Outdoor News Regional Directory
New Feature

Click on Columnists  to access travelogues, field reports, advice, humorous tales and answers to your Q’s! 


Website of the Week


​In Search of the Elegant Trogon

’ve always been fascinated with birds, but I really became hooked on bird-watching, or birding, as it’s often called, during the mid-seventies when I was a rookie Fish and Game warden down on the Colorado River. Warden Bill Peters and I were patrolling the river south of Earp, California, when we spotted a large bird off in the distance. “That’s a peregrine,” said Peters, focusing his binoculars on the fast-flying raptor. “Looks like a female.”

“How do you know it’s a female?” I said.

“Because the females are much larger than the males. Look, it just stooped on that dove and knocked it right out of the air.”

For the rest of the day, Warden Peters filled me in on the popular activity called birding. According to Bill, people would travel great distances and endure incredible hardships to add a rare bird species to what he called their “life lists.”

“Life list?” I said. “What’s that?”

“Every time you positively identify a new bird species, you add it to your life list,” said Peters. “It’s a great way to learn your birds, and it’s actually a lot of fun.”

“What’s to keep a person from cheating?” I asked. “I could say I saw a condor and no one would know the difference.”

“There are unwritten rules you have to follow.”

"What are the rules?”

“The bird must be seen in the wild and you must be able to make a positive identification.”

“What if you’re not sure?”

“Then you don’t count it. If you cheat, you’re only cheating yourself.”

It was shortly after my memorable patrol with Warden Peters that I began my own life list. Over the years I’ve listed hundreds of birds and resisted listing hundreds more. Why the resistance? Because some species of gulls, shorebirds, sparrows, warblers, and flycatchers are just too difficult to positively identify from a distance.

 entrance to Cave Creek Canyon, photo by Steven T. Callan
Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains. All photos by author

Fast forward forty years to 2016. Something I’ve always wanted to do is visit southeastern Arizona, where rarely seen bird species from Mexico and Central America congregate during certain times of the year. One of those species is a large, tropical bird called the elegant trogon.

“If only I could add the trogon to my life list,” I said to Kathy, as we began our long and sometimes tedious drive from Northern California to southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua Mountains, “my life would be complete.” She turned her head and gave me a funny look. “Just kidding,” I said, “but it would be great to see a bird like that without going clear to Guatemala. Besides, the place where we’re going is supposed to have thirteen species of hummingbirds.”

“Thirteen species?” said Kathy. “How many do we have at home?”

“I’ve only seen four species in our yard: Anna’s, rufous, black-chinned, and calliope.” The Chiricahuas have one called the blue-throated hummingbird that’s supposed to be huge.”

Kathy laughed. “You mean huge for a hummingbird?”

Javelina retreating into mesquite thicket. Photo by Steven T Callan
Javelina retreating into mesquite thicket

After spending the night in Tucson, Kathy and I drove an additional three hours before spotting the Chiricahuas off in the distance. “Those have to be the mountains we’re looking for,” I said. “They’re incredible!” Lying at the base of the mountains was the tiny community of Portal. “I see why they call it Portal,” I said. “It sits at the entrance to Cave Creek Canyon.” We stopped to photograph the surrealistic scene: a lush canyon of light and dark greens, bordered on both sides by majestic, cathedral-like spires. It was about that time that a family of javelinas appeared at the side of the road in front of us. I managed a hurried photograph before they disappeared into a forest of high grass, mesquite, and cacti.

Close-up of blue-throated hummingbird, photo by Steven T. Callan
Close-up of blue-throated hummingbird

Our living quarters for the next three days and nights would be the Cave Creek Ranch, a hamlet of scattered cottages, shaded by old-growth sycamores and cottonwoods, on the west bank of Cave Creek. The first bird I noticed, when we stopped at the office to check in, was a blue-throated hummingbird frequenting one of the many feeders scattered around the compound. I generally don’t like to photograph birds on feeders, but it turned out to be my only opportunity to capture the gorgeous powder-blue throat of this five-inch giant in the sunlight.

