As we watched the bird flutter down to the stream to drink and bathe, another bird flew up next to it and started singing. We were now looking at a confirmed pair of Rufous-capped Warblers! Two of only 4 known individuals present in the ABA area.
Feeling elated after the spectacular looks and photos, we headed back down the wash. When we got back to the Ocotillo and scrub, Jacob heard a squeaky, gnatcatcher-like sound coming from the hill above us. Sure enough, there in the Ocotillo, about 30 yds above us, was a Black-capped Gnatcatcher! My second lifer of the trip.
Our next stop was nearby Madera Canyon. We arrived as the sun was setting and drove straight to Madera Kubo. As we watched the feeders, a male White-eared Hummingbird flew down to the back feeder for a drink. This was only the 3rd of this rarest of ABA area nesting Hummingbirds that I had ever seen. As Jacob was watching the male, I spotted another Hummingbird at another feeder that appeared to have a dark patch through it's eye. A second later, it clicked. This was a female White-eared Hummingbird! I quickly got Jacob onto the bird and both of us watched as the male came by and courted the female.
We headed back to the car. Jubilant after seeing half of the known population of White-eared Hummingbirds in the ABA area.
A quick stop at Proctor Rd added Botteri's Sparrow and Rufous-winged Sparrow to our trip list. As we headed back to the car in the quickly darkening light, a Poorwill called from the nearby hillside and a Lesser Nighthawk flew over.
It was the end to a spectacular first day of birding in beautiful Southeast Arizona.
As we drove on to Patagonia to stay the night, we wondered what else the weekend would bring.
Coming soon, Pt 2 of Whirlwind birding: The rarest of the rare.