Sunday, April 22, 2018
Madera Canyon Meeting a Friend
I arrived at Madera Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountains about 4 in the afternoon on Thursday.
The campground, Bog Springs, was full. I drove the length of the Madera Canyon Road, it is only 8-9 miles long, just to get the lay of the land. You enter the Canyon from the North/west.... the road sort of runs Northwest to Southeast. I drove up to the Wrightson's Picnic area and right away I saw Bridled Titmouse (lifer)...never got a clear shot of a single one!
I got this photo of what I think is the Pacific Slope Flycatcher. (lifer) It basically reminded me of a RC Kinglet with a small hook on the tip of the bill.
I drove back down and was able to find parking at the Santa Rita Lodge and Gift Shop..they have feeders out.
Saw more of the same hummers I had seen at Paton,
violet crowned hummer
along with other good birds...like the Yellow Eyed Junco-->Lifer!
I didn't know that the lodge was at the county line so ebird got on my case I entered my checklist in one county and it crossed into another..."You can not make one checklist that covers 2 counties"....OKAY! Anyways I hope I got it straight. That one percent Sprint is always bragging about is not in the this hemisphere I'm beginnng to think. I used the ebird app to enter that checklist. It was getting late.
And we thought squirrels did damage..
I was tired and ready to park for the night...I was told there is dispersed camping down Proctor Road. So I went back North to Proctor. The road was terrible... big rocks sticking up and I had to cross the creek it had a good solid rock bottom, but then a very steep hill of dirt and gravel when pulling out of it made it sketchy!
Public lands have become nothing more than cow pastures! So all the good level sites were taken, and I kept looking I ended up right amongst the cows and the cow patties. The dogs were thrilled they sniffed, ate, and tried to roll in the cow patties...Holy terror!!
I am not a fan of ranchers using our public lands for grazing! They are polluting the water and ruining the delicate lands...the way I see it if you want to be a rancher you should be owning a sizable chunk of land and paying property taxes for it...and grazing your cattle there...not expecting the US public to pay for your cattle being fed and having to step in cow pies when we're recreating on our public lands! I got nothing against cows, ranchers yes!
The moon was awesome...me and the cows were happy.
March 30 Friday
In the morning I got up before the sun rose and headed to Proctor Parking lot...
no way I wanted to cook and eat with all the cow doody all around me so in the trail head parking lot no one was stirring yet...ate and got ready for the day, walked the dogs got them settled in a shady spot and lit out on the Proctor trail. The rumors of the Elegant Trogan: he was last seen in the Proctor to Madera area of the trail.
This is a 7/10ths of a mile section...The trails follow the creek, and so did I. Had lots of Yellow Rumps all over the place, as well as Ruby Crowned Kinglets, and then a really good bird the Black Throated Gray Warbler! My photo not so hot but as the ladies from Delaware helped me figure out it was the yellow supraloral above the eyes that sealed it.
On up the trail the rumors of the Elegant Trogan kept driving us farther South but I had the dogs stationed at Proctor
so I had to turn around and hike back...7/10ths mile...Walked them then moved the van up to Whitehouse Parking area and hiked South from Whitehouse to Madera. 1/2 mile from Madera to the Lodge another 1/2 mile...then back to the van so by then my feet had it!
Then there was the Painted Redstart! Yes!! Apparently it's very common and in the end I saw like 6! Thrilled.
Red Naped Sapsucker one of the Delaware ladies needed. There it is!
Red naped Sapsucker..lifer for them.
Lots of WB Nuthatches, Lincoln Sparrow, Hermit Thrush, Canyon Towhee, Bewicks Wren, as well as 8 Wild Turkey attacking the feeders at the lodge feeding station. An Empid/Contopus like bird behind twig cover someone told me it could be a Dusky Flycatcher. (it looked more like Willow to me, the wing bars were buffy in color, maybe even a Greater Pewee) Just couldn't pin it down yet.
I really coudn't tell...maybe it was. I hiked till my feet said NO MORE....I had racked up a nice list for my trouble and had 5 lifers with the Pacific Slope FC, Black Throated Gray Warbler and the Painted Redstart the Bridled Titmouse, and the Yellow Eyed Junco. (I guess it counts) So no Trogan -was a big disappointment but you can't see them all! I stopped at the gift shop for a treat watched the hummers fight and then went back to Proctor Rd and another night in the cow pasture! MOoooooo under the moon!
Santa Rita Lodge HQ
I had been texting back and forth with blog friend JO, Of Mom's Little Run Away...and we made arrangements to meet up for lunch at Proctor on Saturday about noon. Silly me, I forgot this was Easter Weekend! So Saturday morning early I heard lots of cars entering the park, I could hear the tires burring over the cattle guards...so I left the cow pasture early and staked out a table in the Proctor area only 2 tables there so I figured it would be the best place to enjoy a quiet meet. I had y breakfast there and left my 'kit' out to claim the table. Most of the other picnic areas are really large with lots of tables...
After I secured the dogs I hiked the Proctor trail once more and had some good birds nothing new. Met a very interesting couple from Indiana who have a website called the 19ers, or something to that effect....they only need 2 more owls to have all 19. Back at Proctors meeting JO was so much fun we chatted like old friends for a couple hours and it was just the best!! Jo witnessed my Flossie try to attack a man who made the mistake of walking towards us...so happy I had her tied up or I'd probably be in court as I type this! Man she really has people aggression more and more!
It was so terrific to meet Jo, see her rig, and I wished the campground had not been so full we could have camped together...Got so caught up in the moment didn't take any photos!! SO genuine, and that is what I really look for in people...being truly themselves and just a down to earth person, it was a pleasure. Hope we can meet again someday.
