When Tom and I go hiking we always have a problem as to where we should be looking. Should we be looking up into the trees to see the birds, or should be be looking down at the rock slide to see if any reptiles are sunning. Well last Sunday we got it right.
The day started off with high winds. The birds were going to stay down and it would be hard to hear any bird songs. High clouds we passing over so the sun was not warming rocky areas for herps. But, we had the trip planned and the lunch packed so we took off.
I should tell you that Rucker Canyon is about 25 miles south of Portal. Arizona at the end of Tex Canyon Road. Our first bird was a Swainson’s Hawk and it was our first for the year. As we continued on up our next “goody” was a Mountain Kingsnake. While watching him disappear into the forest we flushed a Hermit Thrush. The day was looking up.
The day continued with sightings of a Hepatic Tanager, Yellow-eyed Juncos, Striped Plateau Lizard, Horned Larks, Eastern Meadowlarks, Eastern Fence Lizards, Bewicks’s Wren (yes, we saw him, not just heard him) Mourning Doves, Ornate Tree Lizards, American Robins, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Side-blotched Lizard, Bridled Titmouse, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Lesser Earless Lizard, Turkey Vulture, Mexican Jays, Western Tanager and a Coot.
As you can tell we started counting species on the desert scrub brush and continued our trip to deciduous streamside through pine forest. That’s one of the great benefits of being here, you can find many different habitats when you live in the Sky Islands of Arizona. And that means a chance to see a large number of species of both birds and reptiles.
Not bad for a windy, cloudy day!