A recent 3 day trip to the White Mountains of Arizona, was just what was needed by 4 of us that needed a break from the Arizona summer heat. We had to deal with rain off-and-on for the first couple of days, but it was so cool and refreshing, none of us were complaining. Joined by Muriel Neddermeyer, Babs Buck, and Chris Rohrer, we had a couple of target birds as our goal. The first was the Dusky Grouse, which would be a lifer for all 4 of us. The second target species was the American Three-toed Woodpecker, which would be a lifer for 2 in the party. It would not be a lifer for me however, as I had seen one in 2012 and after 4 years, it would be nice to see one again.
In spite of 3 visits to the top of Green's Peak, we dipped on the Dusky Grouse, but we definitely gave it our best shot. However, on a side note, on our second visit and walking down the trail on the north side, we were stunned to have a very brief glimpse of a Gray Wolf, trotting down the trail and quickly out of view. After that brief sighting, it helped us understand the distant unusual barking that we were hearing.
The hunt for the American Three-toed Woodpecker ended with better results and a new life bird for both Muriel and Chris. We checked several spots where they had been reported in the past, with the Butler Canyon Trail in Greer being the most promising location. After our first visit and getting rained out, the second visit proved to be fortuitous for us. Once we got far enough up the trail and into the right habitat, then it was a matter of listening and watching and waiting. Sure enough, a male finally revealed his location. It wasn't until it flew to a different tree that we were able to get photos. While I failed to get photos of the yellow crown on this bird, Muriel and Chris did which was very gratifying for all since it was a life bird for them.
The rest of the photos in this blog are just some of the other interesting and cool discoveries that I found intriguing.
'Red-shafted' Northern Flicker
Pied-billed Grebe - Parent and juvenile
Pied-billed Grebe Juvenile
Sora - With an itch
Western Bluebird - Juvenile
Western Bluebird - Juvenile
Unknown flower with unknown ant.
Nokomis Fritillary - A very vibrant and colorful butterfly
Lobster Mushrooom - something new to me and it is edible.
As we were preparing to depart this area, I received a notice from a friend that a Tricolored Heron was discovered at the Gilbert Riparian Water Ranch back in the valley. So we hatched a plan to stop there on our return. Yes, it took us about 3 hours to return and when we did, we quickly got a slap in the face with the triple digit temperatures. But we persevered and went to the water ranch and split up. Muriel was the one the found it on pond 6. She quickly got the rest of us on it. What a great way to end the 3 day road trip!
All four of us had a very enjoyable 3 day trip with some good friends and some good food in Springerville, Arizona.