We went to two recreation areas along the Verde River in Tonto National Forest last week: Box Bar and Needle Rock. These areas are less than an hour from our house and we had never been there. In fact, I’d never even heard of them until recently and no one else I’ve mentioned them to has either. It was like stepping into Autumn all over again. It was gorgeous there.
Excuse the way-too-many photos. I’ll try not to blabber too much.
Great Blue Heron
As we walked down a path to the river’s edge at Needle Rock, I saw something move behind a tree. I thought a person was fishing or something but, no, this is who was there:
We were about 3 feet from him/her! I thought she had stuff from the river on her head from having her head in the water…
But it was a ton of cockleburs! Altogether we saw 9 wild horses there (and they all had cockleburs in their manes and tails).
The horses are used to people but still wary…fortunately.
These horses are part of the herd of Salt River Wild Horses mentioned in a previous post. They have a pretty large territory they cover. The ones we saw on the Salt didn’t appear to have these cockleburs, though. I hope there is some way they work off eventually.
The birding wasn’t good but the scenery and the horses more than made up for that!
Full disclosure: I have 2 cameras that we take on our trips so Tony takes many of the landscape photos. 🙂
We were in Page Springs the other day, which is technically in Cornville, close to Cottonwood. It’s known for having Page Springs Hatchery where they raise rainbow trout for sport fishing and for Bubbling Ponds Native Fish Research Facility. Both are owned by Arizona Game and Fish Department and are surrounded by a preserve where AZGFD and the Northern Arizona Audubon Society are engaged in conservation projects for the plants and animals. It is located on Oak Creek and has several miles of well-maintained trails which we were on.
For those of you who have real autumns, these shots won’t be that exciting to you but, in Phoenix, where fall doesn’t produce many changing leaves, we all get excited at fall colors. This area was not at peak yet, unfortunately, but it was still pretty. So here are too many fall shots of the area.
Maybe that was too many…sorry. The Important Bird Area was not full of plentiful birds, of course. No lifers here.
White-crowned Sparrows, male and female
Northern Cardinal, female
Nor did we see the River Otters which are sometimes spotted there.
This area is also known for its many vineyards and wineries.
We didn’t feel right not getting some souvenirs to make up for the lack of birds. It’s always nice to support the local economy…
Orange Sulphur (I think)
Our lantanas are filled with butterflies now, mostly Painted Ladies. I have never seen so many before at one time. This article might explain it.
Costa’s Hummingbird, female
Creosote Seed Pods
Lesser Goldfinch, bathing
I don’t like taking photos of butterflies with torn and tattered wings, too sad to know their lives are ending very soon, but it’s part of nature…
These photos were taken in our yard, the Desert Botanical Garden, and Dig It Gardens, my local urban nursery.
This is Lynx Lake in Prescott, AZ, part of the Prescott National Forest. We spent a rainy day up there this past week but, fortunately, the rain did let up now and then giving us time to walk around for quite awhile. It’s not that we’re afraid of the rain but I don’t like the cameras to get too soaked.
See the snag on the left side of the above photo?
It was a tree that seemed to attract these cormorants. There were actually more a few minutes later but this is the only photo I got. This guy was top dog in the tree:
This is the dam which is at the far end of the first photo.
Great Blue Heron
Red-eared Pond Sliders
It was another bad birding day, certainly no lifers. I hope my bird luck changes soon. As always, it was beautiful up there and much cooler than Phoenix but also very humid.
I guess we had not been to Lynx Lake for 7 years! Here are 2 posts I wrote back then (1 and 2).
We apparently stood in almost the same spot as the top photo in this post back then. Here it is almost exactly 7 years ago:
On another recent day when we had a reprieve from Phoenix’s heat, we headed to a destination about 30 miles away…Chandler, AZ…and Veteran’s Oasis Park, a new-to-us park. It’s a Chandler City Park with a community fishing lake but it also has several recharge (water treatment) ponds that are very wild. In fact, they are almost too wild to be able to see much wildlife but I’m sure the animals appreciate it. This is a very pretty park.
Black-tailed Jackrabbits galore
Turkey Vultures galore
Flame Skimmer Dragonfly
San Tan Mountains
Great Blue Heron
Blue Dasher Dragonfly
They have blinds scattered around to observe/photograph the wildlife but the reeds and other plants are so overgrown that there isn’t much of a view.
From the recharge ponds, you can look out over farmland…from arid desert to green crops.
Homes with a farm view