On the wall next to the front door of the office hung a list of resident and visiting birds. Much to my surprise, the list included thirty-nine species commonly found in my own backyard. “There’s one we don’t see at home,” I said, as I managed a quick photograph of a cardinal perched in a nearby tree.

Northern cardinal perched in a tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
Northern cardinal perched in a tree

“They’re all over the place around here,” said an elderly gentleman cradling a professional-sized 150-600 mm camera lens.

“Have you made any outstanding sightings?” I asked.

“Early this morning I photographed a trogon.”

“Where?” I asked, masking my excitement.

“Up off South Fork Road, near the bridge,” he said, providing me with specific instructions on how to get there.

Cave Creek flowing through Chiricahua Mountains, photo by Steven T. Callan
Cave Creek flowing through Chiricahua Mountains

Kathy and I spent our first evening walking the banks of Cave Creek, looking and listening for any sign of the elusive elegant trogon. I had never seen or heard a trogon, but based on what I’d read, the male’s call is similar to that of a hen turkey. We had no luck finding a trogon but did spot a brilliantly colored black-white-and-red warbler called a painted redstart. I commented that they should have named it the painted stop-and-start because it constantly darted around in the sycamore branches, never lighting long enough for a clear photograph.

Painted redstart in a sycamore tree, photo by Steven T. Calla
Painted redstart in a sycamore tree

I was determined to see a trogon before leaving Arizona, so early on the morning of the second day, Kathy and I decided to continue our search, this time with a more scientific approach: since trogons like madrone berries, we decided to search the steep canyon walls for madrones. Driving slowly through the canyon, with windows rolled down, Kathy spotted the first madrone tree. We scanned the branches, but found no signs of our elusive quarry. Continuing another quarter mile, I heard a deep but strangely familiar bird call echoing from the cliffs above. “That’s a trogon!” I said.

“How do you know?” said Kathy.

“I just know. I’m sure of it.” Casting all caution aside, in a state where thirteen species of rattlesnakes flourish, I grabbed our camera and entered a seemingly impenetrable wall of rocks, branches, and leaf litter. While the bird continued to sing, I slipped and stumbled my way to a clearing, glanced into the treetops directly overhead, and beheld one of the most strikingly colored wild birds I had ever laid eyes on.

Returning to the car, I couldn’t wait to show Kathy the photograph I’d taken. “They can keep all their movies and electronic gadgets,” I said. “Nothing can come close to a real-life experience like that.”

Male elegant trogon in Cave Creek Canyon, photo by Steven T. Callan
Male elegant trogon in Cave Creek Canyon

As exhilarating as our second day was, our last day in the Chiricahuas turned out to be just as enjoyable. Practicing what I often preach, I found a lawn chair, positioned it beneath a mature pomegranate tree, and patiently waited for the birds to come to me. And come they did! The first to arrive was a male hooded oriole. I had seen them before—once in my own yard—but had never been able to photograph this exquisite bird.

Male hooded oriole in pomegranate tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
Male hooded oriole in pomegranate tree

A minute or two after sighting a hooded oriole, I noticed a slightly larger and equally beautiful male Scott’s oriole in the same tree. Several female orioles flitted from branch to branch, but it was difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the hooded from the Scott’s.

Male Scott’s oriole in pomegranate tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
Male Scott’s oriole in pomegranate tree

Several months before our trip to Arizona, I had given a presentation about my new book to the Wintu Audubon Society, in Shasta County. Prior to the presentation, members of the group talked about special birds they had seen in the area. Much to my surprise, someone mentioned seeing a flock of lazuli buntings in her yard. During the drive home that night, I commented that I had never seen a lazuli bunting and didn’t know they frequented Northern California. I’m happy to report that on the last day of our visit to southeastern Arizona, a male lazuli bunting landed on a pomegranate branch right in front of me. What a thrill!

