Saturday, October 20, 2012

Autumn Comes to Madera Canyon

We made our first visit to lower Madera Canyon in quite some time and I have to say it is quite active as well as colorful. There is a somewhat short easy walking path that starts at the Elephant Rock overlook parking area and continues up to the Whitehouse picnic area that we like to meander along looking for birds and animals. We were not disappointed as there were birds everywhere and we even got a close up encounter with some feeding javelinas. In the first picture above you can see the Turpentine Bushes are in full display which really add a nice accent to the landscape.

There was still water in the stream that runs through the lower canyon and there was lots of activity in and around it. As you can see some of the vegetation has turned yellow and gold giving a decidedly fall look. Fall color is one of the things that I miss the most after living most of my life in New England so it's nice to walk here this time of year. I plan on heading up to the top of Mt. Lemmon early next week to see the changes there which is always fun.

 As we rounded a bend in the path it was clear that we were being watched with great intensity by around 8 or 9 Javelina browsing under a Mexican Black Oak tree. While they kept a good eye on us they were not afraid enough to give up their meal unless we came too close.

Hawks were in short supply during this trip but we did see this pair of Red Tails circling high above us with today's meal which was a snake that I could not identify even with binoculars.

The Santa Ritas are always magnificent especially when entering one of the many canyons. Madera is one of the best known birding sites in the continental USA and I have added many life listers on my visits here. I have also seen deer, javelina, squirrels, and brown bear on occasion.

The expansiveness of the southwest can be seen in the photo taken at the mouth of the canyon looking back towards Green Valley.

I was very excited to add this colorful Red Naped Sapsucker to my life list as I have never seen one even after living here for seven years. There were actually a pair of them mixed in with about a dozen Acorn Woodpecker which was also added to my life list here at Madera many years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous views! That is a cool look at the Javelinas :-)