We went back to Seven Springs in Tonto National Forest a few days ago. We had been there in December but we totally missed the turnoff to one area that I have since found out is really birdy called Lower Camp Creek, an interesting foresty area down in a canyon with a lot of really nice cabins. There were a ton of birds in all the trees and I got 4 lifers there!!!! Sadly, I am embarrassed to post most of the blurry, branch-obstructed photos I got of those four but they were:
The other three were:
Yellow Warbler (which I have been wanting for a long time)
We also saw many other birds including Bushtits, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, a Cooper’s Hawk, Black-throated Gray Warblers, a MacGillivray’s Warbler…tons and tons of tiny, fast-moving birds that didn’t want to come out in the open, plus:
Lots of these guys flying around:
And we saw this huge, beautiful butterfly which is Arizona’s State Butterfly:
We then continued on the dirt road that leads to Seven Springs itself but, first, we took a turnoff on FR 562 to Humboldt Mountain where there is a FAA Radar Facility. You can drive all the way to the top on a nice, paved road that is also very narrow, wide enough for one vehicle only, full of hairpin turns, switchbacks, and dropoffs but it has guardrails and frequent pull-outs in case you meet anyone coming from the other direction. Fortunately, we didn’t. This is a photo of the mountain with the “Golf Ball” from the last time we went (here).
It was spectacularly beautiful up there with 360 degree views. From the Golf Ball looking down:
We could see Horseshoe Reservoir, the Verde River, farm fields, mountains as far as you could see:
And finally the road heading back down:
Really, that was my favorite part of the day, even more than getting all those lifers. We then headed back on the dirt road to Seven Springs.
Heading into Seven Springs, you cross a creek that flows over the road so this photo, above, was taken from inside the SUV. Very pretty.
Guess what? I got one more lifer at Seven Springs, bringing the day’s total to FIVE!
All in all, an awesome day!