Parrot Photography in Southeastern Az

At the beginning of May, I journeyed to southeastern Arizona on a wildlife photography trip. This really is one of the southernmost areas of the usa. Thanks to its dry wilderness environment, the species listed here are quite different than those found in many other parts of North America. After arriving, it didn’t consider me long to realize that southeastern Arizona is truly an amazing natural treasure.

Table of Contents

Beginnings of the Trip

I were only available in Tuscon and was instantly awed by the endless scenery of Saguaro cacti. Nevertheless , it was the Chain Cholla cactus that greeted me personally more directly, after I accidentally brushed my bare provide against this curious plant. This took half an hour to pull the particular thorns out of my skin.

Nikon Z6 + 50mm f/1. eight G @ 50mm, INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG 100, 1/320, f/6. a few

Unlike the thick, Boreal forests of Canada, I could notice quite far in all directions. I believed this would make it easy to find and photograph birds and maybe even other animals. In some ways this was true, but in others, pictures in Arizona turned out to be quite a challenge.

In fact , I saw maybe three atmosphere during the entire trip, plus none of them ever obstructed the sun. With an open landscape plus full sun, I realized that I would only have decent light in the first three hrs of the morning and in the last three hours of the night time.

Unfortunately, this particular meant waking up at close to half past four in the morning. Thankfully my time zone at home was three hours ahead, which made getting up slightly less painful. In fact, it was worth a bit of sleep loss, since the low sun gave me nice light once i found good compositions.

Western Wood Pewee — Nikon D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG 450, 1/4000, f/5. six

When it comes to Tuscon itself, I found there were many decent parrot photography opportunities at Tuscon Mountain Park and Sweetwater Wetlands . Pure (i. e. non-photographer) birders will probably tell you in order to skip Tuscon, but the opposing is true for photography. I actually almost always find that there are great opportunities on the outskirts of a city to photograph wild birds.

Gambel’s Missy. Nikon D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, ISO nine hundred, 1/320, f/5. 6

Arizona is also known for its reptiles, including many small lizards. However , after trying to photograph them, I realized that it would be essential to have a lens with a good close focusing distance – certainly not a macro lens, but something that could reach about 1: 4 or one: 3 magnification . My Nikon 500mm f/5. 6 PF maxes out at about 1: five. 6 magnification, which is not terrible, but it’s aimed toward slightly larger subjects. Since I wasn’t primarily after lizards, I decided I would simply take any shots I could with my 500PF without worrying an excessive amount of.

The particular Madera Canyon

After Tuscon, I traveled to some canyon habitats, starting with the Madera Canyon. Only about 50 km away from Tuscon (or, sigh , about thirty miles, since I  was traveling in the US), this particular place is a birding paradise. The canyon formation between two fairly high highs produces a moister environment with trees and even little streams, which is quite different than the Saguaro-dominated vistas around Tuscon.

Yellow-eyed Junco. Nikon D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG 1600, 1/1000, f/5. six

The particular highlight for just about any bird professional photographer will probably be the Elegant Trogon, pictured below. The 43 Trogons of the world really are a curious bunch of birds residing in many areas such as Central and South America, Africa, plus southeast Asia.

However , the Elegant Trogon is the only Trogon which can be seen in the United States, and southeastern Arizona is really the only dependable place to see it. In fact , the northernmost tip of its variety extends from Mexico straight into Arizona, nicely touching the particular Madera Canyon.

I wasn’t sure I would find the Trogon, but We ran into some ample birders who took me walking with them to find birds. Most birders are way more serious than I am about selecting new species, and our new friends were no exception. With their perseverance, we came across the Trogon and many other varieties as well. I really do appreciate how helpful and ample other birders are at posting their knowledge and info.

Elegant Trogon. Nikon D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, ISO 1800, 1/500, f/5. 6

The Chiricahua Mountains

I finally ended up in Portal, a very little town about 300 km / 185 Freedom Models from Tuscon. This captivating town is at the base from the Chiricahua Mountains, which offer remote and peaceful hiking in a species-rich environment.

Panasonic G9 + Laowa 50mm 2X Macro @ 50mm, ISO 640, 1/2000, f/7. 1

Honestly, I was stunned by Portal because I got never been to a more birding-friendly town. Many residents have feeders and invite people to stand outside their property to view the birds. One proprietor even had a little trail built on their property that ended in a viewing area with feeders. Just outdoors Portal, there is also a volunteer-maintained “Sulphur Canyon” tank, which is a little wetland and revegetation area designed to provide a resting location for migratory birds.

In Portal, I made a decision I would not try and chase after rare species but rather just climb the “Silver Peak Trail” mountain in the sunrise and enjoy some noiseless hiking. My photography hence became a bit more opportunistic rather than focused.

Canyon Towhee. Nikon D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, INTERNATIONALE ORGANISATION FÜR STANDARDISIERUNG 160, 1/800, f/5. six

In fact , although I can be intensive in my quest for new photographic opportunities, during every journey I try and take time just to be present in beautiful scenery and put my camera aside. I think it’s time nicely spent.


I really enjoyed my time in Arizona. From being surrounded by magnificent cacti to climbing the Chiricahuas, I had been constantly humbled by the beauty of nature. It was a great opportunity to being among numerous beautiful animals, to photograph them, and to share these types of photographs in this article.

Nikon Z6 + 50mm f/1. 8G @ 50mm, ISO 100, 1/1000, f/2. 2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.