Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sky Island Birding

May is a great time to visit Mt. Lemmon, especially as the temperature starts to rise in Tucson.  At 9,157 feet, it is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains.  It's consistently 20 degrees cooler up there than the desert below.  The different life zones, known as sky islands, range from desert scrub at the base to mixed conifer forest at the summit.  This makes for some great birding.  Here are some of the cool birds I've seen there:

Ash-throated Flycatcher- Babad Do'ag Vista
Lucy's Warbler- Molino Basin Campground
Black-throated Gray Warbler- Bear Canyon
Painted Redstart- Bear Canyon
Broad-tailed Hummingbird feeding young- Rose Canyon Campground
White-breasted Nuthatch- Bear Canyon
Cordilleran Flycatcher- Marshall Gulch
Broad-tailed Hummingbird- Palisades Visitor Center 
Magnificent Hummingbird- Palisades Visitor Center 
American Robin- Rose Canyon Campground
Mountain Chickadee- Ski Run Road
Olive Warbler- Bear Canyon
Hairy Woodpecker- Summerhaven
Evening Grosbeak- Ski Run Road
Steller's Jay- Summerhaven
House Wren- Rose Canyon Campground
Yellow-eyed Junco- Marshall Gulch
Hermit Thrush- Marshall Gulch
Plumbeous Vireo- Rose Canyon Campground
Red-faced Warbler- Incinerator Ridge Road
Buff-breasted Flycatcher- Rose Canyon Campground
   Happy Mother's Day!


  1. Great series Jeremy! That Red-faced Warbler is fantastic.

  2. WHOOAAA some killer shots in there. And Buff-breasted Fly and Evening Grosbeak on Lemmon? Quality birds! It's so nice to have that mountain right next to Tucson.

  3. Great post! I went to Mt. Lemmon two years ago for the first time and had a blast! It wasn't spring but it was unlike an bird trip I have ever taken. It's amazing how you can go from hot to comfortable in minutes as well as go from one group of birds to another. Simply wonderful! Great shots!

  4. Fantastic photos! My folks are moving to Tucson and I can't wait to visit them for some looks at the awesome birds out there!

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  6. I think I said "WOW!!!" every time I scrolled my mouse down and saw the next photos! Amazing stuff Jeremy. Next trip to Arizona, I gotta time it right and have you take me there!

  7. These are fantastic photos Jeremy! Makes me want to go birding in Arizona again. It's a beautiful place to go birding, and there are wonderful birds to see. Excellent post!!

  8. Thanks everyone for all the comments!

  9. This was almost as good as a trip back to Mt. Lemmon, Jeremy. I miss Arizona birding, but I can't complain too much about our Minnesota birds, either. Have you read my Birder Murder Mystery that takes place in Flagstaff? It's called Falcon Finale. I'm still hoping to set a future Bob White book in the southern part of the state around Arivaca. Just too many great birding spots and too little time!

  10. Awesome birds!!! Excellent photography and a great post!