On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter Albatrossity.

I decided I’d had enough winter here, so I headed southwest for a couple of weeks to get that good desert heat soaking into my winter-weary bones. After Texas and Bosque del Apache in NM, I headed to the Sky Islands of southeastern AZ. First island stop was the Chiricahua Mountains, and specifically the Cave Creek Canyon on the eastern side. The Chiricahuas are at the edge of four ecozones, so there is plenty of floral and faunal diversity. And it was Spring there!

I stayed at the Cave Creek Ranch near Portal AZ for a couple of days, and took these pictures (as well as lots more!) on their grounds. It’s a lovely place, if ever you find yourself in that part of the world and wish to dip your tootsies in a mountain stream while watching gorgeous birds.

I should also mention that I have started a daily tweet, posting a bird picture from somewhere each morning. The Bird of the Day can be viewed at my twitter home – https://twitter.com/DaveRintoul01

Taken on 2019-03-30 00:00:00

Cave Creek Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains of AZ

Rivoli’s Hummingbird (until recently known as the Magnificent Hummingbird) is a large and flashy critter. This male was looking directly at me when I shot his portrait using a small on-camera flash. I’ve never seen red eye-shine from a hummer before, but it is an interesting look! I’ve renamed the bird as the Dire Hummer from now on!

Taken on 2019-03-30 00:00:00

Cave Creek Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains of AZ

The western subspecies of the Yellow-rumped Warbler is known as Audubon’s Warbler, and this is a nice spring-plumaged male representative of that subspecies. The yellow throat distinguishes it from the eastern form (Myrtle Warbler), which has a pure white throat.

Taken on 2019-03-30 00:00:00

Cave Creek Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains of AZ

The common thrasher of the west is the Curve-billed Thrasher. That bright yellow eye is riveting! Interestingly, by the time I returned home from this jaunt, our summer-resident Brown Thrashers had returned and were singing lustily from the treetops in our neighborhood.

Taken on 2019-03-30 00:00:00

Cave Creek Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains of AZ

One of the specialty birds that folks want to see in southeastern AZ is this Painted Redstart. Active and vocal and usually found catching insects at stream sides, they are pure crimson and black and white, with a cute half of a white eyering. This one is perched in an Apache Pine, another interesting bit of the local biological diversity.

Taken on 2019-03-30 00:00:00

Cave Creek Ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains of AZ

The Arizona Woodpecker (formerly called Strickland’s Woodpecker) barely finds its way into the lower 48, so it is another specialty species for birders heading to southeastern AZ. Most of its range is in the Sierra Madre mountains of nprthern Mexico, where it inhabits oak/pine canyons. A similar species (also formerly known as Strickland’s Woodpecker) is found in central Mexico and is still known by that name.


Thank you so much Albatrossity, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


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19 replies
  1. 1
    eclare says:

    As always, amazing photos Albatrossity

  2. 2
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I would call that the Hummer of Death.

    I presently have one single RT hummer visiting the one feeder I have out, in addition to several Downy’s, a couple of Red Belly’s, and one Yellow Bellied Sapsucker fueling up for the return trip to the north woods. Soon the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and Orioles will stop in for a visit and hopefully, a lost warbler or 2 in search of the riparian forests they prefer. Last year it was a Yellow Rumped Warbler, a first for this ridgetop way station.

  3. 3
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just checked your twitter thread Albatrossity, beautiful pic of the Prothonotary Warbler yesterday. We had one stop by briefly a few years back, I got so excited I damned near pissed myself.

  4. 4
    JPL says:

    The painted redstart appears to be saying another picture, blech.

  5. 5
    Amir Khalid says:

    Shows you how much I know about hummingbirds. I always thought “yellow-bellied sapsucker” was a movie scriptwriter’s clever way of calling a character a coward.

  6. 6
    Mary G says:

    Signed up for your Twitter. It will be lovely to have a new Albatrossity picture every day. My favorite of these is the Audobon’s Warbler, for the come-higher look on his face.

  7. 7
    debbie says:


    I don’t know enough about birds to know if they’re related, but I’ve seen a Wilson Warbler twice, once right outside a second floor window. It was sitting on an electrical wire and singing away, in no rush to move on. The birdsong was just awesome!

  8. 8
    arrieve says:

    Always the best start to the day, Albatrossity. And I love your Twitter feed as well.

  9. 9
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Amir Khalid: Heh. A common line in old westerns.

    @debbie: I love warblers. Nothing strikes joy in this hillbilly’s heart like the flash of warbler yellow amongst the stream side trees when I’m floating down an Ozark creek. Wilson’s are transients in this neck of the woods so I’m not sure I’ve ever espied one around here, but a couple years ago when I was up in the Boundary Waters CA I was entertained by one for about 10 minutes. All warblers are related and their songs are most enchanting.

  10. 10
    Wag says:

    Amazing photos, as always. I love southern Arizona for its biological diversity.

  11. 11
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Shows you how much I know about hummingbirds.

    Ooooopps, I just realized you may be confused by what I wrote above. Downy’s, Red Belly’s, and Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers are all woodpeckers. When I first moved out here I was a little taken aback by their apparent sweet (egg) tooth and affinity for nectar from my HB feeders. The sapsucker does not surprise me (maple sap is a favorite of theirs) but the other 2? I dunno.

    The only hummingbirds we get around here are the Ruby Throated.

  12. 12
    jeffreyw says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I saw our first hummer of the season yesterday at a columbine, not hitting on the single feeder we had out. We hustled another feeder up near the flowers.

  13. 13
    stinger says:

    Albatrossity! — just what my soul needed today.

  14. 14
    TomatoQueen says:

    Lovely! That Dire Hummer is amazing.

  15. 15
    rikyrah says:

    That first picture is absolutely gorgeous :)

  16. 16
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    Gorgeous, all of them! Thanks so much.

  17. 17
    J R in WV says:

    Amazing! Beautiful birds, wonderful photos!!

    We can see the western side of the Chiricahua Mountains from our winter camp in the Dragoons, as well as the Sierra Madres over in Mexico. We drove over the Chiricahua Mountains from Portal back into the Sulfur Springs Valley one winter, beautiful country.

    The last time I was up in there the signs of the fire were everywhere, but I don’t think it got into the NE side of the forest.

  18. 18
    Albatrossity says:

    @J R in WV: I took that road, from Portal across Onion Saddle to the Sulphur Springs valley, across the Chiricahuas this trip as well. It is still very ashy and grim at the top of that road, sadly. It’s gonna take a long time to regenerate that forest, it seems.

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