Canyon Lake Vista
We went on another new-to-us day trip the other day. We took the Apache Trail (SR 88) from Apache Junction to 6 miles past Tortilla Flat (Milepost 220). I spent hours trying to stitch these 3 photos above into a panorama but could only do two without it getting all bolloxed up. So I opted for using the last 2. Guess I need to experiment more.
Tortilla Flat (pop. 6) is a 115 year old former stagecoach stop that is now a tourist trap with restaurant, saloon, general store, mercantile, and museum, but the drive there is lovely and paved.
It’s rained a lot in our area lately due to 2 tropical storms. I’ve never seen such green Ocotillos; they almost looked plastic.
Boulder Creek Bridge, built in 1937
It was another cloudy day and there weren’t many birds cooperating. Here are a couple we saw by the lake.
Red-winged Blackbird, male
We saw a few Ospreys, going in for the dive, but no one came up with anything while we were watching.
Someone’s hide and hair; it is the Wild West
This is where we stopped, not so much because we’re chickens but our SUV is not a 4WD. We might rent a Jeep one day and do the rest of the trip. I’ve heard December is the best time to take the drive because of the fall colors. I think it would be pretty dramatic since I know you see Fish Creek, Apache Lake, the Salt River, and end at Roosevelt Lake.
Mexican Amberwing, female
Vermilion Flycatcher, female
October is a good month for Phoenix since the mornings and nights get cooler, although the days can still get hot. Right now, we have the remnants of Hurricane Rosa bringing us rain and clouds so it’s cooler than normal, high 70s-80s. Feels great after a long, hot summer.
The above photos were taken at Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden one day last week. I love the light there. I often see warblers there during migration but not this time.
The next few photos were taken yesterday at Desert Botanical Garden on a gloomy day. I mistakenly thought the birds would be out in full force but I was wrong again. There were a ton of Queens, though.
Gambel’s Quail, male
Sulphur with tattered wings
I just don’t know where all the migrating birds are!!! I keep looking. The following photos were taken in our yard last week. The skippers are out in full force.
Fiery Skipper in Lantana
Svengali does Elvis
It’s definitely beginning to look and feel like Fall here. Happy October!
We went back to the Mogollon Rim one day last week but to a different place, Tonto Creek. It was a sunny, breezy, cool (for us) day.
My 3 month streak of no lifers ended on this day with 2 new birds.
Common Black Hawk
These birds are not real common although they are known in that location. When they’re adults, they are mostly black but isn’t this one a beautiful bird? He’s learning young how to hunt the lazy way since he was at the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery and I imagine he can just swoop down into the raceways and grab a fish when he wants.
American Lady (I usually see Painted Ladies)
White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hummingbird Moth)
Swainson’s Thrush (2nd Lifer)
We still had a little time before we needed to head back to Phoenix so we drove on a few miles back to Willow Springs Lake. The only other time we were there it was cold and raining even though it was July.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
75° felt great!
Lesser Goldfinch, male
Some days it’s only around 100° here now! The difference between 100 and 110+ is pretty significant. It’s almost bearable to sit out in the shade for an hour or so. We’re still in our monsoon season, though, so it’s humid (for AZ). But there are signs that the season will change…maybe not totally for a couple months but, in just one month, our nights will become pleasant again and that will be a relief. Meanwhile there are a few other signs of better times coming…
The lantana is blooming and there are more butterflies…
Orange Sulphur (I think)
No migrating birds spotted in our yard yet and those that are here are still molting and rough-looking but the Lesser Goldfinches are more plentiful and everyone is more active.
Verdins, adult and immature
Curve-billed ThrasherInca Doves
Gila Woodpecker, male
Anna’s Hummingbirds, male
Black-chinned Hummingbirds, male and female
And he flew off into the light…
After McCain’s death, he wrote in his 2018 memoir, The Restless Wave, the Audubon Society will make [part of the land on his Cornville, AZ ranch] a special birding area.
“The thought of that pleases me very much,” he wrote. (azcentral)