White Mountain Audubon members at Wenima Wildlife Area
2007 Archived Field Trip Reports
Fieldtrips are regularly held on the third Saturday of the month and meet in the parking lot of the McDonald's in Pinetop at 7:00 A.M. sharp. Special trips and afternoon fieldtrips are as scheduled. There are no regular trips in December, January, or February, but look for our Christmas Bird Count and other special events during the winter. For a schedule of upcoming trips, go to our Calendar. Bring binoculars and a scope if you have one. You should plan to bring a sack lunch, snacks and water for the day. Most fieldtrips last until the afternoon. All of our trips are open to the public. They are free with the exception of paying for rental vans or entrance fees on some occasions. Please plan to leave your pets at home. While on the trip please refrain from making loud noises. Most trips involve some moderate hiking. If you have any questions about fieldtrips email us. Hope to see you there!
FIELDTRIP REPORTS: 2007
North American Migration Count May 12, 2007
Ahhh, the typical spring day in the White Mountains…cold and sandy, with a chance of snow. No doubt that played a role in the fact that only three people showed up at our designated field trip meeting location—trip leader Bart Stegman, Pat Yovonovitz, and myself. Shivering in the parking lot, we decided that no matter where we went, "good" birding would be a risky venture. So why drive all the way to the Blue River? In this wind?? We did the all-American thing and voted (unanimously) to venture only as far as the Round Valley area and bird such locations as Wenima Wildlife Area, Becker Lake and so forth. Plus, as Pat and Sue found out, they both shared a fondness for some of the antique and craft stores in metropolitan Springerville, and felt there was a distinct possibility that a shopping diversion may be in order should the birds not venture out of the deep brush. Bart decided to return home to pick up his family, and promised to meet us at Wenima, our first spot.
Once at Wenima, I recalled to Pat the day that several of us Auduboners volunteered to place nestboxes at both Wenima and the Sipe Wildlife Areas. While the wind was not nearly as awful as it was on that day, it was enough to remind me that our northern Arizona winds can really dampen a person's enthusiasm for being outside longer than a few minutes. But birds were waiting, and we enjoyed our walk along the Little Colorado River. We sighted White-crowned Sparrows, Mourning Doves, Brewer's Blackbirds, and Turkey Vultures (oh, to be able to actually enjoy the wind like Turkey Vultures. . .I was envious), Say's Phoebe, and a small group of Western Kingbirds. The most interesting find at Wenima was a cluster of Yellow-rumped Warblers in the large tree by the bridge. Most were brightly-colored males in their breeding plumage. Pat keenly observed that one of the warblers, while brightly marked as well, did not possess the distinctive yellow throat of the "Audubon's" version of the Yellow-rumped; its throat was bright white. And, it showed a white-and-black streaked chest. Yes, we were looking at a "Myrtle's" Yellow-rumped mixed in with the "Audubon's". Once considered two separate species, they are now one, with the two different colorations and often distinct differences in range. Then home and able to research further, I found the Yellow-rumped Warbler is the only warbler able to digest the waxes found in bayberries and wax myrtles. Its ability to use these fruits allows it to winter farther north then other warblers, sometimes as far north as Newfoundland. It was a good find.
We then conducted a windshield survey of Becker Lake. The most amazing sight was the tremendous number of both Violet-green and Rough-winged swallows flying over the white-capped waves. Swallows by the hundreds, if not thousands. There were more swallows covering Becker Lake than I had ever seen in any location before. You could not look through your binoculars without seeing dozens at any one time. American Coot and Pied-billed Grebe rounded out our Becker Lake sightings. After taking the backroads back into Springerville, we then concentrated on hitting the shops and staying warm.. Bart and MaryJo never caught up with us; they ended up forging their own path and birded some back roads near Alpine. Their three-year old son, Alan, was able to add the following birds to his life list: Robin, Violet-green Swallow, Raven, Northern Shoveler, Mallard, American Kestrel, Western Meadlowlark, Dark-eyed Junco, and Steller's Jay. -Sue Sitko
WHITE MOUNTAIN CAMPOUT JUNE 2007 BASIN SPRINGS
There was something for everyone at the year's WMAS Campout at Basin Springs (near Crescent lake). Our group identified 40 species including the nesting Bald Eagle pair, a Peregrine Falcon, Gray Jays, numerous Double Crested Cormorants, several Osprey, a White-throated Swift, a Golden-crowned Kinglet, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and on the last day at the last hour, Dave Berry spotted a pair of cinnamon Teals.
Joe Peddie with the Arizona Bald Eagle Nest Watch Program gave a terrific power point program on Bald Eagles. Did you know the Bald Eagle parents keep a very tidy nest... no refuse whatsoever. And they add on to their nest as the eaglets grow, and keep it cool with bits of wet grasses. We had an additional presentation from a member of the Arizona Elks Society. The Elk Society is improving the habitat for all kinds of wildlife by their fence-removing program.
The thrills didn't stop there. A small herd of deer was spotted just 150 feet from one campsite. An there were plenty of chances to improve our botanical skills as Tom Jernigan led the tree identification game and Sally Walker added wildflower identification (see paragraph below) to our birding walks. We even enjoyed an evening campfire and plenty of camaraderie from fellow nature lovers. Perfect weather to top it off! We're so lucky to live in this beautiful corner of the world!
WHITE MOUNTAIN CAMPOUT: A WILDFLOWER REPORT
Introduction: Sally Walker, a naturalist by profession, identified flowering plants while on our birding walk at the White Mountain Campout.
Considering how dry it's been, I was surprised to find so many flowers during our stroll down Thompson's trail on the Black River. Bluebell was going over for the season, and the yellow Shortfin Evening Primrose was closing for the day. Everything else mentioned here was in full bloom. We saw a beautiful patch of red Columbine. The Shrubby Cinquefoil was flowering, as was one of the herbaceous Cinquefoils. Canadian Violet made a flowering ground cover under bushes, as did the Wild Strawberries in more open areas. We saw Vetch and Jacob's Ladder, and in wet places, Alpine Shooting Star. I was pleasantly surprised to see the pale pink spikes of White River Coral Drops, as I hadn't seen it in years.