Where I've been/What I've seen
Today would be the first of two days in the Huachuca Mountains, and the beginning of the ABA Rarities of the trip (3+). Our birding for the day started at around 7:30, and we would be at Hunter Canyon (Upper Trail) for about three hours. Our target bird here was to be a Rufous-capped Warbler, a rarity pretty much exclusive to southeast Arizona, and a target bird for many on the trip. On the way up to the shady area where the warbler had been reported, we spotted birds such as Greater Pewee, Scott's Oriole, and quite a few other species that we had either limited looks at previously, or were flat out firsts for the trip. There was also a bit more cooperative Black-throated Gray Warbler, and quite a few Dusky-capped Flycatchers on the hike up. Once we reached the shaded area, we took a break for water and sat down off to the side of the trail for about fifteen minutes, and were considering continuing onward before somebody stated: "I might have it." It took a while for everyone to see the bird, as it was at first in a very dense shrub. The bird then vanished, and we waited for a reappearance for what was probably another fifteen minutes before we heard it calling. The bird was perched nicely right out in the open, not terribly far off the trail, but just out of range for decent photos (the lighting was not optimal either). The bird sat there for a while, allowing us to study it through field sketching. We decided to hike down before it heated up, as it was already about eighty degrees out.
Our next stop was a Private Residence which usually has a Lucifer Hummingbird over near Ash Canyon. Unfortunately, we missed this species while we were here, but we did hear a Montezuma Quail calling in the distance, along with a Loggerhead Shrike perched on top of a dead snag. The yard was also a haven for butterflies and beetles, so we saw quite a few species of both.
After a quite successful morning and early afternoon, we took a break until after dinner, when we would go owling. The leaders had received a tip on a good spot for both Whiskered Screech and Elf, so we decided to go there. We were not disappointed. Not only did we hear both of those species, but also a Mexican Whip-poor-will, a lifer for me. This was a great day to end our time in the camp’s namesake mountains, and were most certainly some of the most enjoyable days of the trip for me.
Welp what do you know? I procrastinated and school got in the way so this is going to be coming a long at a lot slower rate than I had hoped. Anyways, without further adieu I present Day 3 of 11 of Camp Chiricahua.
The tire was fixed late in the afternoon of that day, and we still had over three hours to go, not including a stop(s) for dinner and naturalisting. We essentially made a beeline for a Pizza Hut and arrived at around eight. In the parking lot, we found an Eastern (curviostre) subspecies Curve-billed Thrasher, an unusual, fairly far west location for one. After eating some food, we all went back to the vans and continued onward to the Chiricahua Mountains. Of course, our bad luck streak had to continue. Upon reaching New Mexico we promptly got stuck in a traffic jam on a two-lane road in a very rural area. To entertain ourselves, we decided to listen to terrible remixes of memeable songs, most notably AHA’s “Take On Me” and Smash Mouth’s “All Star”. After sitting in traffic for probably over an hour, we were finally free and heading back into Arizona (fun fact, we started on 7/13, and due to the one hour time difference between NM and AZ we traveled an hour ahead into 7/14, before going back into 7/13). It had become late on these rural roads, so those of us who were still awake managed to get out of the vans and see both a couple of owls (Barn and Great-horned) along with a couple varied bugs/mammals. By the time we finally reached Cave Creek, it was 11:57. We quickly decided to go to bed, and thankfully the wake up time was postponed slightly the next day.