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Every day is a new Adventure.
at 6:00:00 AM
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Oh give me a home....
Willcox AZ is where I got off I-10 toward the Chiricahua National Monument on Hwy 186. In Willcox I saw this sign..
bird viewing area!
Of course I had to stop and see. And sure glad I did....I happened to be there to see a flock of about 15 White Fronted Geese land there turns out to be rare there...so that was cool...
Lots of Northern Shovelers,American Wigeons, Coots, Black Necked Stilts, American Avocets,
A couple of Greater Scaup and at least one ringed neck duck...
When I reached the Coronado National Forest and the Chiricahua National Monument I was not able to camp in Bonita Campground as planned, it was full...I can't do the reservation thing because I never know when I will actually be arriving and I may change my plan and take a completely different route...so I normally just do hit or miss...sometimes I hit it just right other times not so good. Along the way to check for myself, I saw the weirdest raccoon I'd ever seen just disappear off the road into the thicket. WTH?
So we ended up driving down a washboard Pinery Canyon Rd to a National Forest boondock spot. The dogs enjoyed some time off leash running around and we turned in early. Boy it got COLD!!
Nearly froze...woke up to frost on the ground...but we made breakfast there then back to tour the Monument. We stopped at the Erickson's Pioneer Cemetery containing the burials of the Swedish Immigrant family who settled here in 1888.
It was their daughter Lillian and her husband Ed Riggs who turned the old homestead into a guest ranch in the 1920's and it operated until 1973, Faraway Ranch. I went to check it out...a dude ranch...they would bring visitors up to admire the beautiful landscapes of the "Chiricahua" or Standing Rock as named by the Apache who once called this land their home. The Riggs helped and worked with the Forest Service to create and protect this land.
had an Acorn Woodpecker at the homestead
And in the parking area a Mexican Jay wanted a drink at the fountain...
We spotted Arizona White Tailed deer along the road...
This area was Cochise's last strong hold. I can just imagine him hiding in the Rhyolite Canyon.
After I strolled around the ranch grounds I drove up to the Visitors Center and got my Passport Stamped and bought one Collector's Coin. There was a sign in there "Have you seen me?" And it was the weird raccoon I had seen only it's not a raccoon at all it is a Coatimundi! WOW That's what I saw! This is the northern most point of their range.
We went to explore more of the park, driving up the Bonita Canyon Road that winds 8 miles up. We stopped at Massai Nature Trail where I took a short hike and saw some amazing balanced rock there...Chiricahua Peak is 9,763 ft. On the way down we lunched at the Sugarloaf Mountain Trailhead and the dogs got a walk.
And on the way back down I spotted another Coatimundi! This time I was ready with my camera.
they are in the raccoon family
I really didn't want to face the washboard road again so we left, the campground continued to be filled to capacity...we drove south to hwy 181 west to 191 south to Elfrida, and took the cut off road to the town of Tombstone, yeah that one, a tourist trap they take History and clone it into something more than it was... shouldn't it be left authentic? It was like a Hollywood Set.
Spotted these lark buntings on the road..
I filled my tank there snapped this photo of a Wyatt Earp bronze and got the hell outta there going north a little ways up to Hwy 82 toward Sonoita and Patagonia. Stopped for the afternoon and night at Patagonia Lakes State Park. We had an electric site not far from the water but the campground was packed.
The afternoon was spent dog walking, eating, showering, some birding and then relaxing in the shade till bedtime. Spotted this Phainopepla by the lake picking through the berries on this tree.
and this Bewick's wren bugging in the tree by our site..
In the morning I took the Birders Trail that runs alongside a cottonwood/willow thicket by the Sonoita Creek. Had a Vermillion Flycatcher, a Yellow Warbler and along with a couple from Ontario we all heard and later saw the Bell's Vireo. Yes! A lifer. Also had my first Broad Billed Hummer there! He was sitting up in the tree.
I didn't get to hike the whole trail as the dogs waited in the van not too quietly...I drove to Paton Hummingbird Center not far away. This is a place created by private citizens on their property! They have lots of feeders set up for hummers and some seed feeders and suet too. Had more Broad Bills, the Black Chinned, the Anna's (lifer) and the Violet Crowned (lifer)Hummingbirds...blown away
Also on the ground a Gambrel's Quail (lifer)!
In the thicket's we had Rufous Crowned Sparrows
And a Common Yellowthroat at the water.
An Inca Dove on the ground...
A Gila Woodpecker was at the suet as well as 2 Ladder Backed Woodpeckers.
Ladder backed wp
Acorn Woodpeckers were around, and a Green Tailed Towhee was on the ground with a Spotted Towhee!
Rufous Winged Sparrow
The dirt road behind the property is called Blue Heaven Road. Down this road is the Audubon Sonorita Preserve. I had hiked up a hillside across the road from Paton trying to see a Gray Hawk that I was told went by soon before...didn't find him so I drove down the road for the Preserve. I found the Gray perched in a tree back off the road a ways, got out and walked up to a point where I could try for a shot...Lifer again!
vilolet crowned hummer
Anyways I watched the hummers and tried for and got pretty good shots of the Anna's and the Violet Crowned female. I didn't hike the trails but a returning party had nothing to report that I wanted to go look for.
The dogs and I lunched here but I took my lunch by the van.... took the dogs out for a walk...before we headed South to Nogales and then north on I-19 to Madera Canyon. All in all a very good day!!
Broad Billed Hummer
Sorry for packing so much into each post I want to get back to real time! Up Next My weekend atMadera Canyon!
Every day is a new Adventure.