Lake Patagonia-birders paradise
Hello Sunshine! The clouds parted late in the day and we had a few glimpses of sun on the the surrounding hills as the clouds were blown off the tips of the mountains. The wet heavy snow started to melt almost instantly and the roads were clear enough to maneuver about carefully. Forgot how cold this stuff is!
The office and visitor center has feeders to go watch the birds as well as a lovely path, the Sonoita Creek Trail where a group of Pyrrhuloxia were dominating the feeders, this fellow figured out how to keep his feet from getting cold! Cardinals came and went as well as Yellow Rumped Warblers. Along the path Ladderback woodpeckers were busy on tree trunks and flocks of Red Winged Blackbirds and Grackles occasionally descended to take over the feeders.
Patagonia is a small town, just over 900 residents and it has a quirky feel to it. Not far from the State Park, 6 miles more or less, it has its share of camera and binocular wielding visitors roaming the green patches of trees looking for something rare or new to the birding community. One gas station, Two old pumps not seen much anymore and California prices, neither Pat nor Daisie-Mae the pig were anywhere to be seen, self serve in this two pump town;) The Red Mountain Foods has a wonderful assortment of very fresh produce, home grown eggs and staples and health food finds in bulk. The Patagonia Market across the street has milk, canned goods and a selection of beer and wine. The best was The Ovens of Patagonia-freshly baked bread but the pastries, lemon and cherry cheese danish were to die for!
Also in Patagonia is the Tucson Audubon Society’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds…how could I resist that? I knew it was early for the hummingbirds but I always have wanted to see it. The Cottonwoods in the yard looked like they had a hard time with the heavy snow, broken branches everywhere but the air was full of sound. The Tucson Audubon runs the Patton’s house, where Marion and Wally Patton fed the birds for over 40 years until they passed away. Over 212 species have been seen here including the Violet Crowned Hummingbird. I did not get to see it but many other delightful birds in and around their yard and some very chubby squirrels:)
The snow was quickly melting. I had another chance to Walk the Sonoita Creek Path. The creek was overflowing and the bridge across had been pulled aside as the creek would have floated it away, so no exploring the other side until the waters recede! It gave me a chance to explore the shoreline. Great Blue Herons and Cormorants, Lesser Scaups, a new duck for me, as well as Mergansers and Northern Shovelers seemed to be the most abundant birds.
Back at the trailer our feeders had flocks of Red Winged Blackbirds and Goldfinches galore. Great Cat TV. Three different hummingbirds showed up, the gorgeous Broad Billed, a Costa’s and even a Rufous I think, it could have been an Allen’s.
Bewick’s Wrens foraged under the bare mesquite trees. A female Vermilion Flycatcher was busy swooping down on bugs, I couldn’t see any but she was catching them as well as a Black Phoebe. Lesser Goldfinches were bathing in the melting snow puddles running off the trailer top:) A female Bushtit was busy in a pine tree, such fast little birds and chipping sparrows came and went with the house finches. Wonderful to see so many feeders up at so many trailers as many parks discourage feeding any wildlife.
I think I could easily stay here for weeks! These parks you have to plan ahead to get reservations. I was thankful so many cancelled because of the snow or we wouldn’t have been able to stay as long as did! The pantry was starting to look empty and we needed to do a run for ourselves and chicken to grind up for the four pawed family so we decided to move on to Bisbee. We’d driven by a few years ago on our first voyage on Myrtle One and it had intrigued us, and I’d made a ghost town trip through here 35 years ago, damn time flies! So it was time for town!
So stay tuned amigos, a break from birds to old buildings…maybe;) hahahaha!