Birding Blog Archives

June 9th, 2010

White Mountains

I spent a few days with Melanie, my ex-wife, and her dog Katie, attending a dog show in Pinetop. While I was there I managed quite a bit of birding and had a few nice highlights.Black-necked-Gartersnake-The-Shores-Gila-River-10-0603-05

June 3rd:
On the way north we stopped at The Shores by the Gila River just north of Globe. This is an excellent piece of riparian habitat. Melanie spotted this rather swish Black-necked Gartersnake. We arrived in Lakeside-Pinetop and took a trip to nearby Jacques Marsh, a man-made wetland full of wildlife. I saw my first ever Muskrat amongst other interesting things.

June 5th:
American-Three-toed-Woodpecker-Greens-Peak-10-0605-06American-Three-toed-Woodpecker-Greens-Peak-10-0605-30I took off early and tried my luck with Dusky Grouse at Green’s Peak. This mountain top stands at 10,133 feet and despite being over 90F in Pinetop, there were still a couple of patches of snow lingering in shaded places. The weather was very pleasant though and I had a great morning. Horned-Lark-South-Fork-White-Mtns-10-0605-14I couldn’t find any grouse but the consolation prize was just as good – a fine American Three-toed Woodpecker which gave me great views just below the summit. I explored South Fork and headed to Greer to look for American Dipper. Unfortunately I had unwittingly chosen “Greer Day 2010” which drew a significant crowd. I couldn’t find a stretch of river that didn’t have people paddling around in. I don’t know where the dippers were but they stayed hidden, not surprisingly.

Cordilleran-Flycatcher-Lake-of-the-Woods-10-0606-06Cordilleran-Flycatcher-Lake-of-the-Woods-10-0606-08June 6th:
I hung around Lake of the Woods in Pinetop and got some decent photos of Cordilleran Flycatcher. Ospreys were catching fish and Mountain Chickadees had newly fledged young. I tried Jacques Marsh again later but it was very hot and nothing much was moving.

Yellow-headed-Blackbird-Big-Springs-Environmental-Area-10-0607-03Yellow-headed-Blackbird-Big-Springs-Pinetop-10-0604-03June 7th:
Melanie and I walked Katie around the Big Springs Environmental Area which is a gorgeous mix of spring-fed marsh, open meadow and pine forest. The Mallards, American Coots and Pied-billed Grebe all had young, and the Yellow-headed Blackbirds were dazzling. On the way back to Tucson we stopped at Jones Water, another really top notch stretch of easily-accessible roadside riparian habitat which supported a huge variety of birds, including Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Indigo Bunting, Yellow-breasted Chat, Bushtit and much more. A great way to end the trip!

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