Camp Chiricahua Jul 12—23, 2011
Posted by Rob Day
Paradise Road in the Chiricahuas: 8:22 AM, July 18th, 2011. With a great sense of relief, I note on our AM birding foray that Silver Peak suffered no damage from the Horseshoe fire that swept through nearly a quarter of a million acres of the national forest here. Days before on our arrival in Portal, the anticipated right turn onto Portal Road from the dusty San Simon Road revealed the ever dramatic prospect of Cave Creek Canyon. Viewed from Portal, the Chiricahuas seemed unaffected by conflagration.
While bird activity on Paradise Road is a little slow this morning, there are fine studies of Scott's and Bullock's Orioles in the scope. All three Myiarchus flycatchers—Ash-throated, Dusky-capped, and Brown-crested—are heard in the riparian forest, as comic Acorn Woodpeckers hawk insects above the sycamores. In the desert scrub nearby there is the distinctive descending whinny of a Ladder-backed Woodpecker as feisty male Rufous Hummingbirds sip nectar from an agave inflorescence. A singing male Blue Grosbeak is positively radiant in the scope in the fine morning light. Liquid song in the junipers across the drainage betrays a fine male Northern Cardinal; his improbably tall crest quivers with the vigor of his caroling.