Thursday was another rest day although by mid-morning there wasn’t a whole lot of resting going on. Carol and I headed back out to Cave Creek Ranch to check the feeders. Just as we arrived an immature Cooper’s Hawk was harassing the Mexican Jays. They didn’t seem to be too perplexed but the rest of the small birds were – they had disappeared. Added to the mix was a large group (30+) of Javelinas scouring up birdseed around the feeders and intimidating the bird watchers. Time to move on.
We stopped again at the South Fork. It was again quiet we bumped into Dave Cleary from New Mexico. Dave mentioned that today marked the 32nd anniversary of the first sighting of an Eared Quetzal (formerly the Eared Trogon) at Cave Creek. Apparently this was the time of year that sighting an Eared Quetzal was pretty good. Just look for fruiting Madrone trees. A few such trees were found frequented by Red-naped Sapsuckers, Northern Flickers and a few Hermit Thrushes (alas, no Aztecs). We were not surprised that nary a quetzal was to be found but wouldn’t that have been grand to find one to celebrate the anniversary?
Back to Rusty’s for a quick nap, checked email and another visit to the Rodeo Tavern for pizza and drinks. We were joined at the Tavern by a couple from NM, Deb and Kath, who we had run into from time to time while birding at various locations. They were also staying at Rusty’s. Deb and Kath were indicative of just one of the many benefits of life on the road – so many new folks to meet.
Friday morning we set out just before dawn along State Line Road in search of birds. A few very cooperate Crissal Thrashers and a large covey of Scaled Quail was our reward in addition to a colorful sun rise lighting up the Chricuhuas. By 10:00 AM, NM time, we started to gathered up the RV’s and by 11:00 we bid Rusty’s farewell. We headed across southern New Mexico along Hwy 9. Columbus New Mexico and Pancho Via State Park was our destination.
Columbus is right along the U.S.-Mexico border. This was the site of an invasion by forces loyal to Pancho Villa, a much revered or reviled figure in Mexican history and the catalyst for the Punitive Expedition from 1916 to 1917. Panchi Villa State Park has an extremely well done museum chronicling the expedition, which saw many firsts. The first extensive use of mechanized units and aerial support.
The park also has an extensive planting of cacti. One needed to be mindful walking at night…
The next morning we headed further east to Van Horn for another overnight at the Eagles Nest RV Park. The Interstate was on one side, and train tracks on the other. To make matters worse a bar was playing loud music with lots of bass well into the Saturday night. The free wi-fi was in fact free if you were close enough to a transmission. And the cable TV was anything but clear. I doubt that the Eagles Nest will warrant another stop in any future trips across west Texas.
However, Van Horn put us within easy driving of Davis Mountain State Park, a mere 89 miles away.