Male lazuli bunting in pomegranate tree, photo by Steven T. Callan
Male lazuli bunting in pomegranate tree

Kathy and I had come to southeastern Arizona and the fabulous Chiricahua Mountains to find the elusive elegant trogon and see thirteen species of hummingbirds. We saw only seven species of hummingbirds but came away with memories these two nature lovers will always cherish. We also learned a valuable lesson from seasoned visitors to the area: if you want to see all thirteen species of hummingbirds, visit this birder’s mecca in August—and bring plenty of water.

View of Chiricahua Mountains from Cave Creek Ranch, photo by Steven T. Callan
View of Chiricahua Mountains from Cave Creek Ranch

Steve will be signing copies of his recently released sequel, “The Game Warden’s Son,” at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area on Saturday, May 21, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., in the visitor center.

Steven T. Callan is an award-winning writer and the author of 2013 “Book of the Year” finalist "Badges, Bears, and Eagles --The True-Life Adventures of a California Fish and Game Warden.” He is the recipient of the 2014 and 2015 “Best Outdoor Magazine Column” awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of California. He can be found online at

More Outdoor News

Game Wardens and Ghost Towns

All that’s left of the ghost town of Newville are the remains of this service station. I remember the old hand-pump gas tank still being out front during the 1960s; it’s gone now. Photo by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan
12/02/16 -- Out of beer and three sheets to the wind, the three deer poachers turned west on Newville Road and headed northeast toward Paskenta. Rounding the first bend, they passed the ghost town of Newville. Newville had thrived...Full Story

The Most Beautiful Duck in North America

The drake mallard, with its iridescent green head., by Steven T. Callan
On Patrol by Steven T. Callan 
11/05/16 -- Ask any waterfowl enthusiast to name the most beautiful duck in North America, and he or she will most likely point to the brilliant, multicolored, drake wood duck (Aix sponsa). Others might claim that the iridescent green head of...Full Story

ODFW Weekly Recreation Report

09/29/16 -- Oregon’s most popular hunting season opens statewide Oct. 1. Don’t forget to pick up your tag by Sept. 30. Forecast rain could make it a good opener in some areas; see the reports below for more information. Don’t forget to...Full Story

An Island of Our Own

Western Toad, by kathy callan
On Patrol, by Steven T. Callan
09/23/16 -- Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of...Full Story

Rafting and Reflecting on the American

Rafting on the American River, by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
06/12/16 -- When I looked at the list of outdoor activities for this year’s Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) spring conference, a rafting trip down the American River practically jumped off the page...Full Story

The Mudhen King

Don Webster, author badge,
04/22/16 -- There has been a time or two during my life when having some knowledge and experience with the outdoor world has come in handy. Especially job handy. As in monetarily handy. I remember one such occasion...Full Story

Hite Cove

hand holding fish, by phil akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
03/21/16 -- Revered by the Ahwahneechee, later congressionally designated as a Wild and Scenic River, the South Fork Merced originates on the southern slope of Triple Divide Peak in Yosemite National Park. Part of the Clark ...Full Story

​A Letter to Ted Trueblood

Ted Trueblood, photo courtesy of Don Webster
By Don Webster
01/28/16 -- Although you probably know what’s on my mind, I think you understand that it’s important for me to tell you anyway. You, Corey Ford, Nash Buckingham, Robert Ruark, and Ernest Hemingway were writers who wrote... Full Story

Flat tires! Are They Undetectable?

Example of what happens to a flat tire driven at freeway speed and possibly ten miles distance, photo by Don Stec
By Don Stec
11/02/15 -- Modern vehicles handle very well. So it is understandable when some people tell us they did not notice one tire was flat and drove several miles on the flat, destroying the tire. The first time I had heard this... Full Story

Poaching in the Parks

A stately bull elk in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Photo by Kathy Callan
By Steven T. Callan
08/29/15 -- The recent killing of Hwange National Park’s beloved icon, Cecil the Lion, has brought to mind a number of outrageous poaching incidents that occurred right here in California -- all of them inside national parks, state parks... Full Story

Caribou Wilderness

Susan Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
06/01/15 -- Adjacent to the eastern border of Lassen Volcanic National Park is a remote volcanic plateau on the eastern slopes of what was once Mt. Tehama. Cinder cones, crater peaks, old-growth forest, and azure lakes make up... Full Story

A Jewel in the Desert

Once coveted by the pet trade, native reptiles, like this chuckwalla, may no longer be sold in California. Photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
05/25/15 -- In late April, before summer set in, Kathy and I decided to spend a few days in the land of blistering sands and sharp thorns. I had worked in the California desert during my early years with the California Department of Fish... Full Story

Don’t kill them all! Some snakes are good!

