Too much working…too little birding!

Poor Billy – now with a deadline pending, he is working all day!  We arrived at Rusty’s RV Ranch Thursday, but their WiFi is pretty minimal, so working is difficultt.  Sporadic emails & iffy internet connection.  Apparently they’re “working on it” with some new equipment, etc.  Time will tell.

We were, however, welcomed by a couple of real characters – these huge farm geese – and they honk, honk, honk whenever anyone comes anywhere near them.  Hilarious.  Apparently they often sleep in the spot we’re in now which has a great view of the west side of the Chiricahua Mtns, next to a little pond.

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I will be birding at the pond, since I won’t be going anywhere with Bill very soon!

Well, it was quicker than either he or I thought – Saturday afternoon we got out for a little drive into Portal to see what we could find.  We’re here about a month earlier than last year, so no Painted Redstart nor any hummingbirds.  Just the huge contingent of Acorn Woodpeckers, which they feed in a couple of spots on town.  Caught this guy looking!

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Also visited Cave Creek road and took a little walk where we found  one of the beautiful brown Arizona Woodpeckers (we love ’em).  Can’t yet get a male with his red spot on the head, but even females are pretty.

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Added a Red-naped Sapsucker.

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It is a  beautiful canyon, surrounded by stunning rock formations.

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Sunday we got a whole day out – yay!  Back to town to try to call an Elf Owl – which our friend Don had answer to a recorded call last year  – no luck however.  Here are a couple of shots of the post office & library in Portal.  It is a very tiny town (maybe a couple of hundred people?)

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We are also working valiantly to find a Montezuma’s Quail.  Here is the one we see regularly above the entrance to the birder’s yard in Portal.

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No more new birds at the feeders in town, so up to the top of the mountains to visit the George Davis house.  This woman has been feeding birds in her yard and compiling data for each year – for 15 years!  This is where we found a new bird for our list – Juniper Titmouse.  Just a record shot.

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Further up the mountain we searched once again in vain – for a Mexican Chickadee.  No luck, but another new bird for the list – Hairy Woodpecker.

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Also found a very large flocks of Wild Turkeys – just caught the tail end of them as they ran up the mountain – must’ve been over 20 of them.

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We came across flocks and flocks or juncos, and the woman from the feeder house said to be sure to check them out carefully, because sometimes there is one lone Mexican Chickadee among them…alas, no luck.

Back down the mountain we stopped at another feeder yard where we got some special photos for Moe:  male Northern Cardinal, male Pyrrhuloxia and female N. Cardinal.  This will no doubt help him with future identification!

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Couldn’t resist this Green-tailed Towhee – one of our favourites – as well as a shot of a Canyon Towhee displaying his breast spot.

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This was a full day’s outing and we surely enjoyed it.  Tomorrow Bill will need to go over his work once again, so a bit of laundry and housecleaning.

Monday a short outing along the state line road to the pond where we saw longspurs last year.  Also checking for Bendire’s Thrasher, but no luck in either case.  It was just great to be out!  Back for more work for Bill.  Tuesday more work for Bill plus a conference call.  More laundry and cleaning (starting to sound like a broken record).  We can’t make phone calls from here (no AT&T coverage – only Verison), so Bill has had to borrow the RV phone for his calls.

Wednesday another outing before another conference call.  Up the road past Portal up Cave Creek road for a walk.  Nearly freezing this morning (high predicted 20 and sunny).  Once the sun comes up it heats up quickly and this is what it looks like from the bottom of the canyon.

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It took some sun to get the birds moving!  Got a few shots, including, at last, the male Arizona Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsucker and one of the many varieties of Dark-eyed Junco – this one with a lovely rufous back.

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Here is one for Don – a quiz.  We know you will be able to do it Don!

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We leave Thursday for Van Horn, TX – then on to Big Bend National Park the next day for 2 weeks.  Probably no cell phone coverage here either – and limited WiFi again!

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