Saturday, September 3, 2016

Vaporizing Cold Rub

Photo courtesy of Babs Buck.  Left to right, Gordon, Me and Muriel
The intense desert heat lifted as we entered the autumn like weather near the town of Greer. Finally!  It was cold again!

The abandoned South Fork cabins
We found an abandoned camp littered with old mattresses and broken glass.  Our mission was simple......find two tricky birds, the American Three-toed Woodpecker and Dusky Grouse.

Left to right, Muriel, Babs and Gordon
I joined Babs, Gordon and Muriel as we searched high and low for these two would-be-lifer birds.

The storms hindered much of our stay, often chasing us off the trails due to intense lightning storms.

Olive-sided Flycatcher at Butcher's Campground
The wildlife was cooperative. Maybe too cooperative. At one point, we encountered Mexican Gray Wolves on the trail.  We left the dark woods quickly.

Squirrels. Wolves. Deer. Elk. Coyotes. Chipmunks. Coyotes.  All seen while searching for our birds.

Abert's Squirrel
A juvenile Olive-sided Flycatcher made everyone happy as it hung out near the road bathing.

Often times, this bird hangs out high up in the trees far far away from photographers.

During the bad weather, we stopped at some great eats in Springerville. Booga Red's and Los Dos Molinos provided some tasty Mexican dishes spiced up with green chiles.

At the dawn's early light, we searched for American Dippers and Gray Jays.

We combed the grasslands for Mountain Bluebirds and Pine Siskins.

Pine Siskin
We were surrounded by life everywhere.

Gray-collared Chipmunk
We encountered young and old alike.

Adult and Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe
And eventually, after a lot of hard work, we found JUST ONE of our target birds. The amazing American Three-toed Woodpecker.  FINALLY!  After 4 lifetime attempts and about 100+ hours of trekking over the years, I found my bird.  Whoever said birding was "easy" needs to have their head examined.  It's not easy!  The more birds we find; the trickier the game gets.

American Three-toed Woodpecker-new lifebird; found on the often reliable Butler's Trail in Greer
The rain won't keep us away:)  My treks move forward to coastal waters with a special lady.  I will return home to the frozen North.  And in the meantime, we'll be meeting up with old friends(and new) again on the trails both here and elsewhere over the next two months. 

A fun shot.  I'm reenacting my happy hobbit side on the trails
A special thanks to Gordon for driving the several hour journey from Phoenix! One chapter of my life is ending and another is just about to begin. Over the next several months, things are about to get good. It has been a difficult year with a lot of hard work involved, but I see a light at the end of the tunnel and things are going to get exciting:)  For my international friends out there, I'm coming your way:)  As of now, I'll be on blogger hiatus for a couple weeks.  I'll be back again reporting from the trails. Until next time....


  1. A wonderful post Chris with super photos - love the cute chipmunk in particular. I always enjoy reading your posts and seeing the great wildlife you encounter. Well done on the new "lifer" and I look forward to hearing where you are planning to visit next :)

  2. Great read, Chris, but oh such much better as we lived it!!
    Don't really know what your next adventure involves but will hear about eventually, I'm sure. Best to you as you move forward.

  3. well with nothing else you are persistant in your search for target birds and atleast you got one of the birds but many more interesting critters along the way

  4. What a great looking place in the first 2 photos. A shame about all the mess though. You captured some wonderful wildlife photos.

  5. Hello, great post and report. You did see a lot of critters. The birds were wonderful too, congrats on your woodpecker sighting. Happy Birding!

  6. Everyone looked to be having a grand time of the adventure,you got some great photos to remember,I believe the one little bird is a flycatcher,good luck with your new adventures!phyllis

  7. You left us in suspense there Chris. Hope you're heading to England.

    A good read as usual. I enjoyed that trek through the woods even though I would have loved to see a picture of the grey wolves. Are they really that dangerous?

    Congrats on the woodpecker find. No, birding is not an easy thing to do.

    1. The wolves are not dangerous alone but there was a wolf pack. We were the only ones on the trails so it's best not to tempt fate. Normally, they are shy of humans. But like a Mountain Lion, Bear, always want to give them plenty of space:)

  8. Great post and beautiful photos of birds!

  9. Hello!:) Congrats on finding the Woody you were looking for, and thanks for sharing such great wildlife captures, in particular the Olive-sided Flycatcher, and the cute Chipmunk images.

  10. Greer looks amazing! Wish I could take a trip right now but alas we will be leaving AZ behind soon. international trip soon! Wow, I can't wait to see! horizontal rain here! :-)

    1. So excited for you. And happy we didn't get any horizontal rain! I hate the water damage!

  11. We humans sure do trash the landscape, don't we?

  12. lots of beautiful wildlife :) Enjoyable to read.

  13. o, you are going to CR. You will love it there as I did. I hope to see lots of posts from there when you get back home. Including the Snowcap. :):)


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