|Eastern Chiricahuas Holoholo, AZ|
|Eastern Chiricahuas Holoholo, AZ|| |
Eastern Chiricahuas Holoholo, AZ
|Car Camping||5.00 Miles
|Car Camping||5.00 Miles||2 Days |
|I'm still trying - and failing - to start real hiking again. Oh well, I'll call car camping two weeks in a row a victory ... especially when a trip adds two birds to my life list! |
I wanted to go somewhere with more birds than people, and I succeeded - though there were far more people here than I've seen before. A volunteer at the VC said they're seeing about twice as many people on a daily basis than ever before.
My first stop was the aforementioned Visitor's Center, and as per usual I saw my first deer right there in the parking lot. There were many, many more to come throughout the trip, everywhere I walked or drove (or sat).
This is one of my favorite contact stations anywhere - the volunteers are always friendly, and some are very knowledgeable (ask for Laura for bird info!), and they have great reference books, several hummingbird feeders, and live animal displays (gila monster, rattlesnakes, etc.).
I was told there that Sunny Flat CG was full - that's ok, I intended to try a different one this time anyhow. Drove through Idlewild (a few sites available, but not what I was looking for), then grabbed one of the last two spots at
Stewart (there are only 6 total). I couldn't have asked for a better site than Stewart #4 ... tucked away in the back corner, level-ish parking for my CR-V Camper, great privacy, and a private path to a nice spot on the (running) creek 15 steps away.
Before I even got settled in, I had a good look at a Painted Redstart - I have seen them more than a few times before, but they are always beautiful and fun to look at ... as Laura from the VC said "what a great bird to have for a "trash bird"!
Next I was buzzed by the biggest hummingbird I've ever seen! I didn't get a look at its gorget, but I noted white eye stripes and it's surprising un-hummingbird like chirp. A later consultation with bird book and Laura identified it as a Blue Throated Hummingbird - add that to the life-list! The feeders at the VC then provided me with sightings of #2 and #3 ... and I later discovered that my campsite game-camera caught an image of #4!
First walk was Cave Creek Nature Trail to the VC, then back along creek and road. Encountered a young hawk (Red-tailed, I think) in the woods who was having trouble achieving flight - probably because hawks of his size and shape do not belong in tight trees ... a fact which the young one was in the process of learning.
Next stop was Portal Cafe for dinner to go, and a look at the Great-Horned Owl sitting on a nest in the Sycamore just outside the Cafe. I could only see her from her eyes up, but she was beautiful. Last year one of her chicks fell out of the nest and some locals put it in a basket and hoisted it up the tree ... she took care of it in the basket and successfully fledged both chicks.
Second walk was another CCNT loop - this time in the opposite direction, to and thru Sunny Flat, then road to Canyon Vista - a great little 200 yard hike to a view that you can't beat for the tiny effort! Found a great unofficial trail from the Vista directly back to Stewart CG - nice.
Spent some quality time in my camper reading "Grand Canyon Women" before lights out.
Game camera showed 44 degrees when I got up and moving around 6:15 a.m. Enjoyed another morning fire, and rescued a scorpion who crawled out after I tossed his log on the fire ... unfortunately I accidentally incinerated a black widow who did not crawl out in time. Ran to the Cafe again for breakfast and encountered a few javelinas, then came back to an empty Campground ... all the others had run out to go looking for birds, while I chose to sit back and let the birds (and deer) come to me. Acorn Woodpeckers, White-Breasted Nuthatches, Mexican Jays, Pink-Sided Juncos, etc. And the second new bird this trip for me - cute little Bridled Titmouse! Camp mornings like this are the best.
Finally broke camp, and one last trip to the VC where I planned to leave my car while I wandered around further - this after abandoning earlier, more ambitious plans to hike Silver Peak. After more pleasant conversation with volunteers and other birder/campers, I spontaneously decided to instead drive Forest Road 42 through the mountains, exiting at the National Monument. What a great drive! I stopped several times for views and to check out some of the many fine dispersed car-camping sites along Pinerey Canyon for future reference. Good stuff there.
Very happy with my trip.
|Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with pigeons.|