Friday, November 2, 2012
Another Rock Corral Canyon Visit
This past Tuesday I led a Tucson Audubon Society field trip to Rock Corral Canyon in SE Arizona's Tumacacori Mountains. I like this place more and more each time I visit it.
The 2-mile road in has a rather steep spot with loose rock which (it turns out) requires a 4-wheel-drive vehicle to ascend – not just high clearance. Luckily we had enough 4x4 cars for all 13 of us to fit in, and, passing many Rufous-winged Sparrows along the way, arrived at the main parking area in a mesquite bosque.
Birding began right away, with Bewick's Wren, Hermit Thrush, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Gray Flycatcher (heard) and a very late Black-chinned Hummingbird all coming in to my imitations of Western Screech-Owl and pishing.
Just up the canyon was a Golden Eagle hopping and creeping on the ground on the opposite hillside. We must have surprised it after its breakfast of cottontail or ground squirrel.
Just as we crossed the threshold into the Atascosa Highlands CBC circle, Sue Carnahan heard a gnatcatcher. A bit of pishing and owl imitations brought it in – a female Black-capped! Already, the best bird of the day, and we had just started.
In addition to the 40 species of birds we netted (checklist at eBird), we looked at butterflies, bugs, and flowers.
This stand of Anoda abutiloides, Indian Anoda was a good find.
On it were this Erichson's White-Skipper and a runt Desert Checkered-Skipper.
We puzzled over this fuzzy understory plant, but Sue and I put out instincts together and eventually figured it out: Iresine heterophylla, Standley's Bloodleaf, in the amaranth family.
Another semi-tropical plant is the acanth Tetramerium nervosum, Hairy Fournwort, but we didn't find any of its exotic butterfly feeder, the Elf. We did see another rarity though – a Mimosa Yellow came into a flowering Trixis for some of us.
Despite there being very little water in this canyon, we saw a few dragonflies and this spreadwing damselfly, Archilestes californicus, California Spreadwing.