Portal residents and visitors participated in two Christmas Bird Counts December 29 and 30. The first count was around Portal, and the second was in the nearby Peloncillo Mountains in New Mexico. It had been a fairly dry fall, so there were few sparrows (sometimes the most abundant group of species), but most of the usual birds were counted. The final numbers haven’t been released yet, but Portal had about 125 species, and the Peloncillos about 90, both of which are fairly normal numbers.
A male Elegant Trogon is in South Fork, and a Varied Thrush has been see there in the past week as well. At the Ranch we still have our White-throated Sparrows and Painted Redstart, as well as several Yellow-rumped Warblers in a variety of plumages — some quite dull, and others as bright as Magnolia Warblers.
We have a first pass at a Facebook page now, Cave Creek Ranch, and it should be improving soon. I’ll have to learn how to work with that!
A front is supposed to be coming through, but so far it has been beautiful. The deer and javelinas are in the front yard at the moment. A baby javelina appeared about two weeks ago, still with about 6 inches of umbilical cord attached. It screeched loudly every time its mother stepped away from it. It’s grown a bit, maybe a foot long now, but still pretty tiny.
January is a beautiful time here, and no one seems to realize that, so we’re offering 10% off this month’s low season rates to encourage a winter time visit.