Indigo snake
By Captain William E. Simpson
04/27/15 -- Most survivalists and Preppers spend a good deal of time outdoors as do many other Americans. Many people have a healthy fear of snakes, and given the fact that there are several species of venomous snakes that are...Full Story

Marijuana Wars and the California DFW

ish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow with suspected poisoned bear at an illegal marijuana grow site. Photo courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife Warden Jerry Karnow
By Steven T. Callan
04/16/15 -- Just after daylight in September 2014, four California Department of Fish and Wildlife officers and four Nevada County Sheriff’s deputies quietly locked their vehicles and began what was to be an arduous hike... Full Story

‘Preppers’ & Disaster Preparedness Myths

Life is hard... it's even harder if you're stupid, John Wayne
By Capt. William E. Simpson
04/14/15 -- We live in a world where civilization, reason and logic are said to be at historic heights, yet so many people today, especially our youth, are making new lows in relevant intelligence and labor under a host of myths and illusions...Full Story

A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog

Pup, Phil Akers, A Happy Dog is a Panting Dog
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
04/07/15 -- Bigfoot’s number one pet is the wolverine but for us humans it’s the canine. Americans are projected to spend $60 billion this year on pets! A large portion of this goes to dogs. We all love our dogs and generally...Full Story

Show Respect and Pass Through Quietly

Butte Valley Wildlife Area with Mount Shasta in background, photo by Kathy and Steven Callan
By Steven T. Callan 
03/05/15 -- “Quick, roll up the windows!” said Kathy. We had just entered the ten-mile auto tour route at Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, when four cars roared by us like we were standing still. Pulling to the side of the road...Full Story

Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’

USMC Tactical Survival Axe, AKA: ‘The Bruiser’, photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by Capt. William E. Simpson
02/24/15 -- I am not an expert with edged weapons, even though I have a trunk-load of them, including the old Buck hunting knife that my Dad gave me when I was a teenager many moons ago. So with that said, I wanted to share...Full Story

Hot Stove

blue lake surrounded by gray snow peaked mountains with green grass meadow in the foreground. Photo by Phil Flip Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
02/24/15 -- Much like fantasy baseball, winter is the “hot stove” season for high elevation wilderness adventures. It is time to study and plan for the upcoming summer. But instead of preparing to draft players, we find...Full Story

A Problem Requiring a Different Approach

A humungous crowd of people.
By Captain William E. Simpson, USMM
02/08/15 -- Most survival strategies and related tactics used today draw upon the methods that were used or which worked in past small-scale localized and regional disasters, and will likely work again to some extent in similar...Full Story

Survival Using RVs

Silver mobile home with striped awning, parked on a grassy field alongside a river with forested hills leading up to snow capped mountains. Photo by William E. Simpson
Article and photos by William E. Simpson
12/26/14 -- Over the past year many people have reached-out to me asking the same question; ‘What can people do to survive a catastrophic event besides sailing to an island on a bug-out boat? This was of course a natural... Full Story

For the Love of Ducks

Snow geese at Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. photo by Steven T. Callan
Article and photos by Steven T. Callan
12/23/14 -- With the north wind blowing off snow-covered Mount Shasta, it was brutally cold that December afternoon in 1960. Sitting in the back seat of our family car, I spotted an enormous flock of snow-white birds feeding in the... Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part II

NASA image depicting solar storm impacting earth’s geomagnetic field.
By Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM
11/25/14 -- Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of Disaster Preparedness articles written by Capt. William E. Simpson, USMM. The first was an attempt to simplify the subject of disaster preparedness by focusing on risk...Full Story

