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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Southeast Arizona’s Madera Canyon

April 20th, 2012 · 1 Comment

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When we reached Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon on April 10, we arrived at the first of the three places that had attracted us to Southeast Arizona. But we arrived well after dark, so we didn’t see any of the canyon until the next day. We stayed in one of its eight efficiency apartment or “casitas” for three nights, using it as a base to visit birding hotspots in Madera Canyon as well as in and around the town of Patagonia.

Madera is a canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains within the Coronado National Forest. The lodge is midway up the canyon at 5,000 feet. Because of its elevation and the shade of cottonwood and oak trees, the canyon is much cooler than the Sonoran Desert down below where Tucson lies. This “sky island” is one of the best birding areas of the American West. More than 250 bird species are here for all or part of the year, including 15 species of hummingbirds.

The feeders at the lodge attract a variety of hummingbirds and other birds. This offered us an easy introduction.

But first I had a guide show me around the canyon. Laurens Halsey took me and three other people on a four-hour tour of the Proctor Loop of the Madera Canyon Nature Trail and two or three miles up the Carrie Nation Trail. We heard and saw several birds of one of the most sought after species in Southeast Arizona, the Elegant Trogon, but I didn’t get any good shots of them. We did find a Painted Redstart nest, where we stopped to take lots of photos of these birds coming and going.

A Painted Redstart Near its Nest by the Carrie Nation Trail

A Painted Redstart Near its Nest by the Carrie Nation Trail

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Back at the lodge, I took so many photographs of hummingbirds at the feeders that I got some worth sharing. In fact, this is but a small selection of them not to bore you.

A Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

A Male Black-chinned Hummingbird

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A Broad-billed Hummingbird

A Broad-billed Hummingbird

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A Different Hummingbird Species

A Different Hummingbird Species

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A Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird

A Male Broad-tailed Hummingbird

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The feeders at the lodge also attract a wide variety of other birds.

A Mexican Jay Eats Lots of Seeds

A Mexican Jay Eats Lots of Seeds

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An Acorn Woodpecker Seems to Levitate

An Acorn Woodpecker Seems to Levitate

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A Scott's Oriole Enjoys a Matching Orange

A Scott's Oriole Enjoys a Matching Orange

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A Male Wild Turkey Struts its Stuff

A Male Wild Turkey Struts its Stuff

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Sharon and I hiked up the Carrie Nation Trail by ourselves on the afternoon of April 11. She got this picture of me shooting a lizard on another trail. I really like lizards because they stay so still when I shoot them.

Sharon Shoots the Photographer

Sharon Shoots the Photographer

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But I shot the lizard.

This Lizard Has a Blue Throat

This Lizard Has a Blue Throat

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Posted in: Arizona

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 gretchen // Apr 21, 2012 at 6:01 am

    “I really like lizards because they stay so still when I shoot them.”

    David, Maybe you should forget birds and focus on hibernating bears. Slow loris?

    Great photos! Do split oranges grow on tree?

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