Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 4th: A Day of Exploring

My alarm didn't go off quite the way I wanted it to this morning, so I slept through it.  Another thing that could have happened was that I've been so tired lately that maybe I slept through the alarm and had the natural amount of sleep my body needed.  Who knows.

My desired location to explore today was the northern portion of Gila County, east of Payson, just below the Mogollon Rim and west of Forest Lakes.  Since I got up late, I didn't think at first I would go through with that plan.  After sitting around for an hour thinking of what to do, I stuck with my plan.  Lately I haven't been exploring places that others have explored all that much.  I really like that idea of finding my own things, unless someone reports something new for Maricopa County that I don't have, OR if there is a reliable Gila County lifer somewhere OR if some lifer shows up in Arizona that can't be missed.  Pine Grosbeaks that Jason Wilder recently found at Snowbowl in Coconino County north of Flagstaff really had my attention.  Coconino is probably the next county I'll try and get 200 species in.  I had second thoughts though, and decided that I would try and find my own notable bird in the mountains of northern Gila County just below the cliffs and slopes of the Mogollon Rim.  I didn't have anything notable by the end of the day, but you can't succeed if you don't try.  I was hoping for a Nutcracker, or with a lot of luck, a rare finch of some sort.  Even a Gila County American Three-toed Woodpecker would have been awesome.  Or a Gila County Northern Goshawk.  I didn't get anything to scream about, but I did get good exploring and scouting in for when I return to explore the area further.  Spots I explored were Sinkhole Trail 179 from the 260 Trailhead, Christopher Creek via See Canyon, and the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery.  Bird highlights did include Williamson's Sapsucker, Red Crossbill, Pacific Wren, Golden-crowned Kinglet, and a Greater Roadrunner in midst of pine and Gambel's oak forest.  It was the strangest habitat I've seen roadrunner in, and most of the forest was ponderosa pine.  Scrubby habitat of some sort wasn't close by.  Anyways, a beautiful area to explore and bird.

Photo wise, this Mountain Chickadee was cooperative and was awesome!

This Golden-crowned Kinglet was much higher than the Chickadee, but it is always a fun bird to see.

I checked up on Green Valley Park in Payson just in case a Cackling Goose would be back in play with the many Canada Goose there.  No Cackling.  But this Snow Goose was there, sleeping, and then, woken up from it's sleep.  I don't think I've ever seen a bird look this tired..

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