Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans)


Without doubt, the most sought after bird in Madera Canyon is the Elegant Trogon, although this was not the bird I was seeking. I would be looking for a Lewis's Woodpecker. A Lewis's had been reported in the Canyon, near the Santa Rita Lodge and I needed a better shot for the Arizona Birds book than the ones I had captured at Reid Park in Tucson last year. I also needed to get a better shot of a Painted Redstart, which are abundant in the Canyon.

 However, when I saw a group of about half-a-dozen birders/photographers with their binoculars and cameras pointed towards the top of a sycamore tree, I realized that a Trogon was probably near. When I heard the unmistakable barking call, my assumptions were confirmed. I could not turn down the opportunity to get a glimpse of one of my favorite birds.

Sure enough, a male Trogon was trying to get the attention of a female. He was continually popping in and out of a cavity in the tree—an old woodpecker nest—suggesting to her that they should get together and set up home there. She inspected the cavity and flew off. Probably playing "hard to get." I have many good shots of Elegant Trogons, but I did take a few shots before I had to move on if I was to achieve my goal of photographing the Lewis's Woodpecker.

Lewis's Woodpecker (Melanerpes lewis)

lewiss woodpecker low resIt did not take long to spot the woodpecker, he was exactly where reported, on a power pole, just south of the Santa Rita Lodge. 

I watched his behavior for a while. I did not want the typical shot of the bird perching on a branch, I wanted something more interesting. My patience was rewarded, when he carried a nut from a tree on the opposite side of the road and deposited it in a hole in the power pole. He was storing food for the winter.

Explorer, Meriwether Lewis, of the Lewis & Clark duo discovered a new avian species he called the “black woodpecker.” in 1811, bird artist, Alexander Wilson used, Lewis’s specimens to sketch and describe the Lewis’s Woodpecker—and gave the bird its first scientific name, Picus torquatus “woodpecker with a necklace.”  British zoologist William Swainson reclassified it in 1831,so it is now Melanerpes lewis “Lewis’s black creeper.

I am pleased with this shot. The composition works, I think, and the colors of this beautiful woodpecker are shown off to advantage. This will make a full page in the book. I also captured some shots of him in flight, but you will have to wait to see those in the book!


Painted Redstart (Myioborus pictus)

painted redstart low resFeeling happy that I had achieved my goal and secured another page for the book with the Lewis's Woodpecker photographs, I walked down to the Picnic Area to look for a Painted Redstart. I sat down on a log near a muddy area and waited. I was sure that the water in this area would attract some birds and after a few minutes, a couple of Song Sparrows stopped for a drink. Then I heard a song in the trees nearby which my Merlin App told me was a Painted Redstart. Before long, a couple of them appeared. They were very busy hopping around in the mud and, either did not notice me, or did not care that I was there. One came within two feet of me and was not a bit peturbed. They were flashing their black-and-white wings and fanning their tails while foraging. I watched one as it hopped along tree branches, startling insects out of their hiding places, the little bird then snatched them up in its bill. The contrast of their beautiful scarlet breasts against the dark mud made an attractive shot and I think I have another page for the book.

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) 

While absorbed by the Painted Redstarts, I was aware of noisy Acorn Woodpeckers in the trees above me. These woodpeckers seem to be everywhere in the Canyon and I have photographed them on many occassions. However, while watching a pair showing great interest in a cavity, I noticed the beauty of the texture and patterns of the tree trunk which was a perfect background for this beautiful bird. I think this shot is another contender for a page in the book.

acorn woodpecker2 low res