March 2017 - Posts from New Mexico

February 26, 2017 Rodeo NM

We drove this morning north again to Bosque de Apache NWR to take a hike on the Canyon Trail.  The dawn was lovely and in the 20’s.  Warmed up slowly.  Our hike was through the desert, across a saltbush and creosote bush flat complete with arroyo (wash), then up through a canyon, then up the canyon wall and along the edge of the mesa, and finally down off the bluff to the flat and back to our point of destination.  We added Rock Wren and Crissal Thrasher to our year-list there.  Latter, along the water we found a pair of Neotropical Cormorants that now also grace our list. 

Coming home we turned at a sign for Fort Craig and scooted down a smooth gravel road to the site of this army post from the mid 1800’s.  It served first to control hostile Indians and then as a guard post to stop an invasion from Texas.  Incredible as it may seem, two Civil War Battles were fought in New Mexico in 1862.  Though the invading force of 2,500 was larger than that of the defenders, the fort had been well stocked and provisions in this region were few for the invaders.  So, though they commanded the field, they could not take the fort and retreated leaving the West in the hands of the Union.

After the war the Apache continued to demand a fort, but in 1885 Geronimo and the last of them surrendered and made peace.  The fort was mostly adobe and wood.  Much is fading into the desert, but the walls of the stone guard house remain up.

The wind is up again and forecast to be near a gale again tomorrow, our travel day.  Our plan is to depart very early and take it easy again. 

Next stop is Rodeo NM near the southwest corner of the state.  We will use that as a base camp to visit the rock totem walled Chiricahua Mountains.  Wonderful geology and birds in those hills.

February 28, 2017 - Rodeo NM

Rough ride today.  We left early and were some fifteen miles to our exit from I-10 when we found the highway closed.  We were detoured and had to reverse course to reach our destination two hours later than expected.  We largely evaded dust storms but still our lips taste gritty.  A few drops of rain have fallen here this afternoon, but most of the rain (and snow) is north of Tuscon.

Only added one bird to our list today, Canyon Towhee.

March 3, 2013 - Rodeo NM

We have enjoyed three days here in the San Simon Valley.  On two of those days we drove into the famous Chiricahua Mountains.  On the first day we wandered about the foothills and then through the town of Portal into the birdingly famous Cave Creek Canyon.  Enjoyed a sturdy hike and many lovely birds there.  Mom has made friends with a gal who runs a B&B there in the town of Paradise (can’t get any better than that).  We sat on her porch and got the news of Rodeo while watching quail, Mexican jays, and sparrows come into her feeders.

Yesterday we drove high into the mountains to find the Mexican Chickadee (we did) and made a hike that included a walk across a snowfield.  The north slopes were white, the south slopes were warm.  The mountains are changed from our last visit.  A major forest fire denuded half of the forest and a storm a couple of years later sent a devastating flood through the town.  Everything is recovering. 

This morning was warmer.  No ice to scrape.  We spent the morning wandering about the valley finding rare and “difficult to find” Bendire’s Thrasher and a Merlin and then visiting the excellent Chiricahua Desert Museum that is half museum and half reptile house.  So many rattlesnakes live in this neighborhood.  Only one of each in the museum.  Still, some folks would not want to visit.

Tomorrow we cross into Arizona.  We will stay in Patagonia.  Should be warmer there, even in March.  Will visit with friends and look for birds in this very birdy region.  The highway cuts south to go around the mountain range.  I’m sure we will have a pleasant conversation with the boys from the Department of Homeland Security after the road returns northward.  I always say, “I American citizen, no hablo espanol.”  Always seems to work.


Cormorants in the desert? Neat!

Why sould some folks not want to visit the museum?

Oh yes, please keep us posted on homeland security.  :)