Posts Tagged With: birders


We began our bird walk on a marked trail, climbing a rocky point and then descending to a flat marshy area.  It was 9 a.m. and chilly.  We found ducks immediately enjoying the water.

I named this spot “golden pond”.  These ducks are common in Arizona but do not show up in many bird identifying websites I looked into. 

A family of  mallards off in the distance.

The birding area  follows the marsh and Sonoita creek. The trees look dead.  Tangled brush and leaves cover the ground. Paths run off in every  direction. We found the woods full of birders. We knew to be quiet and only spoke to people in a whisper. If we met people ahead of us, we would change directions and choose another path to allow each couple quiet space of their own.

And, we did see birds. Lots of them. We don’t know their names but found their voices filling the woods enjoyable. We would stop often and listen, then try and locate the bird from the sound.

I’m better at identifying plants and enjoyed a taste of watercress. It grew prolifically along Sonoita Creek.

Whether we saw birds or didn’t, we enjoy walking in the woods and always find something of interest.  Someone built a cairn.

Is this a natural rock formation?  Or man-made, we wondered.

We happened upon this old, gnarled giant growing horizontally from the bank.  Sonito Creek once poured through here and this tree hung over the water.

The bark was beautiful and shaggy.

From that angle, it is hard to believe  the main  trunk can  hold up several heavy trunks and it’s  crown.

Mushrooms slowly eating away at dead wood.

Sonito Creek winds like a snake through this preserve and I crossed it several times on make-shift bridges.

The most colorful bird we saw was the vermillion flycatcher. I was surprised the picture turned out as good as it did considering our equipment and how fast this little guy moved from place to place.  We saw warblers and flickers and a small flock of silver winged, green and yellow breasted birds so exquisitely tiny, flitting about in the trees as though purposely putting on a show.

With my camera, if I can get close enough, the result is decent as this little crested fellow, one out of probably seven or eight tries.

And I got two credible pictures of this noisy fellow.

We could see he was calling to a mate, or prospective mate. While in the woods we met a birder with a camera mounted on a heavy mono pod with multiple lenses three feet long. The end lens was about 10 inches in diameter. Now, that is birding equipment. Fascinating stuff. I asked if I could take his picture and he turned his back on me an walked off. I guess some birders are as illusive as their quarry.

Bet he didn’t get a picture of this cowbird!!

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Before leaving Nogales yesterday morning, we stopped at a truck stop for a lube and oil change on the motor home. Jim measured the pit before pulling in to make sure the Bronco on the back could be pulled over the pit. The width of the Bronco was fine.

But, as we tried to pull out, the Bronco’s oil pan would not pass one piece of equipment in the pit and had to be removed anyway. It was a good try, anyway.

I’d heard everyone talk of Patagonia Lake as a beautiful State Park. It was a cold, windy gray day. The mesquite trees don’t have their leaves yet and the scenery looks like the aftermath of a forest fire. Beautiful was not the adjective I’d have chosen for this area. It has a reputation as a birding paradise and there were plenty of crows hanging around.

We took a walk to look the park over.  The lake has a designated swimming area cordoned off. Every campsite  and a generous group picnic area is roofed over from the sizzling Arizona summer sun.  Water is scarce here. I began to get a feel for what this lake must mean to people who live in the surrounding areas.

The campgrounds weren’t full but there were a number of rigs and two tent campers, but not a boat on the lake. We spotted a single fisherman casting his line.

In shallow spots, cat tails grew in abundance and rock lined the opposite shore.

We came to a steep wooden walk-over bridge. Delightful. It was meant to allow sailboats under it.

From the top of the bridge, you can see the lake has a lot of character. On the opposite bank is a point with a telescope mount to view the area mountains or boaters below.

Huge layered boulders provide a great place to catch some sun or dive into the water below, although a sign says “No Diving”.

I circled around and discovered this nice marina with rental paddle-boats, kayaks, canoes and fishing boats. Not available just then because the visitors center is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the “off” season.

Then I saw this sign and got a new respect for the “beauty” of  Patagonia Lake. No jet-skis, personal watercraft or water exhausted boats, jet-boats at anytime on this lake nor ski boats on weekends or holidays. Oh, what a treat to enjoy a weekend away on this lake without the motors and noise intruding.  Beauty isn’t always beheld by the eyes alone. This lake is a lovely jewel in the desert.

Then I met Eileen and Bob, both avid birders and volunteers at this park every year. Another couple work here as volunteers for six months staying in their 5th wheel and then spend the other six months on their boat. Eileen told me there was a bass tournament with 70 boats in the water over the weekend. They  assist with these events.  Eileen and Bob  take people on bird walks every Wednesday, too late for us. They told me where to go to see birds and showed me a picture of an elegant trogon. They had seen the elegant trogon nearly every day on their own walks.

I looked up the trogon and found wonderful information on-line including the sound they make at this site:
So, today we walk and hope to see Arizona’s most famous and sought after bird.

I took 25 pictures if you’d like to see more:

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