As planned, we stationed ourselves at Madera Kubo where we soon heard and saw the Flame-colored Tanager, which was a ‘lifer’ for both of and was also Babe’s 700th ABA bird! We had hoped to see this bird in 2005, but wildfires in and around Madera Canyon had closed the area and the birds apparently left when the fires got too close to Madera Kubo. So, the fact that we got to see it this time was a total reversal of our luck.
This appropriately-named Flame-colored Tanager would occasionally make a quick drop down from the treetops to feed on the jelly put out by the Madera Kubo owners. This was one of the few photos I was able to get of it down at the jelly.
Just when I was figuring that seeing the tanager was our luckiest break of the trip, I heard an owl tooting a little farther up the road. I grabbed Babe and we began trying to track down the periodic calls. We continued to zero in on them but still couldn’t find the bird. Just as I realized that the calls were coming from above and between us, we noticed an owl fly out of a hole and Babe followed it up into an oak. After years of trying, we were finally looking at our ‘life’ Northern Pygmy-Owl!
We backed off from the hole and the bird stayed in the tree, occasionally calling as we continued to soak in the views of our 'life' Northern Pygmy-Owl.
This photos shows the rock formations above Bear Canyon along the Mount Lemmon Highway near Tucson, AZ. We stopped on the way back to the motel and celebrated some more with a Dairy Queen sundae.