Monday, May 15, 2017

#59 - Monday, 15 May 2017 - Rodeo, New Mexico

I am now at Rusty’s RV Ranch outside Rodeo, New Mexico. It doesn’t get much more western-sounding than that. Rodeo sits right along the border with southeast Arizona where the Chiricahua Mountains I’ll spend much of my week exploring lie. But I’ll also be visiting New Mexico’s Peloncillo Mountains south and southeast of here to look for a tarantula and a scorpion species that Brent gave me localities for.

The Chiricahuas are also part of the Coronado National Forest that includes the Santa Catalinas and Santa Ritas where I spent a good deal of time while in the Tucson area. Chiricahua Peak rises even higher than the Catalina’s Mt. Lemmon and the region is comprised of numerous sky islands. I introduced this concept (Madrean Sky Islands) in an earlier blog when I described the strata of habitat found at increasing elevation in Tucson’s Santa Catalina Mountains. The "islands" are sanctuaries between the hot "sea" of the Sonoran Desert. The Chiricahuas have a base elevation of 3600’, and are perhaps even more biodiverse than the Catalinas. Five of the nine lives zones are found within the mountain range’s 6000’ of elevation. More than 375 bird species are known and many are Mexican species found nowhere else in the United States. This is a hugely popular birding area and I seek the fifteen or so species of hummingbirds and the Elegant Trogon. Cats found in the area include ocelots, jaguars and mountain lions, and the mountains also are home to black bears and white-tailed deer.

The past two days I mostly relaxed at an RV Park in Amado, Arizona, halfway between Tucson and Nogales, Mexico. Yesterday morning I brought my coffee to the picnic areas of Madera Canyon, hiking and birdwatching on trails near Bog Springs Campground and sitting with lunch at Santa Rita Lodge’s bird-watching area surrounded by black-chinned and broad-billed hummingbirds, acorn woodpeckers, Stellar’s jays, black-headed grosbeaks, white-breasted nuthatches and wild turkey.

     –   All the best, M

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