Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Madera Canyon Update

Update to the previous entry

I have plotted 8 of the reported encounters with the Eared Quetzal(s) of Upper Madera Canyon. A ninth report was limited to “Agua Caliente Trail.” If anyone can give a better estimate of a location (preferably GPS coordinates) I will update the map. In addition I have plotted the two Crescent-chested Warbler sightings to the best of my ability.

Eight data points is enough to make some preliminary observations. Elevations range from 5920 feet along the Carrie Nation Trail to 7330 feet on the Agua Caliente Trail. 25% of the observations (2) are from the eastern Old Baldy / Super Trail drainage, and 75% (6) are from the western Carrie Nation / Vault Mine trail drainage.

The observations fall into 3 clusters (see maps below). The first cluster is near the Carrie Nation / Vault Mine split about 0.75 mile from the parking lot. These three observations occurred at 9:30am, 11:00am, and about 12pm.
The second cluster is centered on the original observation at the top of the Carrie Nation drainage and is west of Jack Mountain. The times for these are 10:40am, 12:30pm, and 1:30pm.
The third cluster is closest to Josephine Saddle and is east of Jack Mountain. The times for these two data points are 4:15-4:45pm.

More observations would certainly help decipher any patterns. If you see or hear either bird please post, or email someone who can. You could even use the "comment" section below. Good descriptions of locations will help immensely (see Moez's for an exceptional example). Other observations or conclusions are welcome and solicited!

Here are some perspectives created in Google Earth. Green circles are quetzal, pink stars are Crescent-chested warbler sightings. Click for larger view.

looking south - all sightings with dates and times, trails labeled

looking south - cleaner, showing clusters of sightings

looking south - more of a ground perspective

Here also is a map of the location. I recommend the larger view. Green placemarks with black dots are sightings, the others are heard only. Purple is the warbler.

View Larger Map

Here is a list of all reported encounters of both birds taken from the AZNM listserv.

Eared Quetzal
October 28, 2007, 1:30-1:45pm. Seen Reported by: Laurens Halsey
Location: “Agua Caliente Trail, Santa Rita Mtns, Santa Cruz Co, AZ (about ½ mile west, or towards Agua Caliente Saddle, from Josephine Saddle”

October 29, 2007, 4:15 - 4:45pm Reported by: John Yerger
Location: “The subject area is about 0.25 mi west of Josephine Saddle, and is recognized by the short, dense oaks just right of the trail.”

October 31, 2007, about 12pm Reported by: Jerry Bock
Location: “perhaps a little more than halfway up the Agua Caliente trail from its junction with the Carrie Nation trail when I heard the call of the quetzal somewhere behind me and up the slope”

November 1,2007, 10:40am. Seen Reported by: Dave & Sharon Telford
Location: “a half mile from the Josephine Saddle on the Agua Caliente Trail (exactly 0.52 mi according to my GPS). We put a small pile of rocks at the base of a pine tree three feet up on the uphill slope to mark the spot. The Quetzal was 60 feet down slope about 20 feet high in a tree then it flew off to the SW.”

November 3, 2007, 12:30pm Reported by: Laurens Halsey
Location: “Our location was approximately the same spot that I heard and saw it last Sunday afternoon (31d41.50N, 110d52.26W), we were on the Agua Caliente Trail as described in previous postings. The bird vocalizing was downhill, northeast, and possibly a few hundred feet from our location.”

November 4, 9:30am. Seen Reported by: Wayne Irvin
Location: “The location was, at most, a mile farther upstream on the Carrie Nation Trail from the fork with Old Baldy Trail.
From Mike Brady: “Headed to the spot marked near the Carrie Nation trail where he saw the bird which was roughly 100 yards up from the Vault Mine trail head.”

November 4, around 11:00am Reported by: Mike Brady
Location: “We heard the bird vocalize a couple of times upslope in an area between the Carrie Nation Trail and the Vault Mine trail.”

November 4, 12:30pm. Seen Reported by: Mike Brady
Location: “Another birder reported seeing the quetzal around 12:30 up along the Agua Caliente trail. Basically it sounds like this bird is moving around, up and down a lot but pretty much sticking to the Canyon draw the Carrie Nation trail goes up.”

November 6, 2007, 4:15pm Reported by: Moez Ali
Location: “Take the Old Baldy trail from the parking lot and hike up about 1.5 miles to a very prominent hairpin curve in the trail that has a well-defined drainage crossing the trail, now marked with two large burnt logs making an "X" just above the trail. This is the main draw we first heard the bird, about 300 yards directly up from the trail. The draw acts as a decent trail to go up the drainage and the small side draw is about 200 yards up from the trail. This area would be a good bet for the bird first thing in the morning when perhaps the bird starts out lower in the drainage around the fruiting madrones and moves up canyon later in the day, perhaps accounting for the detections later in the day.”

Crescent-chested Warbler
October 30, 2007, 10am Reported by: Matt Brown
Location: “a little more than a quarter-mile west of Josephine Saddle. The spot was near a small saddle which separates the Temporal/McBeth Spring drainage on the left from the Hopkins Fork of Madera Canyon below and to the right. The bird moved close to the trail in small silverleaf oaks”

November 6, 2007, 9am Reported by: Jim Ambrose
Location: “along the Old Baldy Trail... about half way between the trailhead and Josephine Saddle. On his way down it was about half a mile up the trail.”
The bird was reportedly in a huge mixed flock on the trail. (Moez Ali)

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