Monday, December 6, 2021—Patagonia, AZ, and Two Lifers

Monday morning, we traveled east about 50 miles to the Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia, AZ. This is one of my favorite places to photograph birds, and especially hummingbirds.

Not long after arrival, a Violet-crowned Hummingbird began nectaring on a nearby feeder hung from the eave of the Paton house, indicating that it was going to be a good day. With tripod-mounted camera aimed toward a hummingbird feeder, a Violet-crowned Hummingbird showed up, fed, and perched on a nearby limb. He stayed there most of the morning, undeterred by birders walking nearby.  He was photographed many times that morning! 

A female Northern Cardinal hung around the tree for a while, maintaining a guard over its surroundings.

And then, a somewhat muted but colorful bird landed on the water container atop the hummingbird feeder. It looked familiar, and I opined that it was a Northern Parula. The volunteer expert ornithologist looked at the photo on the camera’s monitor and corrected the identification as a Lazuli Bunting. Though not exciting to the other birders there, it was a LIFER for me, whereas a Northern Parula landed on one of the feeders at the Norfork house several years ago. Photographing the Lazuli Bunting made my day!

Lazuli Bunting

The ornithologist suddenly got excited as he spotted a Rose-throated Becard high in a nearby tree. As we all tried getting a look and a photograph, it had its back to us. And then, it moved to another tree, hiding behind some dense foliage. Fortunately, it moved again, allowing a good look. Another LIFER observed and photographed. Along with the Lazuli Bunting, two LIFERS in one day will be an unforgettable experience!

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