Monday, January 11, 2010

On the way south from Roosevelt lake, and south from Globe, I saw my first ever Javelina crossing the road in front of me. It was too fast for my camera, but I had just been looking at a mounted specimen in the visitor center, so there was no mistaking it.

I found a scenic side road to Dripping Springs to spend the night and enjoyed a nice campfire in the evening. Got the fire going again in the morning for a bit, and then went for a hike to check out the surroundings.The surroundings were very prickly, but I managed to avoid all of them, even the ones laying innocently on the ground.

Then it was down through Tucson more or less non-stop, and a turn south off the Interstate towards Sonoita and Patagonia. It was a little too dark to find an ideal spot, but I managed to find a forest service road in the dark that filled the bill. All these roads have warnings about smugglers and illegal aliens.Went through a Border Patrol checkpoint in the morning, and stopped to take this shot of the sign north of Sonoita.
Then, it was off to Whitewater Draw wildlife refuge, which is home to thousands of Sandhill Cranes for the winter.
I got there just at dusk, which is the perfect time to see the flocks returning to the refuge from the fields where they have been feeding and spending the day. Darkness and distance prevented any useful shots of the birds, but the noise and the show is impressive. In the morning is the reverse of the evening show - the birds all take off for the fields.
The Border patrol is everywhere down here.
I went by this van parked off the highway in the morning, and saw a group of recently detained individuals being led back to the truck.
I also saw this horse trailer unloading for a mounted patrol. By the time I turned around and came back for a photo, the riders were gone.
Then I stopped in at Coronado National Memorial, where I have visited several times in the past.

It too, has warning signs about the hazards in the area. (Click on any photo for a larger view)
I was able to look across the border fence into Mexico.

And the drive up to Montezuma Pass provides a panoramic view of the surrounding border areas.
There was a border patrol camera truck in the parking lot keeping an eye over this area from the high vantage point.
I'm sure I saved the life of this hawk on the highway in the area. I was cruising along at highway speed and noticed what appeared to be a small roadkilled carcass laying on the center line. But as I passed without slowing, I saw that there was a hawk sitting on his prize, and he did not even fly away when I passed within 5 feet of him. I didn't think he would last long with that kind of attitude, so I turned around and went back. I took this photo before he finally did fly away, but then I moved the dead rabbit to the ditch so that he could enjoy it in peace and safety, instead of pieces!

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