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

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