Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Mountains: from Arizona to New Mexico

Lucifer Hummingbird - notice long curved bill

We headed back east to the Hauchuca Mountains for a few days.  We spent several hours at MaryJo's Ash Canyon B&B where she has a great feeder arrangement with lots of chairs for birders.  The specialty here is the beautiful small Lucifer Hummingbird.  There were many Anna's, Broad-billed, Magnificent, Black-chinned and a "Costafer" which is a Costa's/Lucifer Hybrid.
Anna's Hummingbird

We then went back to Ramsey Canyon RV Park and walked to the Conservancy area each day.  It is such a beautiful area and the birds and butterflies were plentiful.
Head on look at Arizona Sister Butterfly

Ty again hiked the 5 mile round trip into the steep canyon for the Tufted Flycatcher that was still being seen.  This trip was successful and he got some nice photos of this tiny cinnamon colored bird that had nested above this mountain stream.

Acorn Woodpecker

Endangered Chihuahuan Leopard Frog in Ramsey Canyon ponds

We drove northeast toward Willcox stopping at Cochise Stronghold and Whitewater Draw.
Green Peach Beetle

There's not much water in the Arizona deserts so wherever there is, the birds gather.  Willcox Lake is really a sewage lagoon and it smells like it too, but we had 17 species of shorebirds, Eared Grebe, several duck species, and White-faced Ibis.  It was worth checking everyday as the birds kept moving.
American Avocets

We drove to the Chiricahua National Monument which is also called the "wonderland of rocks".  Amazing columns of rhyolite that with a little imagination you can see caricatures of animals and people.

Does that look like a dog hanging over that cliff?

As we descended from the mountains we could see the vastness of the Willcox Playa.  This was an ancient lake bed where fossils of Woolly Mammoths were found.

We crossed into New Mexico and passed the White Sands National Monument.  It was 104 degrees so we didn't linger but headed up the mountains east of Alamogordo to Cloudcroft.  It was 74!  What a relief!  We found a small RV Park and signed up for 3 days.  Nice seeing the many high altitude birds, plants and animals.
Dark-eyed (Gray-headed) Junco

Milbert's Tortoiseshell 

Western Aster

Striped Skunk, looks and smells the same - east or west

Rufous Hummingbird

We went a little farther north to Bonita Hollow for a couple days.  We put out our hummingbird feeder and had Broad-tailed and Calliope Hummingbirds within minutes.  Next day this male Rufous showed up and decided it was his feeder and chased all others away.
Hummingbird Trumpet

Next stops will be Bitters Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Carlsbad Caverns and into Texas and the Guadalupe Mountains.

Best regards from the hot and arid southwest.
Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

Monday, August 10, 2015

Patagonia & Santa Rita Mountains, Arizona

Snuggle time for Gambel's Quail

On July 29th we drove to Patagonia, a small village between Sierra Vista and Nogales, AZ. There we headed to the Paton's bird feeding house now run by the Tucson Audubon.  The wash before the area had about 8 inches of mud on each side so we parked and gingerly walked up the banks to the gravel wash and over the other bank on the grass.  There are many hummingbird and seed feeders that were hopping with activity.
Lesser Goldfinch

Violet-crowned Hummingbird

Vermilion Flycatcher

Broad-billed Hummingbirds argue over space

Thick-billed Kingbird

Next stop was the small roadside picnic area situated between high rock cliffs on the south and the Sonita Creek riparian area on the north.  This is one of the only places in the U.S. where Thick-billed Kingbirds nest.
Barrel Cactus in bloom

Pleasant Fungus Beetles

We were able to get a campsite for 3 nights at Patagonia Lake State Park.  Two days of peaceful birding but come Friday...hundreds of families arrived for days of boating, swimming, and fishing as this is the "only" lake for miles around.  Here's some of the great examples of God's creation that we found at the park.
Gray Hawk sounds off

Yellow-breasted Chat

Bell's Vireo on nest

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Green Peach Beetle

Chihuahuan Lubber - Flightless adult

Summer Tanager

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillar 

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly

We then spent 2 nights in the hot desert at DeAnza RV Resort between Amondo and Tubac.  We thankfully had air conditioning and a pool for a refreshing dip in this nearly deserted park.
DeAnza RV Park - Elephant Head and Santa Rita Mts.

Sweet 4 O'clock

Pena Blanca Canyon

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

After a stop south to Pena Blanca Lake, we headed north to Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains.  We found a campsite open for our three night stay.
Varied Bunting

Arizona Woodpecker

Colorful Broad-billed Hummingbird

Black-headed Grosbeak

Each day we went farther into the canyon, walked the trails and enjoyed the many birds.  We watched the feeders at the lodge and a small gift shop ("Kubo").  We drove one evening to the lower valley to listen for the Buff-collared Nightjar and had one fly right over us to the other side of the road.  A wonderful surprise but too dark for a photo.
White-lined Sphinx Moth

Spotted Orbweaver 

Costa's Hummingbird

This is as far west as we are going, heading back to Sierra Vista for a few days and on to Wilcox.  Fall migration has already started for warblers, hummingbirds and shorebirds.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann