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Nature Photography - Done Naturally

Elegant Trogon

Trogon elegans

Pardon my language, but this was a honest-to-goodness HOLY SHIT!!! kind of a moment for me as a birder. I had a work trip to Tucson in November of 2015, and given that the Tucson area is my idea of heaven-on-earth for birding, I took 2 days of my own time to go birding.  It's not the ideal time of year to bird the region, as many of the rare summer birds that make far southern Arizona so special were gone for the winter. Still, I headed south of Tucson to the famed Madera Canyon, to see what I could find.  As expected, it was a bit slow compared to the spring and summer months, but it was still fun, seeing many hummingbirds (mostly of "just" 2 or 3 species) and some other birds that I don't find in South Dakota.  I decided to drive a short distance to Florida Canyon to hike up for a very rare Rufous-capped Warbler that had been seen in the area. I struck out on the warbler, but as I was walking by a stream near the parking lot, I caught a glimpse of color and motion out of the corner of my eye.  My first impression as I started to notice it, that's a big, colorful bird!  I stopped and turned to track the movement, and to my utter astonishment, saw this gorgeous Elegant Trogon alight in a big oak tree right next to the trail.  It's not unheard of for Elegant Trogons to remain in some of the canyons of Arizona in the winter, but for the most part they're found in the summer months. Seeing a Trogon wasn't even on my radar on this trip, so having this gorgeous creature fall into my lap was one of the biggest treats I've ever had as a birder.  A true "Holy Grail" bird for North American birders, and I feel extremely fortunate to have lucked in seeing, and photographing, this bird.

Elegant Trogon - Trogon elegans

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