Operation PhotoTrogon Stop #8 – Paton Center Redux


This blog series chronicles the adventures that Rich Brown and I experienced on our quest to find and photograph the amazing birds of Southeast Arizona in May of 2022.

Well, we opted not to swing by Tony and Julie’s Battiste Bed Breakfast & Birds to look for the Elf Owl last night as we were just plain tuckered out from three long days of a very enjoyable, but slightly arduous birding and photography. So we were up early this morning, left Sierra Vista and headed towards Patagonia. As we pulled in to the parking lot at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds, we didn’t get 10 feet before we were distracted by many different species of birds coming to the feeders.

Curve-billed Thrasher

We settled in for a very calm and serene morning that was very quiet with lots of birds coming and going at the feeders.

Abert’s Towhee
Abert’s Towhee

The tranquility of the morning however was soon broken with the arrival of a contingent of birders from the Wings birding tour company. With a cacophony of noise and disruptive movements they descended on the quiet morning setting like a herd of water buffalo. They were completely oblivious to the setting and the need to be calm and quiet. The birder that was sitting next to me commented that their leader needed to quiet them down and take control of this boisterous group. However, it seemed the main culprit for most of the noise was the leader himself. The two of us were extremely annoyed with their lack of consideration.

I ended up leaving the compound and walked down the road towards the Sonoita Creek preserve just trying to see what was there. I noticed a flock of vultures overhead and quickly started scanning hoping for one of our target birds, the Zone-tailed Hawk.

Black Vulture & Turkey Vulture

Alas, I was not successful in picking that target bird out but I did get nice looks at both Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures.

Turkey Vulture
Black Vulture

After a couple of moments of enjoying more Bell’s Vireo and Dusky-capped Flycatchers, someone called out a Gray Hawk that was flying overhead. I did successfully capture one image of the bird in flight before it was lost amongst the trees over the river.

Gray Hawk

I was able to get more photographs of the very cool colorful birds of this part of the country.

White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Grosbeak
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal – Female
Broad-billed Hummingbird
Yellow-breasted Chat
Western Tanager – Female
Blue Grosbeak
Yellow-breasted Chat
Yellow-breasted Chat

Ebird Checklist Link for Paton Center for Hummingbirds 12 May 2022

Next Stop – Santa Rita Mountains

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