I suppose when you hear of the Chiricahuas, you think of Geronimo and the Apaches. That's certainly a part of the history of the area. But I think of the beauty of Cave Creek, the diversity of habitats lodged in this sky island, and the consequent variety of birds and other animals that reside in its valleys and canyons and on their slopes and peaks. We approached the Chiricahuas from the west, past Chirircahua National Monument, and up Pinery Canyon to Onion Saddle. We had gotten an early start so there was plenty of bird song when we arrived dominated by Hermit Thrushes. It took only a few minutes to locate a group of Mexican Chickadees (#676) and moments later our first Olive Warbler (#677). But it took about two more hours to get the last of the birds we needed, the Red-faced Warbler (#678), which popped up with a group of Pygmy Nuthatches less than a quarter mile from where we saw the other two target species. It was still early, but we were getting hungry. In these parts there are very few places to eat. One of them is the Portal Store at the mouth of Cave Creek Canyon in Portal AZ. Since John hadn't seen Cave Creek, it seemed like a good place to go. We headed down the east slope of the mountains toward Portal. Along the way we almost ran over a pair of Montezuma Quail who allowed a close look and some photos before walking and feeding slowing up the oak leaf-strewn hillside (photo). Portal Store had a nice gathering of characters and we had hamburgers for lunch, after which we went down the slope into New Mexico where we found a new herpetilogical museum. We took a look inside where it was cooler than it was outside (100F). The museum is a private venture with some live animals, lots of historical information, paintings, carvings, and a collection of beer bottles with herp logos or names on the label. It was an hour worth spending. Afterwards, we decided to go back to Green Valley and use our time tonight to go up Mt. Lemmon again to try for a visual on Flammulated Owl. Tomorrow we'll try a nearby spot for Black-capped Gnatcatcher before driving to Phoenix for our last night in AZ before flying home Friday.
Post Script: We heard three Mexican Whip-poor-wills and one Flammulated Owl responded well to the tape, but we didn't get a visual on him.
For you who live on Mars and haven't gotten the news, the National League won the All Star game. Long live baseball!