Google+ Mommy Moments with Abby: July 8, 2012 Chiracauhua Day 2

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

July 8, 2012 Chiracauhua Day 2

From Slaughter Ranch at the boarder we drove up to Chiracauhua National forest in hopes of seeing a Flame Colored Tanager.  We ran into some very nice birders who informed us that they had not seen the bird but found the nest.  Sadly, it was speculated the nest had been abandon and the bird moved on.  Talk about disappointment.
They did however, let us know of an amazingly rare sighting of a Short-tailed Hawk up at Bar Foot which was near a favorite hike of ours at Rustler.  So, with a new goal in mind we headed up further to visit Rustler and take a stab at the Short-tailed Hawk.  Now, about a year or so ago a large devastating fire had come through these mountains and the destruction they left behind was extra-ordinary.  Our trail once covered by woods, wild flowers, wild-life, and birds was burnt to the ground literally.  The campgrounds were gone.  What once had looked like a literal Fairyland or Pixie Paradise was all charred remains of trees.  It was amazingly sad and the thought of all that was lost in this area stabs one's heart.  We bid Rustler a sad fair-well and headed to Bar Foot.  Bar Foot had considerable less damage, but you could see the outlines of where buildings once stood.  We did see there an American Robin who had caught himself some lunch.  

A hungry hummingbird was stopping in for a flowery snack.

A crazy Yellow-Eyed Junco hopped down from the trees hopping around us and the car.  As we got in the car to leave he literally flew at us as if he was going to get into the car with us before suddenly landing and yelling at us from his stance on the ground.

We were about to head out when the hubby spotted a Mexican Chickadee hiding in a tree.

His friend the Western Wood Pewee was more visible from his perch in the tree.

Back in the car we started out of the parking area when something high in the sky caught the hubby's eye.  We got out and I took aim with the camera having to finagle it a little to get a focus on the bird.

It was the Short-Tailed Hawk!

He was catching a pocket of warm air at the top of the peak we could see through the tops of the trees.

We only managed a few shots before it started to drizzle sending him down into the peak's tree's and out of our sight.

Excited over our rare bird sighting we headed back down taking a few shots of the view around us.

Once down, we headed back to Ramsey Canyon and our room.  At the base of the Chiracauhua's, however, we spotted an Eastern Meadowlark.

He spotted us in return.
He made sure we got all sides of him in our photo's,

which is not a courtesy that all our bird friends offer us before disappearing in the bush and brush around them.

We stopped at the end of the road to turn and head to Willcox to meet up with the highway we needed to get to Ramsey Canyon and this Hooded Oriole was waiting for us, he was not as cooperative as his Meadowlark friend.

As we headed to Willcox we were lucky enough to get a wide variety of the Hawks that Arizona has to offer.

A Red-Tailed Hawk watched the road intently.

Another Red-Tailed Hawk seemed to defy gravity perching on this slight branches end.

A Swainson's Hawk flew above us as we drove.
Eventually stopping as we journeyed into town and onto the highway.
It was a day of unexpected finds, disappointment from missed birds, and frustration that a favorite spot of ours had been obliterated by a fire. Reaching the room we were exhausted from the roller-coaster of emotion the day had brought and the knowledge that we had another early morning ahead of us.

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