Friday, November 30, 2012

Arizona Roundup

The campground is filling up with vintage and teardrops trailers this weekend, a group called the Arizona Roundup. The first one to show up was this custom Ford pickup and teardrop owned by “Bud” the 80 year old organizer shown in the upper photo.  The second photo displays a 1937 customized Ford sedan with nicely matching teardrop.   The last photo is a restored 1962 Shasta. This is an annual event here at Buckskin and growing in numbers each year. They are a gregarious group and love to show off their trailers, and being an older group, my guess is they will be much quieter than our Thanksgiving crowd.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Peace and Quiet

After my rant yesterday - - - I thought I owed it to my readers to report that peace and quiet have settled back along our lovely stretch of the Lower Colorado River today.  The roar of the speed boats are no longer ricocheting off of Echo Rock, (the appropriately named rock in the back ground). The Ring-billed Gulls have returned to perch on the wading area buoys (shown in the foreground). The campground is almost empty save for a few old folks. Life is good.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm Thankfull- - - that Thanksgiving is Over

Apparently it’s a holiday tradition for the populace of L.A. and Phoenix to gather on the Lower Colorado, in this case, Buckskin Mountain State Park, to celebrate the four day Thanksgiving weekend. They come with their ski-dos, ski boats, and unmuffled supercharged speed boats. They race up and down the river all day long their deafening roar drowning out the peace and quiet of the campground. Ducks, Coots, and various water fowl flee in fright.  Motor cycles, quads, ATV’s and Jeeps add to the commotion, the dust visible miles away. From the California side of the river, gun fire from target practice goes on during the day, replaced at night with fireworks and amped up bar music. All this is fueled by alcohol consumption that individually exceeds the average annual rainfall for the entire county. Sirens on the highway attest to busy police and ambulance services. No law enforcement patrols the river; noise and speed are entirely unregulated. Today the revelers are packing up their toys and going home. Yes, I am thankful that Thanksgiving is over.  

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wild Burros

We took a drive today on the other side of the river, the California side.  It’s a popular drive because of the opportunity to see Wild Burros.  We were alarmed at the increase in numbers, whereas 2 years ago we felt lucky to see 2 or 3 burros, today we easily saw over 50!  It's BLM land, so I’m guessing the government in its infinite wisdom evidently felt the need to install burro restrooms.  A burro is shown here patiently waiting his or her turn to use the restroom.

Apparently he or she, as the case may be, did not appreciate having a photo taken while waiting for the restroom, so sauntered over to have a word with us.

Buster, never one to allow anyone to get in the last word, got involved in the conversation too, --- it got rather ugly.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Great Attraction

I have been puzzled as to why we have so many butterflies flittering around in the trees here at Buckskin State Park.  Today I put some of the pieces of the puzzle together and think I have a clearer picture of what is going on.  One of the things I have noticed is that the butterflies seem to prefer certain trees.  Today I made an effort to learn more about the trees they were hanging out in and I learned that they were Willow Acacia trees, which are from Australia, and most interesting is that they bloom from fall until spring.  Which explains why they are blooming now and that is what is providing nectar for the butterflies. If you look closely at this photo of this Monarch Butterfly you will see between the two antennas at the top and two right side legs, the single long proboscis that is buried deep into the flowering puff.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Painted Lady

Yesterday afternoon I went back out to see if I could find and photograph some butterflies.  I got lucky and got a good number of photos of the same species of butterfly that the Say’s Phoebe was eating as shown in the former post.  It’s a Painted Lady, which at a 2” wing span is half the size of the 4” wing span of the better known Monarch. This is apparently migration time for butterflies in this area as we seem to have an abnormal amount fluttering around. I think I need to start paying additional attention to the “ladies”.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Birds or Butterflies

Sometimes it’s hard to decide who to root for, birds or butterflies.  While leading my guided bird walk for Buckskin Mountain State Park this morning we saw this bird gulping down this butterfly.  The bird is a Say’s Phoebe, a relatively small Flycatcher.  I think the butterfly is, or I should say was, a Painted Lady.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Queen Butterfly

Yesterday while hiking the Mohave Sunset Trail at Lake Havasu State Park, I got this photo of a Queen Butterfly. It caught my attention and I was quite pleased to see a different butterfly than a Monarch. We see so many Monarch Butterflies every time we are birding at Buckskin Mountain State Park where because of their abundance and size they are actually a distraction, being mistaken many times for a fraction of a second for a bird.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Busman's Holiday

