought out a PERFECTLY grilled steak with scampi, broccoli rice, and vegetables!!! Now it just couldn't get any better!

But I was wrong yet again. Before dusk, and with my happy face looking down at the food, a gentle tapping caught my attention. An Acorn Woodpecker with a White-breasted Nuthatch in tow had perched on the telephone pole, and angered the Elf Owl enough to look out as the afternoons last light was fighting the shadows giving me first class looks at this tiny owl.

Among the birds spotted, and heard in the Santa Ritas were Buff-breasted, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers. Mountain/Northern Pygmy-owl, Elf, and Western Screech-Owls. Elegant Trogons were seen every day. Painted Redstart, and Red-faced Warblers among the most colorful passerines. Lots of Hephatic, and a nesting pair of Flame-colored Tanagers. These are just a few of the many birds I saw during the very short time spent here.

Some birds I photographed:

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