Southeast of Tucson, the vegetation changes to an oak grassland and pinyon pine mix, and the tongues of mountains dipping down to the grassland valley create canyons well worth exploring for their scenic beauty as well as the wildlife they harbor.
The oak grassland habitat of Ash Canyon area, southeast of Tucson.
In the backyard of MJ Ballator’s amazing garden at the Ash Canyon B&B, dozens of feeders of all types and sizes attract most of the avian wildlife and some of the mammals as well. A few examples of what we saw over the couple of hours we spent there…
An extended family of about 30 Mexican Jays patrols the backyard, helping themselves to suet, peanuts, and more. They are larger (and prettier) than the western Scrub Jay.
Acorn Woodpeckers are in charge here. They dominate the feeders, even excluding the jays from their favorite suet feeder. Males and females differ in the amount of black on the top of their head. Males on the left have more red, females on the right have more black.
Ladderback Woodpecker male, molting a few of its crown feathers
Gila Woodpecker (male) — close relative of our eastern Red-bellied Woodpecker
Tiny Inca Dove
Much larger White-winged Dove
Audubon’s Warbler, the western equivalent of what we usually refer to as Yellow-rumped Warbler, but now considered a separate species (again).
and there were more, too many to include. We missed the best time to visit here by over a month. In September, visitors can find all 15 species of hummingbirds that reside or migrate through southeastern Arizona. This is a must visit place!!