Mogollon Rim Whip-poor-wills, etc. (Coconino/Gila Co.)
31 May 2018, 12:28 AM,
Mogollon Rim Whip-poor-wills, etc. (Coconino/Gila Co.)
On the bright moonlit night of May 27-28, 2018 before and after midnight while driving between Wickenburg and Heber, I stopped at multiple spots along the Mogollon Rim off Hwy. 260 and Woods Canyon Lake Rd., hearing several MEXICAN WHIP-POOR-WILLS singing on the southern slope of the Rim. Most sounded like they were calling from the Gila County side below the top of the Rim, although a couple sounded to be on the Coconino Co. side along the top edge. The only owls I heard was one pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS. 

While the Tonto National Forest along the Rim in Gila Co. is virtually all off-limits due to the forest closure spurred by fire risk and dry conditions, on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest just above the Rim, access is still open to Woods Canyon Lake, Willow Springs Lake, and the campgrounds along those roads, as well as Canyon Point Campground near Forest Lakes (all Coconino Co.). However, all other forest roads, including the Black Canyon Lake area, are all closed until further notice. Hopefully the monsoons come early this year! 

This afternoon (May 30) my dad and I hiked with his dog at a few spots off Woods Canyon Lake road, finding typical forest species including WARBLING and PLUMBEOUS VIREOS, VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS, OLIVE, GRACE’S, and VIRGINIA’S WARBLERS. Along the enclosed aspen groves we encountered half a dozen CASSIN’S FINCHES and several PINE SISKINS foraging on the aspen catkins and fruits. 

At my family’s place in Heber (Navajo Co.) we have had a few CASSIN’S FINCHES and dozens of PINE SISKINS still lingering, plus at least one flock of RED CROSSBILLS (some look like immature birds, so they may have bred locally earlier this winter/spring). 

Good birding,

Eric Hough
Wickenburg, AZ

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