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November 24th, 2010
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Chiricahua Mountains 2

After an early breakfast we set out for a long day. We headed straight out of Arizona and just over the border into New Mexico, then south along the eastern edge of the Chiricahuas. We stopped at the landmark close to where Geronimo surrendered, then continued south and west to the border town of Douglas. From Douglas we headed back east on dirt roads, parallel to the Mexican border. Our destination was Slaughter Ranch, an interesting historical site which doubles up as a great birding locale. The avian highlight was a showy CRISSAL THRASHER, whilst mum and dad enjoyed exploring the life and times of the legendary lawman John Slaughter.

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After lunch we headed back to Douglas and north, into the Sulphur Springs Valley. Whitewater Draw was eventful as always, with thousands of SANDHILL CRANES roosting in the afternoon sun. There wasn’t much in the way of ducks or geese, but the ever-reliable GREAT HORNED OWL was in the barn, sheltering from the inevitable stiff breeze that seemingly always blows across this area, whatever the weather elsewhere.

As the afternoon drew to a close, we carried on north and eventually back east again, towards the Chiricahua mountains once more. The pass over the mountains is a fabulous drive, and at dusk it was particularly impressive. We arrived back in Portal in time for a nice sunset, then went back east for the last time of the day, to have dinner at the tavern in Rodeo, New Mexico. We finally arrived back in Portal around 10pm and were greeted at Cave Creek Ranch by a gorgeous Striped Skunk, which crossed our path and actually ran right towards the car before dashing off into the dark.

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