White Mountain Audubon members at Wenima Wildlife Area
2009 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!
2009 WMAS Campout at Burnt Mill Springs
This year's Campout can best be described as outstanding. We sighted 59 bird species! There was definitely some great synergy going with all the expertise and information being shared. Great camaraderie among the campers too, not to mention excellent food that we had at the potluck. Even the weather cooperated—it rained, but only on Friday night after 10 pm and before 5am.
People arrived fairly early on Friday and began birding immediately. Campers came from Pinetop-Lakeside, Show Low, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Verde Valley, Phoenix area, and Tucson. There was plenty of water in the nearby pond and it provided an attraction for lots of species; Williamson's Sapsuckers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, Western Tanagers, and Red Crossbills were spotted there. This is a very peaceful setting from which to do some birding at your leisure.
On Saturday morning, Sue Sitko and her friend, McGill, from a Phoenix Nature Conservancy led the birding walk not far from the campsite. One great moment came when Sue called a Cordilleran Flycatcher with her BirdJam program on her IPod. It perched right in the sunlight so we got a great view. Wild Turkeys crossed the road on the way back. Some of us cut through the meadow and figured we were on the location of the old burned down lumber mill—some old medal pieces and bits of burned wood laying around.
Our next adventure was to the top of Green's Peak. Our goal was to hike down and keep our eyes open for the illusive Dusky Grouse (until recently was called the Blue Grouse.) As we started out, we were treated to a little history from Tom Jernigan regarding the trail: it was originally cut by the Forest Service for a ski run in the 1970's. On the way down interesting wild flowers were highlighted (did you know there are orchids growing on Green's Peak?) We were on the last third of the trail when the Dusky Grouse that so many of us wanted for a life bird made its appearance. The group had just about given up on spotting a Grouse and several birders sat down on a log. There was a female Grouse that had built a nest right under that very same log. Suddenly, the Grouse burst out from under the log and made threatening noises and flapped her wings. Then she flew up in a tree and watched uneasily, all the time clucking a warning. We stayed long enough to get photos and then left the mother Dusky Grouse to return to her nest. The group could best be described as "Happy Campers" (and birders) at that point.
The rest of the afternoon was devoted to rest and relaxation or side trips. Several people headed to Greer and added many more bird sightings. We had a presentation from Zach Zdinak, President of the Northern Arizona Audubon Chapter, which was very informative and entertaining. He prepared scenarios and we identified what birds of prey had hunted which fish, bird or small mammals. Next, we gathered for our potluck and it was excellent. Loretta Pena's chocolate chip cake is now legendary.
Dan Groebner from Game & Fish presented the evening program around a campfire. We listened to "Sounds of the Night" and guessed which bird or animal created such calls. Below are the species sighted during the entire weekend:
Great Blue Heron
W. Meadow Lark