Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An Approaching Monsoon Storm

Last night Tim (father) and Thomas (15-year-old son) and I camped at a precipitous overlook along the Carr Canyon road in SE Arizona's Huachuca Mountains with anticipation of a sunny morning filled with Greater Pewee and mixed flocks of migrants including post-breeding Red-faced and Grace's Warblers.

Instead, we awoke at 5:45 a.m., staggered out of our tents, and peered out to a stunning sunrise with a decaying monsoonal rain cell  approaching from Mexico to the south, just about to engulf the entire mountain range. Without the merest expectation for the remainder of the day, we descended the rough series of switchbacks and found our way to a coffee shop for the next hour as the entire region was drenched with rain.

Here's a view of the approaching storm, looking southeast from our campsite. Click on the photo for a higher resolution.

The rest of the morning was nonetheless spectacular, with 10 species of hummingbirds at my friend Mary Jo Ballator's Ash Canyon  B&B and additional Violet-crowned and Blue-throated Hummingbirds as well as Spotted Owls at and above Beatty's Guest Ranch in nearby Miller Canyon, followed by Pyrrhuloxia, Bronzed Cowbird, and Dickcissel in the lowlands nearby.


  1. Rich, Your photos are so great. I was reading the Sept-Oct 2012 issue of "Audubon" and was so very pleased to see you referenced on page 35 about the sharp-tailed snakes. Way to go Rich!!!

  2. Thanks, Map! That Richard Hoyer you read about must have been my dad, Richard F.; I'm Richard C. He discovered the new species of sharp-tailed Snake in the late 1990's, and the species description finally got published just last year. I'll have to look up that article, thanks for letting me know!