For all of you just signing up to follow our birding adventures, you may want to catch up with Southeast Arizona Birding Trip 1, Southeast Arizona Birding Trip 2, Southeast Arizona Birding Trip 3 and Southeast Arizona Birding Trip 4.
Now….on with the photos and our final Arizona birding report!
Day 27, 17th of May, Fri
We hopped in the Jeep and headed for Patagonia Lake State Park and Sonoita Creek Preserve. Not a lot of success birding but the drive was really very pretty and serene. However, we did manage to capture a few shots.
Day 28, May 18, Sat
We moved on to Verde Valley to bird higher elevations as we were just at the end of the spring migration and migrants were getting harder to find.
We arrived at Thousand Trails Verde Valley RV Resort (TTVV) around 6:00 PM after traveling 300 miles that day.
It was one of those no fun travel days. The trip should have taken only 4 hours instead of the over heated 9 hours. Yes, the A/C quit again! The plug was fried and so were kitty and I. I’m going to have to put a pool in the Kittybago, that’s all there is to it. Wound up to be a totally exhausting day. But, Chris, my hero got the A/C running again and we had power now so…we are good!
TTVV has no internet at the sites!!! I was of course very dismayed about this! Cost me a small fortune to conduct my business as I had to use my cellular plan and of course, went wayyyy over my allowance! Oh well, raise it to 10GB per month. Gotta do what you gotta do. Course, gotta watch Netflix on my Apple TV at night too! I think I will get that pool too. I’ll ask kitty if it’s ok to revamp the Kbago.
Other than the no internet thing, we really liked TTVV and ended staying for 9 nights. Situated on the Verde River, this 300-acre oasis in the high desert of Arizona is surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Red Rocks to the north, Mingus Mountains to the west, the Hackberry Mountains to the south and adjacent to beautiful Alcantara Vineyards! There were trails to the river, tennis, basketball, and horseshoes. And of course, a nice pool. The only think we were pretty bummed about was that one night they allowed 3 young families with lots of little kids (: camp in the spot next to us. No sleep that night!
Day 29, 19th, Sun
We went down to the river and saw lots of birds, including these Yellow-breasted Chats that Chris shot. Male is of course brighter yellow than the female.
He also managed to get this House Wren. He is so cute and was just siiiiinging away.
I managed to get this Lesser Goldfinch.
There were several bathing in the running stream that emptied into the river.
We spent quite a bit of time amongst the tall Oak trees down by the river. It was very serene and calming. After all, this was a day of rest for us!
Day 30, May 20th, Mon
We headed over 89A to Prescott to see our friends Bob and Jodi. We birded Mingus Mountain on the way over. YEAH! We got several new birds this morning which included the
White-breasted Nuthatch and the Arizona Woodpecker.
Bob and Jodi hosted a great lunch at their beautiful home. And we also got to see our long time friends Lorie and Kyle.
It was an exhausting day of travel, birding and friends so we were pretty well pooped out when we got back to the Kittybago. It was an early night for me but Chris stayed up and edited photos. Imagine that!
Day 31, 21st, Tues
Rested and oh yeah, while we rested we edited more photos and cleaned the Kittybago.
Day 32, 22nd, Wed
We headed out for Red Rock Canyon. No new birds but we really enjoyed the off roading on the Forest Service roads. Sure a lot of red dust tho!!
Day of restocking, laundry and pool. Thai food that evening in Cottonwood, AZ at the Thai Palace. Little dive place with a long wait and excellent food.
Day 35, 25th, Sat
We birded Oak Creek Canyon on 89A. It’s above Sedona, AZ and then moved on up to the Snowbowl above Flagstaff. And guess what….we got a new bird!
The Pygmy Nuthatch.
Day 36, 26th, Sun
We drove to Show Low to see Pat, Chris’s sister that he had not seen for 40+ years. Her son Jason and wife Sommer and baby boy were there to welcome us as well. We had a great lunch at Charlie’s Steakhouse in Lakeside, AZ. Very long day but great to meet more of Chris’ family. She could not keep her eyes off Chris all the time we were there and they chatted and chatted. We have maintained contact with her.
Day 37, 27th, Mon
Heading to Kingman, AZ for the night as we are starting our trip back West. We took off about 9:30 and got into Blake Ranch RV Park about 2:00, traveling 170 miles. We find the park is nice and clean, gravel spaces and good internet. But! Only one device allowed to be connected at one time. You see, this does not work very well for me. With two Macbook pros, an iPOD, iPHONE and iPAD…oh, don’t forget the Apple TV! One hookup at a time does not set very well. We find Kingman to be a real dust bowl.
Day 38, 28th of May, our 18th wedding anniversary.
