September in the Chiricahuas is beautiful! We drove through Cave Creek Canyon and up the mountain to Rustler Park which just opened up for camping last week. It has been closed since the Horseshoe fires in 2011. Clouds hung low over the mountain tops and as we approached Rustler, it was an eerie scene. The fog made it dark for mid-morning, and the outside temperature was a cool 54 degrees. We decided to walk the forest road to Long's Park. Just 2 miles, but we had never done that trail, so it was new territory. The 4-wheel drive road is not very steep and follows the contours of the mountain, so it was a pleasant hike. We saw lots of wildflowers. Some I'd never seen before and I still haven't identified. We saw ravens, 3 red-tailed hawks, what I believe was a zone tailed hawk (definitely not a vulture) and one other hawk that may have been a short-tailed, but I can't say for sure. It was soaring over Long Park Road and looked kind of like a Swainson's. Also one that appeared to be a falcon, but we didn't get a good look. All these raptors were in the same drainage along Long Park road riding updrafts. Possibly a migration route over the mountain to get to the Sulphur Springs Valley. In addition to those, we identified mexican chickadees, pygmy & white breasted nuthatches, bridled titmouse, yellow-eyed juncos, townsends warbler, stellers jays, hairy woodpeckers, american robins, a hermit thrush, ruby crowned kinglet and acorn woodpeckers and some unidentified LBBs.
Bud & I bought our dream house in Portal in December 2013 and find ourselves in a heaven on earth in this beautiful friendly community.