A Trip to Paradise – George Walker House

We left from Miller Canyon early and drove to Rodeo, New Mexico.  The two hour trip went by fairly quickly.  It was almost 100F, so neither of us were in a hurry to leave our air-conditioned car.

Black-throated Sparrows can be seen in many places along the route.

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We arrived in Rodeo, New Mexico and I always stop at the old abandoned gin mill in town. I found a pair of nesting Barn Owls here and its always worth a look.  As we approached the mill two birds flew out but to my surprise they were Great Horned Owls. Still a good bird to see but I wonder what happened to the Barn Owls.

Moving on towards Portal on Stateline Road, we encountered a trio of Zone-tailed Hawks. We stopped briefly in Portal to pick up a few supplies, and headed down the road into Cave Creek Canyon, stopping at the Research Station to see what Hummingbirds were around.

It was close to noon and the Hummingbirds were scarce but we still managed a few good sightings.  Most of the bird were staying in the shade, temperature was hovering at 100F.

BLUE-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD
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Behind the feeders there is a small stream, you never know what you’ll find along its edge. This lovely Flame Skimmer was a great new find.

FLAME SKIMMER
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A Western Wood-Pewee was hawking bugs from a NEARBY metal fence post.

WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE
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Moving on we headed to an area where Mexican Chickadee’s had been reported, but no amount of listening, scanning and lastly playing their call produced a single bird.

We arrived at the George Walker House and were greeted by Jackie and shown to our cabin.  I take that back, this is a lovely home and it would be ours for a few days.  The back bedroom has a double bed. The front bedroom has a double and a twin bed. That it has Wifi, was a pleasant surprise.

http://www.thegeorgewalkerhouse.com

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The kitchen was fully equipped and stocked with food, you only need to bring whatever your drinking and fruit. Jackie has thought of everything. You’ll know what I mean when you visit.

We cooked our supper, and left just before dark driving the gravel roads in search of a Common Poorwill but after 3 hours of driving we could not find one.  We stopped and played the call, many could be heard in the distance but nothing close.

I had gotten a photograph of mine a  few years earlier on Poorwill Lane near Portal.

CommonPoorwill

We returned to Walker House, both exhausted from the long day, we had  a quick glass of wine and fell asleep.

Next morning found us at the feeders, there was plenty of activity.  Grosbeaks, Titmice, Jays, Hummingbirds and Orioles were coming and going.

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MAGNIFICENT HUMMINGBIRD
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BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD
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JUNIPER TITMOUSE
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BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK
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MEXICAN JAYS
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We left later in the morning for Rustler’s Park in the hope of finding a Mexican Chickadee for Rick. The drive up takes about an hour unless your looking for birds, then it can take forever. The scenery is awesome on the way up, road can be rough and as always keep and eye on the weather.

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You can find Pygmy Nuthatch, Olive Warbler, Red-faced Warbler, a variety of Flycatchers and with luck Mexican Chickadees.

PYGMY NUTHATCH
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OLIVE WARBLER
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CORDILLERAN FLYCATCHER
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We searched all the way up the road, stopping often, listening, playing the call as we went. About a mile from Rustler Park, Rick and Dave heard bird activity coming from a little low area to our left. We could see the birds coming to a log and realized it was full of water. Black-throated Gray Warblers, Junco’s and Orioles were coming in for a bath. We then saw what we’d been looking for Mexican Chickadee’s, two of them having a bath in the log. These birds were far away but easily identifiable through the scope.

MEXICAN CHICKADEE
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On the trip back down the mountain we stopped a few times but you could tell a storm was brewing, no time for birding, getting off the mountain was a priority.

We made it all the way to Portal, the rain coming down in buckets, the monsoons rains were amazing.  Anyone who has been to Cave Creek has seen this view, but not often in the rain.

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There wasn’t going to be any searching for Poorwill’s tonite….

Thanks Jackie

Ciao for now…..

 

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