Today was a day off for us so we visited two other nearby Arizona State Parks, Cattail Cove and Lake Havasu, can’t get enough of state parks you know. We stopped first at Cattail Cove State Park to explore their trails and do some birding, then on to Lake Havasu City to Lake Havasu StatePark where we spent considerably more time hiking and birding.  This is where the photo was taken and this is the park where we will be volunteering in January and February. Jeanette spotted a couple of Roadrunners, and ID’d thee Red-breasted Mergansers, in addition to the other normal finds. We felt like we had a good day off.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Return of the Redheads

It’s early in the season, and the number of species of winter water fowl is still pretty low here on this section of the Colorado River at Buckskin Mountain State Park. However more winter birds are beginning to trickle in from the north daily and this morning was a pointed example. We have been seeing a lone male Redhead for the last four or five days, but this morning during my Bird Walk we sighted a group of 28, mostly males, but some females. Redheads tend to stick together in a tight group and are quieter than most ducks. In the coming days, weeks and months we will see an increasing number of different species.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Working on the Buskskin Trail

Jeanette took this shot of me this morning working on the Buckskin Trail. There are actually four different trails here in Buckskin Mountain State Park, but for starters I am concentrating on the Buckskin Trail.  Today I installed two water bars to help with trail erosion.  Trail erosion is the main issue of trail maintenance here in the desert. Although they get only around three inches of rain annually, it can show up all at once creating a lot of erosion damage. No worry about falling trees or encroaching brush blocking a trail as we do in the North West, just a matter of keeping the rocks and dirt in place.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sunset on the Colorado

We have had a week of hot weather here on the Colorado River at Buckskin Mountain State Park with daily temperatures hitting close to 90 degrees. In the evenings we like to go down to the river’s edge and enjoy the cool breeze, listen to the Coots migrate up river, and watch the sunset.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tranquility Restored

The noisy crowds have returned to the city and quietness again rules in our campground.  The weekend warriors with their un-muffled supercharged V8 powered speed boats pulled their boats out and headed back yesterday afternoon. The water fowl like this pair of Mallards are probably the most appreciative; their world on the water gets turned upside down with all the noise and bombarding wave action. It was good to see them out this morning peacefully pursuing their life again on the Colorado River.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photo of a Lifetime

Ann Bird, our across the street neighbor, had her camera out to take a photo of one of the fancy boats here in the park when this incident occurred right in front of her.  This is a Cooper’s Hawk that has collared, pun intended, a Eurasian Collared-Dove. It’s hard to have much sympathy for the dove as Eurasian Collared-Doves are an invasive species that has spread across the US in an alarmingly short period of time and have become, for the most part, a great nuisance.  Their numbers multiply very fast and they seem to crowd out native species like the Mourning Dove. Here at Buckskin Mountain State Park their numbers are numerous so we wish Mr. Cooper continued success with his hunting.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's All About Shade

Yesterday we got lucky and got to move our motor home to a shaded site. You can barely see the back of our View, the middle RV, in this photo. The trouble with site 68 where we were is that we got the brunt of the afternoon sun, and with temps flirting with 90 every day, that was too warm. Now we are tucked in under the dense foliage of the Ficus trees, and life is sweet.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Trail Survey Day

Today was my first day on the “job” and I spent the morning surveying the trails of Buckskin Mountain State Park.  Buster got to go with me.  He was curious about the old mines and not sure why dad was more interested in the trail.  In my defense, it was important to me to check to see how my work in previous years was holding up.  All in all I was pretty pleased with what I found. The changes and improvements that I had made have held up well in our absence of 20 months. I’ll be spending some days working on the trail, some days leading hikes on the trail, and some days leading bird walks in the campground along the river.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Busksin Mountain State Park

This is a shaded picnic area in Buckskin Mountain State Park that I took when we arrived today. Readers of this blog could easily be getting confused with all the parks that we have been staying at, but this is the one to pay close attention to because this is the one we will be staying at for the next two months. This is a real oasis of a park right on the Colorado River, and although we have volunteered here in the past we were still struck with its beauty today. We spent some time walking around and reconnecting with hosts we have volunteered with in the past and that felt good too.  We are moved into our site and have been busy settling in.  We are in site 68 which is the same site where we stayed in 2009.