- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - https://www.arizonabirder.com -

White Mountains, September

I spent a few days exploring the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona with my friends Melanie and Ed, and my camera. Here are a few highlights…

We stayed in Pinetop/Lakeside, a good choice for a birding base in the White Mountains, being within reach of all the major birding spots and having the best facilities in the area. We enjoyed a couple of walks at Big Springs Environmental Area on the edge of town, a charming reserve with spring fed pools, open meadow and pine forest. The plentiful summer rains have produced a riot of color.

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Ed and I spent a morning looking for, and finding, Dusky Grouse [8] at Green’s Peak, an impressive knoll which reaches an elevation of 10,200 feet. The views were sensational. We also visited nearby Carnero Lake, a particularly peaceful place at 9,000 feet.

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Dragonflies were everywhere, mostly Striped Meadowhawks and Variable Darners. I saw two new species of butterfly, a Hoary Comma and a female Nokomis Fritillary.

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On the way back from Green’s Peak we stopped briefly to take photos of the pretty Gooseberry Creek just outside McNary.

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We took a trip to Jacques Marsh which was productive as ever. At least six Soras were out in the open around the edges of the first pond, whilst the highlight was a splendid Terrestrial Garter Snake pretending to be a floating cat-tail whilst waiting for one of the plentiful frogs to come into range.

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We were based at Lake of the Woods in Pinetop. There is always something to see right by the cabins and around the lake. As usual Ospreys were fishing from the lake regularly and I was delighted to find a Madrean Alligator Lizard amongst the rocks along the nearby creek.

Osprey-Pinetop-10-0904-02 [33]Osprey-Pinetop-10-0904-06 [34]Madrean-Alligator-Lizard-Lake-of-the-Woods-10-0904-01 [35]

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It had been another fantastic trip to the White Mountains, which offers some respite from the scorching hot Tucson summer.