We wanted to spend some time birding in the Sierra Vista area of Arizona, so Doug booked us three nights at Tombstone Territories RV Resort. The sites were spacious and almost everyone of them had afternoon shade. This is a view of our site in the morning.
The park was situated on flat land that was a little bit higher than the surroundings, and because there weren’t any tall trees, we had a view in every direction. This was one of the sunsets we experienced.
We drove an hour west to Patagonia State Park, an important bird area. There were lots of other birders, but we were able to space out enough to have our own experience. We saw almost all of the birds on this board, except the “specialty birds.” We might go back again to try to see the Elegant trogan, or maybe just travel to Mexico where it would be easier to see. We were able to confirm that we saw the Mexican variety of Mallard. The males look very similar to the northern Mallard female except they have a yellow bill.
We had lunch by the shore. Patagonia Lake is a natural lake, something that is less common in the Southwest than a lake formed by a dam.
After lunch, we drove about 20 minutes to the town of Patagonia.
We visited the Paton Center for Hummingbirds. The centre is actually in the yard of Mr. and Mrs. Paton and is world famous, especially for attracting the Violet-crowned hummingbird, that’s on the sign. The front and back yards have plenty of feeders. There are benches set up, so it’s pretty easy birding.
The Violet-crowned hummingbird was one of the first birds we saw.
There were lots of other interesting birds, including this Blue grosbeak. It’s either a female or first year male. Our identification was made easier by the fact that we were sitting right in front of a birding guide and his two clients, so we heard everything he was telling them. Apparently it is rare to have a Blue grosbeak around at this time of year. And it was a new bird for us.
The Broad-billed hummingbird was hanging out in the backyard. We think he is the most beautiful hummingbird that we’ve ever seen.
The next day, we had a couple of birding spots to check out, so we planned a circle tour. We headed east on Highway 82, and went for a short walk on the San Pedro Riparian Preserve on the trails around Fairbank Historic Town. (That’s code for birding but not seeing anything.)
We went south through Tombstone, and chose not to stop at this tourist attraction. Our plan was to turn west towards Sierra Vista, but as we were approaching the turn, we realized that the town of Bisbee was only 8 miles away. Doug has read all the J.A. Jance books about Sheriff Joanna Brady, who is the fictional sheriff of Bisbee.
So that’s how we ended up in Bisbee, which is mining town that now has a focus on tourism. You can stay in the historic Copper Queen Hotel.
It wasn’t hard to find Old Bisbee Brewing Company in historic brewery gulch. The brew house was across the street from the tap room.
The tap room was very modern which was quite a contrast to the rest of the historic looking town. We enjoyed the beer. Wendy had a Russian Imperial stout and Doug had their Copper City Ale.
After a quick lunch in the truck, we continued on our original plan. We stopped at another part of the San Pedro Riparian Preserve at San Pedro House. We birdied along the trails, seeing 27 species including this Green kingfisher. Green kingfishers have a very limited range in the USA but are often seen at this site. We watched this female catch tiny fish from a low branch. Green kingfishers are much smaller than the Belted kingfishers that we see more commonly and have very long bills. Another new one for us!
Before we left our RV park and its reliable wi-fi, we got some work done on our blog and made sure our bird lists were submitted to eBird. The blog is a joint effort. Doug takes most of the photos and formats all the photos so that they load easily to our WordPress site. Wendy then writes the commentary.
This blog was posted with the use of a personal hotspot, from Usery Mountain Regional Park, as I sit in the shade with the iPad in my lap and birds all around. Isn’t technology wonderful! We’ll be here in the Mesa area for another couple of weeks.