Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Willow Springs Lake

Our adventure started Sunday morning as we packed up the RV to hit the road to a new place to explore.  This was the first time we will be "dry camping", no hook ups and I was really worried that I couldn't do it.  I'm thinking to myself how am I going to charge all my batteries for my camera, laptop, phone, etc.  No TV; yikes!!!  It was only for one night and two days, so I kept telling myself, "you can do this!!!"

The goal was to leave at 6:30 a.m. so at 6:35 a.m. we were driving out of our drive way.  Not bad for me, I'm usually at least 30 minutes behind schedule when we go rving :-)  Willow Springs Lake is the sister lake to Woods Canyon Lake on the rim in the White Mountains.  We had never been there and we wanted to explore a new place.  It is about 2 hours by car from Mesa, so that makes it 3 hours in an RV.

Willow Springs Lake, White Mountains

We arrived at the lake around 9:30 a.m. and check in at Sinkhole Campground is 2:00 p.m. so we drove down to the lake and found a parking space and went exploring.  We found out on our last trip to Fool Hollow Lake that Blue, our Rat Terrier, loves water.  So we took the boys down to the lake so they could play in the water.

Sunday there were a lot of people at the lake, swimming, weight boarding, kayaking, fishing, just enjoying the beautiful cool weather and day.  John found some large rocks by the water to sit with the boys and I was off to take photos.

John and Blue chilling on the rocks

Blue in the water


Walking around the lake I found the most beautiful butterfly, a Northwestern Fritillary.  I'd never seen this butterfly before and the orange color was so vibrant and bright.  After taking way too many photos of the butterfly I was off to explore more :-)

Northwestern Fritillary

I saw just across the bend an Osprey high up in a Ponderosa Pine.  I was hoping it would still be there by the time I walked over there.  Part way there it swooped down from the tree trying to steal a fish from a fisherman that he just caught.  It was so funny to hear everyone gasp at the same time when the Osprey missed.  Of course I missed the whole thing with my camera, the Osprey was a total blur :-(  She flew back up to her perch and I was able to get those shots plus some close ups.  Several people came up to me to ask what kind of bird she was and to tell me stories about her from the morning.  So cool.


Back to exploring and to see how John and the boys were doing.  We walked back to the RV were John and the boys stayed and I went out to explore the other side of the lake since it was still to early to check in at the campsite.  This side of the lake had more birds for me to photograph.  I went further into the forest yet I still could see the lake.  I found Brewer's Blackbirds and American Robins.  The Brewer's Blackbirds were new to me, I'd never seen them before.  I didn't know what they were until we got home on Monday.  I love how when the sun just hit them right you could see the green on their bodies and the purple color on there heads.  At first I thought they were a Grackle but the didn't have the long tail and they were smaller.  So wonderful to find a new type of bird you've never seen before; on this trip there were many!

Brewer's Blackbird

American Robin

I checked my cell phone for the time and it was 1:50 p.m. so I walked back to the RV so we could go check into our campsite.  The Sinkhole Campsite was just up the road not far from the lake.  We checked in with the campsite host, pulled into our space and no set up.  We had some lunch and we went outside to sit in our comfy chairs and enjoy the campsite and the cool weather.

Hairy Woodpecker

With camera in hand I started to take photos of the wildlife in and around our campsite.  I found a meadow not to far from where we were parked and sat down on a large log and waited.  Photography is a lot of waiting and being patient.  There were swallows flying above me, they are so difficult to take photos of.  They are small and very fast flyers.  I took a couple of shots of the landscape and started to head back to the RV.  Clouds were starting to move in and I was hoping for rain and rain we got!  I love walking in the rain; we put the leads on the pups and all 4 of us went walking in the rain.  The boys just looked at us and I knew what they were thinking; "really, walking in the rain!" :-)

Area near our campsite

Yellow flower in the meadow near our campsite

We had some dinner and who knew our TV worked on battery power; I'm in 7th heaven!  We watched a couple DVD's and off to bed.  I had no Internet access up on the rim so I couldn't check email or Facebook so it was time for bed.

I woke up around 5:00 a.m. and got John and the boys up and we were off to the lake.  We parked the RV and I was amazed at all the squirrels that were running around.  I'm out the door to explore and take photos; I think John and the boys went back to bed :-)

I went down to the lake and the Abert's Squirrels were coming to me; it was fantastic!  I sat on the rocks and went crazy taking photos.  A Harris Antelope Squirrel came by, he must of hear there was a photographer on site :-)  I went back to the RV to check on everyone and back out to take more photos.  I wanted to go back to where I saw the Osprey the day before. She was there and took off before I could hike over to her.

Abert's Squirrel

I sat in the shade of a small pine tree and started to take photos of the variety of birds that were coming to the water.  I looked over and there was a Chipmunk sitting on a rock waging it's tail; so cute!  It was 8:30 a.m. and time to get back to the RV and start to drive home.  On the way back 
to the RV I saw my first lizard of the weekend and it posed for me; love nature :-)


Steller's Jay

White-breasted Nuthatch


It was sad to leave the cool climate of the White Mountains and the wildlife that made our weekend. We will visit Willow Springs Lake again.

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