|Paige Creek/Miller Creek/Happy Valley Falls, AZ|
|Paige Creek/Miller Creek/Happy Valley Falls, AZ|| |
Paige Creek/Miller Creek/Happy Valley Falls, AZ
|Hiking||3.12 Miles|| 3 Hrs 15 Mns ||0.96 mph|
|I finally made it to the Rincons - in pursuit of a bird, of course! |
A Nutting's Flycatcher in the United States is an ABA Code 5 Rarity - a drop everything and go try to see it bird - and it had been seen reliably at Paige Creek for several days,so I went. The Nutting's looks nearly identical to several other much more common Myiarchus flycatchers, and is best identified by voice, but this particular individual happens to have a broken bill, so it's easy to be sure that you've seen the correct bird.
5am wakeup,two hour drive. Arrived just after two other cars containing four or five birders who started off in one direction - so naturally I went the opposite way ... the Nutting's was literally the first bird I saw! I heard it as I went through the green gate, then saw it across the creek. I followed it along the road for about 100 yards until I got decent diagnostic photos, then called it good. Life bird #323. The other birders spent over three hours looking - and never did see it.
I went back down the road to the Miller Creek TH, where I photographed a White-throated Sparrow before I even crossed through the gate - a good bird itself ... I didn't see one all of last year. I hiked and birded just over a mile on this lovely trail ... saw no one until I got back to the TH, where I chatted with a couple backpackers about to head out.
Happy Valley Falls
Steep but short hike up along the fence line to a small saddle, then drops into the creek just below the falls. Good route around the smaller falls on canyon left. Top falls were just a small stream, but the pool below was larger and deeper than expected. Sat under the falls with the cold water dripping on my head while I enjoyed the view and the solitude - heavenly!
Very happy with my first visit to the area - I shall return!
|Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with pigeons.|