My lifer Tufted Duck today at Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA. This bird has been around for much of the winter I believe and I was glad to find it this time around, as I missed it two weeks ago. Typically in Eurasia, North America gets a few of these every year.
Probably the best bird of my trip to Southeastern Arizona was this Painted Redstart. It was an unexpected bird on a very windy day during a failed attempted at finding Rufous-capped Warblers. I got great looks, but pictures were clearly not easy.
After a frantic but unsuccessful search for the Elegant Trogon that has been seen at Patagonia Lake State Park lately I birded around the lake until dark, finding a brilliant male Vermillion Flycatcher, a few Gray Flycatchers, and a variety of duck-like creatures.
The next day I hit up the Paton's yard early morning, a spot notorious for bringing in great birds to the feeders that are stocked year round. I saw the usual suspects, but was happy to find four or five Lazuli Buntings tentatively eating seed.
Yellow-rumped Warbler taking a break from the suet.
I then spend the rest of the morning exploring Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, where I was greeted by a large flock of Lark Sparrows, a species I'd really only seen a handful of before.
Though not extremely birdy, the two miles of trail I walked were great, showing lots of Abert's and Canyon Towhees, my first Phainopepla*, my first Hepatic Tanager in the US, and more Gila Woodpeckers than I needed.
One of the fun discoveries here was a small section of stream where I found a Say's, Black, and Eastern Phoebe all feeding within 20 feet of each other. Though the former two are quite common in the area, the Eastern is somewhat of a rarity and was great to have next to the other two.
A Cooper's Hawk that was undoubtedly snacking on a Lark Sparrow only moments ago.
My final excitement for the reserve were the two Rufous-winged Sparrows I spotted in the parking lot on my way to my car. This was a bird I was hoping to see, but was told I'd be lucky to find, but I think they're fairly common at this location and was just lucky to have not passed them off as something else.
Though I was semi-prepared for a cold night at the San Pedro NRCA, a frozen water bottle in the morning explained a lot about how well I slept. After packing up camp and walking around the reserve for a bit I headed toward the hills, with White-winged Dove as my only new species of the trip that morning.
Gila Woodpecker from San Pedro House
Hikes up and down Ramsey and Miller Canyons were snowy and beautiful but fairly quiet. Brown Creepers and Golden Eagles were seen, as well as my first Bushtit of the year.
Say's Phoebe along the side of the road near Ramsey
My last stop before heading to Patagonia for the night was a B&B in Ash Canyon, where there was a great array of feeders, though nothing new was seen.