When the outdoor temperature at 5 a.m. is 77°F, it's difficult to plan for a cool day at the higher elevations of the nearby Pinal Mountains at Globe. Thus, at 57°, we were more than a little chilly and, driving with windows down to hear birds, the car heater was running!
With an early start on Russell Road, we expected, correctly, that the day would warm up but the car thermostat stuck at 57° (AZ freezing temp?) until we were headed home again when it leaped into the 90s. (100° at my house at 4:30 p.m.)
A breezy day isn't a great help to birders because birds fly in and scoot down toward lower parts of the shrub instead of perching up. But we were very happy with the different variety of songbirds, jays and nuthatches that came our way. Mostly, we enjoyed a single Autumn Day in the midst of what still seems to be our "October Summer" in the desert.
|Hinde Silver & Lois Lorenz at Sulphide del Rey Campground|
|Turning leaves a Pinal Mountain Peak|
Lightening started a big fire in the Pinals in early May. A decision was made to allow it to burn to benefit the environment by removing forest debris (leaves, needles, branches). Help from other fire fighters was used to help build a perimeter fire to make sure the natural one didn't leap toward civilization. Much of the perimeter work was done from Route 651 -- our birding route to the top -- which closed it off until just recently.
|Part of the controlled burn area; photo taken from FR651|
Because it let me take a picture, I thought it might be a very similar looking little bird -- a Hutton's Vireo that moves a step or two slower than the kinglet. But I didn't notice a hook on the beak and the eye area appeared to indicate it was a Ruby-crowned.
As we enjoyed more color in the forest, we came upon a woman out hiking. A real outdoors person, she related how she had just kept a bear at bay at a spring over and down the hill. Yikes!
No time left on our agenda for a hike to the spring; we were wrapping up and just allowing the autumn coolness to fill our pores for our return home.
It felt good to be back on the mountain.
* * *To view our bird lists, check the links below:
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39966537
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39966917
View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39967226