Disaster Preparedness Strategies – Part I

Preparedness & Survival by Capt. William E. Simpson
11/12/14 -- Over the past few years, disaster preparedness (“prepping”) has become a popular topic. A very large mix of people have begun preaching prepping, all having different motives for promoting their particular... Full Story

Making Friends With The Neighbors

Wild (feral) stallions competing - copyright Laura Simpson 2014
By William E. Simpson
10/14/14 -- There are few animals in nature that match the majestic beauty of a stallion running wild and free. They rule their territory by day and by night. Recently, my wife Laura and I decided to change adventures...Full Story


 Newspaper headline from early August 1911. Photo courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.
By Phil 'Flip' Akers
10/08/14 -- Southwest of Mt. Lassen lies a remote and largely forgotten piece of Cascade foothill region. Dark basaltic cliffs and pinnacles adorn inhospitable river canyons, carved by what is now Mill and Deer Creeks, through bad...Full Story

Tall Trees and Emerald Waters

Kathy at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, beside one of the largest (redwood) trees on Earth., photo by Steven T. Callan
By Steven T. Callan
10/06/14 -- Kathy and I recently attended the Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) fall conference on the aptly-named Wild Rivers Coast. Stretching from Port Orford, Oregon to Klamath, California, the Wild.... Full Story

The 'Death Wobble' -- Be Safe Not Sorry!

Death Wobble, underbody of a vehicle, Don Stec
Article and photos by Don Stec
03/31/14 -- Death Wobble is not to be confused with a front-end shimmy or a wheel balance problem. A Death Wobble (DW) is very common on vehicles with a solid front axle. It has earned its name, not from mechanics but by vehicle... Full Story


Your outdoor adventures have only just begun
Northern California Fishing News, Northern California Hunting Reports

Fishing News

Northern California and Southern Oregon offer superb fresh and saltwater fishing. Before you make a trip, make sure you have
up-to-date news about where the fish are biting!

Hunting News

This region is also famous for its world-class hunting opportunities. Make sure you are armed with the absolute latest news by checking
the reports being filed daily at

Northern California Outdoor News, Northern California Outdoor Reports Outdoor News 

If you like to explore the great outdoors your choices are essentially infinite in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Use our news pages to plan your next outing!

Northern California Destination News, Northern California Destination Reports


So many places to visit and so little time, but if you scan
these pages you'll know in advance what lies ahead and what
not to miss in the almost-mythical State of Jefferson.
Buddy Photos

You are there! Towering mountains, vast valleys, unique shorelines. Land, water and air bursting with life. Opportunity presents itself. Llghting is right. Click! An image is captured for the ages.

Photo Galleries,

Photo Galleries

A preview of coming attractions...if you are planning a trip to this area be forewarned: What photographers have captured will whet your appetite for what will be an outdoor journey filled with wonders.  

Product & Services Directory

Don't let anything come between you and a wonderful weekend, vacation or or auto tour in this region. The fine product and services providers listed here will have what you need to enjoy your visit.  

Come back to for more Northern California and Southern Oregon fishing, hunting and outdoor news, reports, information, opinions and photos.


A friend to all who love the outdoors since 2006

Website Design Photo Credits: thanks the following individuals for contributing photographs for use on our Home and Section pages: Anders Tomlinson of, Casey Allen of Bayside, CA; Jason Haley of Medford, OR; Steve Breth of Burney, CA; Tracy McCormack of Eureka, CA; Grant Thompson of Grand Junction, CO; Richard Bott of Shingletown, CA; Ron Loftus of Yreka, CA; Scott Caldwell of Montague, CA; Lorissa Soriano of Alturas, CA and the late Dave Menke, formerly with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Website Design by Anders Tomlinson

©Copyright 2005-2015 by Frank Galusha, Editor and Publisher. Articles and photos are copyright protected and are published exclusively on the Internet by the publisher and may not be copied, displayed, reproduced or published in any other form without the express written permission of same who reserves all rights. Material supplied by others is the copyrighted property of the respective authors. Re-use of any MyOutdoorBuddy content, graphics and photos without written permission by the author(s) for any purpose is strictly prohibited.