So having picked up the Rufous-capped Warbler and the Sinaloa Wren we were at first not sure what to do on Saturday. As luck would have it though word got out that someone had found a Slate-throated Redstart at Cave Creek Canyon on Friday. This was a target worth chasing and would have been an ABA bird for both Rich Hoyer and for me. The only problem with Slate-throated Redstarts is that they almost always tend to be short-staying, usually one-day-wonders, but if we had to chase and miss a star bird we couldn't think of a better place to do it. Cave Creek Canyon is one of the best birding spots in the US, and a personal favorite that I fell in love with when I first visited it 22 years ago. It was a long drive but definitely worth the risk, so another 4am start and I picked up Rich and headed out of Tucson to the SouthEast en route to the Chiricahuas.
After stopping to get provisions (we were committed to a stake-out) we pulled into the parking lot at around 8am and headed up the South Fork of Cave Creek Canyon. The initial intel was good and we bumped into birders who had seen the Redstart on Friday afternoon, meaning it had stuck around for the whole day. Reality set in soon enough though as we got to the area of the sightings and met more birders who had been looking since dawn and not seen the bird. Still, we're both optimists so we plugged away at the canyon, birding hard for the next five hours hoping that this Redstart at least was stickier than it's kin.
|Elegant Trogon - a star bird here, in fact most of the birders we met that day|
were looking for Trogons and not for the Redstart.
|Painted Redstart - or 'Wrongstart' as I took to calling it by the afternoon.|
|Gray-headed Dark-eyed Junco - one of those Western Juncos we don't get to|
see in New York.
|Black-tailed Rattlesnake - not as close as it looks, I had my 300mm lens on.|
|Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake - Rich Hoyer is the hand-model.|
|Long-billed Dowitchers - a good bird in the East, but easier here.|