|Montezuma Quails - pair by the roadside on the road up the Chiricahuas|
|Mexican Chickadee - Barfoot Junction in the Chiricahua Mountains|
And so I continued to the higher elevation pine belt where Mexican Chickadee breeds - this being the only accessible site in the US for this species (apparently they breed in NM on private, inaccessible montane areas too). It didn't take long to find one, and I was fortunate in locating this bird coming to its nest near Barfoot Junction. Heading back down the mountain - with the accompaniment of Sulphur-bellied Flycatchers squeaking away - it was time to visit Paradise. And though it was not what I'd envisage paradise to be in its entirety, The George Walker House feeders (owned by Jackie (and her two dogs)) was pretty nice. I'll do a separate post sometime on the 'feeder culture' of Arizona birding, but suffice to say you'd never get this hospitality in blighty. Anyway, the speciality here is Juniper Titmouse and after an hour or so a couple came down. The wait wasn't bad to be honest, what with stuff like Magnificent Hummingbird, Black-throated Grey Warbler, Bridled Titmouse and Black-headed Grosbeak all showing themselves.
|Juniper Titmouse - a rather plain affair|
|Black-throated Grey Warbler - enjoying a wash at the George Walker House feeders|
|Black-throated Sparrow - the archetypal North American desert sparrow|
Driving west from the mountains, I stopped off at Cochise Lake for a wader fix where there were over a hundred Wilson's Phals and fifty or so Baird's Sands. And with the intention of getting to Rich Fray's place for the evening, I headed down through Sonoita to Patons in Patagonia - where the staked out Violet-crowned Hummingbirds duly obliged.
|Violet-crowned Hummingbird - at the feeders at Patons|