Happy Anniversary honey, here’s your coffee, are you ready to go? Yep, let’s hit the road. Pulled out by 7:00 and headed through the vast dusty mirage producing Mohave Desert. I kept envisioning it full of water, lapping at the mountains surrounding it. It feels like we are in the middle of nowhere. And…we are. Winds were howling and the dust was blowing, but, kitty didn’t mind. She was confident as I that Papa would keep the Kittybago on the road. Maybe not on his own side at all times but, maybe…
We got into Lone Pine and Boulder Creek RV Resort about 3:00, driving a hard 370 miles. We were tired but, it was our anniversary so my honey took me out for a wonderful dinner at Season’s dinner house. Excellent! Truly a delighful culinary experience and our hostess with the mostess Jennifer was very nice, friendly and full of information about the Lone Pine area as she had grown up there, moved away and moved back to raise her young daughter.
For those of you that have not, you might want to read my previous Lone Pine Post.
Day 39, 29th, Wed
Lone Pine is a very intriguing place. We ended up spending several nights here as there is much to see and do. It holds the Alabama Hills, Cerro Gordo Mines, and Darwin Ghost Town. 1872 earthquake grave site and fault, Beverly & Jim Roger’s Film History Museum, Whitney Portal, Waterfall and Picnic Area. Lone Pine is an Oasis at the bottom of Mount Whitney. Again, I cannot tell you how intrigued I was with Lone Pine. It just reached out and grabbed me and….it did not want to let me go.
On our first outing, we cruised so many different environs, I was captured.
These are some shots of the Alabama Hills and our trip up Mount Whitney. Awesome.
The Alabama Hills held terrific scenery,and solitude. Tuttle Creek quietly flows through the hills and creates a riparian area. I can imagine the old time cowboys huddled around a fire in winter with the wind whistling through the rocks. We went up to 9,000 feet and had breakfast. It was a wonderful day of birding and site seeing.
We will stay another night to bird the wetlands. We’ll see what Mohalland and Los Angeles has left for the birds, if anything..
While at 9,000 feet, we ran into this Mexican Jay.
and this Rufous-crowned Sparrow
and the Rufous-winged Sparrow.
Day 40, 30th, thurs
After reading all about Owens Lake, we are off to visit wetlands north of lone pine. Pd $4.19 for gas. Highest yet.
It is such pleasure to gaze over the wetland (LAWPD restoration Project on lower Owens lake) and know what the beautiful bird is I see. Red winged blackbird. It’s brilliant red wing patches contrasting severely on its jet black body as it flies over the green habitat. Temps are rising. Lighting all wrong for shooting. American white Pelicans are overhead!
On our way back to camp, we decided to detour into Diaz Lake (The lake was formed by the 1872 Lone Pine earthquake on Tuesday, March 26 of that year when 18 mi (29 km) of the Owens Valley dropped approximately 20 feet (6 m) (see graben) and a new spring opened, causing water to fill the lowland.
We had fun shooting the Bullock’s Orioles. They are so pretty! On our way again and detoured to a gravel road beside our RV park. It took us out into Owens Lake. Or, what was Owens Lake. I am surprised that no one bombs the aqueduct! Link to toxic info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owens_Lake and necessary reading about birds: http://www.ovcweb.org/OwensValley/OwensLake.html. We were pleasantly surprised to find shorebirds in the restoration attempt.
black necked stilts, ducks and one heron. A very pleasant surprise indeed. More to explore in Lone Pine but we must move on for our date with our Lake Tahoe buds. Lone Pine area is such a jewel with a huge and looming disaster (Owens Lake).
On our way to Carson Valley Inn RV Park to visit with my buds for 3 days. 8:45AM. Windy! Kbago pulled conway summit over the mighty sierras just fine! 8200 ft. Arrived about 2:30, traveled 218 miles (2714 total). We pulled into the park and there was nobody to register us. We had to trek quite a wyas to hotel registration. Not what RVer’s want to do when they pull in after a days drive! We had all uses of the Inn. Nice trees, lots of birds. Very good internet. 4*, would have been 4.5* but registration was difficult.
Day 42, 1st, Sat
Went to dinner at Carson Valley Inn steakhouse that night and met up with several buds. We had all played A league softball together for many years in South Lake Tahoe.
Day 43, 2nd, Sun
We hunted for the Tri Colored Black Bird but didn’t find it. We went up to the Lake and cheered our good friend Judi’s bike ride over Spooner Summit for charity. She raised a ton of money for rare blood diseases. She’s always doing nice things like that. Good woman she is. My buddy.
Day 44, June 3rd, Mon
8:00AM pull out, we pulled in to Bridgeview RV Park on the beautiful Rogue River in Grants Pass, OR around 5:30.
Day 45, June 4th, Tues
Heading for Bandon, 8:30 AM pullout. Arrived early PM. A 3200 mile trip all total and wow, lots of fun and lots of photos. Thanks for letting us share our trip with you. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Notes: on our travels, there were several bad accidents. I silently prayed for the ones impacted as we slowly passed by and gave thanks for our safety.
Wild Mustangs, lot of them on the road.
I saw a 1968 California Special (my brother Barry had one of those!), turquoise with white stripes. It was the only car we saw stopped for ticket on the whole trip! Lots of Ford Mustangs on the road.
Tha tha that’s all folks!