Mexican Spotted Owl Southeast Arizona

Mexican Spotted Owl   photo by Carla Bregman

Mexican Spotted Owl photo by Carla Bregman

Beatty’s Guest Ranch, nestled in between the immense cliffs of Miller Canyon is one of my favorite places to go birding in Southeast Arizona. Hummingbirds abound, and this year as in many years we had a beautiful White-eared Hummingbird that came in very close to feeders. We observed seven of the 11 species of these tiny avian gems before starting up the trail, so it already seemed like a great day when we came eye to eye with a singing Red-faced Warbler. Eva was able to film it and, as it was our fourth day in a row of seeing this specialty of Mexican affinity, it edged its way further toward our vote of #1 Trip Bird. But then…. Competition! In a particularly cool and shaded part of the canyon, just after a stream crossing where heavy limbs of dense maples arched over the trail, Carla spied a Mexican Spotted Owl. Nonchalant is an understatement for the demeanor of this bird. It completely ignored us as we whispered in hush voices and backed off a bit not to disturb it. Two hikers walked by and joined our circle of admiration. We had heard it was roosting today ‘over the trail’ but had not expected it so close and so beautifully framed. Carla Bregman captured this lovely shot – thank you for sharing it Carla!


One thought on “Mexican Spotted Owl Southeast Arizona

  1. Peg, Thanks for posting my photo of the Mexican spotted owl. Spotting and viewing that imposing owl for such an extended period time was one of the highlights of my trip; and that’s saying a lot, because there were so many highlights, what with trogons, olive warblers, red-faced warblers, painted redstarts, and elf owls, just to name a few. The spotted owl, which seemed almost close enough to touch, was apparently unconcerned with us staring birders. The bird only rarely bothered to open its eyelids (revealing coal-black, lustrous eyes) and only occasionally swiveled its head over its shoulder, fully accommodating the photographers in our group. I, unlike the placid owl, could barely restrain myself from waving my arms excitedly and shouting to alert our group to the bird’s presence. I had never seen a spotted owl before, Mexican or northern; so, it was another “lifer” for me. But contain our excitement we did; the bright-green maple forest was perfectly quiet, except for the melodious repetitions of a canyon wren’s song in the background.

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