Last year, we attended the Verde Valley Bird Festival, so we knew of some areas we could return to that had good birding potential. We were about a month and a half earlier than last year, so we didn’t see quite as many species, but we had fun nonetheless.
Bubbling Ponds Preserve is connected to the Page Springs Fish Hatchery and has good viewing opportunities right near the rearing ponds and well as along the nature trail.
We saw over a dozen Great blue herons. The fishery personnel must figure on losing a number of fish to predation when they do their planning. Another adept fisher is the Belted kingfisher, which you can see below.
The area is noted for being a nesting site for Common black hawks, which have a limited range in the United States. After our walk around the trails at Bubbling Springs, we drove over to the fish hatchery. We checked out the black hawk nest, which was empty, but we spotted one in a tree. It moved between trees a few times and Doug was patient enough (and lucky) to catch it flying off its perch. You can make out its white tail band and yellow and gray beak.
The Sedona Wetlands Preserve was close by. The ponds are adjacent to the water treatment facility.
Here’s a view of one of the trails. We saw over 20 species in this spot, including a couple of Northern cardinals, but didn’t take any noteworthy photos.
We birded in Prescott at Willow Lake, after our mountain bike ride one day. The waterfowl were mostly Northern shovelers and American coots, but we were able to pick out a Redhead and some Canvasbacks with the aid of the ‘scope. The trees by the shore were full of Yellow-rumped warblers.
Another day, we visited Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. It was busy with tourists and a bit windy, so we weren’t expecting to see many birds. We were almost at the exit, when we heard a Gila woodpecker. We stopped to look and soon had seen over a dozen species in a few minutes, including Dark-eyed juncos which are common to us, but had not been recorded as seen there before. That’s one of the things that draws us to birding; you just never know what you might see.
That same day we visited Montezuma’s Well. There were Cinnamon teals and American widgeons in the “well,” which is formed when a volcanic crater collapsed long ago and is fed by continuing flowing springs.
We joined an organized bird walk at Tuzigoot, the other nearby National Monument. One of the rangers there is an avid birder and leads bird walks on the second and fourth Saturdays. We saw 28 species: the Vermilion flycatchers and the Northern cardinal were the brightest and the Osprey was the most unexpected. We recognized the osprey right away, but the species hadn’t been recorded there before at that time of year.
We also did some birding at our RV park. Zane Grey RV Resort is right on West Clear Creek. Earlier this year, the area had a huge snowfall, followed by heavy rain. The usually small creek flooded its banks. When we arrived in the middle of March, these Wood ducks had been hanging around for a few weeks. By the time we left, the creek was mostly in its original channel, and the pair had moved on to a hopefully more hospitable place to raise a family.
And now to the etcetera. We couldn’t resist going to the Wine festival in Camp Verde.
With your admission price, you received a wine glass and tickets that you could redeem for a “pour.” We were pleasantly surprised at the quality and the number of wineries.
And then there was one of our favourite breweries: That Brewery in Cottonwood. It wasn’t too far out of our way at the end of a hike or a bike ride or a birding session. The tasting room is right in their brewery and had friendly people and tasty beer.
We really fit a lot into our stay in the Sedona area. Next is Grand Canyon.
(We probably need a day of poor weather to catch up on all our posts!)