Sunday, March 4, 2012

Birding Around The Patagonia Area

Western Screech Owl
Another owl and another amazing hike.  This time in the Patagonia area!  Surprisingly I had never been.  It was a bright day.  I did more hiking than taking pics, but it was a fun day with a lot to see!
Patagonia Lake
Patagonia lake costs 10 bucks per vehicle with 4 people. It's a really nice park full of camping, swimming, trails, and boating.  In fact, you'll find a little bit of everyone here. This park does cater to the birding crowd and has several of the best trails to help discover our feathered and furry friends.  Meanwhile the RV enthusiasts, swimmers, and campers will all stick together in their own areas.  Patagonia is one of the most diverse areas for birds and humans using the park for various recreational services.
However before I went to the actual lake, I stopped at a birder's haven....the Sonoita-Patagonia Preserve.  Bring 5 bucks cash with you as they don't take debit cards.  No machines.  Today I met several birders on this trail that I WON'T use for role models.  Oh goodness.  Where do I start?  Not typical of any birder I've met so far, these "birders" were loud and obnoxious.  One of them claimed to be a Professor of birding somewhere in the south of the US, but I don't even know how that was possible!!!??  There was a group of Javelina in the reeds and one of the women, with her thick Southern drawl, screamed, "LOOK!!  THERE ARE THOSE JAVELINAS!"  Unfortuneatly they did not attack but instead fled the scene:) If I had been the Javelina, I would have done the same thing.
This Western Screech Owl is very cool. And well hidden in the trees.  I thought I would spot more, but my neck gave out.  I tried to hang with the Southern birders for awhile but they were nuts.  Loud.  Obnoxious.  Shouting.  I hope the poor owl didn't die of a heart attack from the way they were climbing all over the base of the tree!  At one point, "the Professor" showed me his pics and wanted to see mine for comparison.  You know that contest...."Whose is better? Bigger?" etc.....ohhhhh some people.  While they were scrambling to set up their equipment to get a better shot, I took the opportunity to fade into the background and escape.  And was I glad I did....
A much quieter path lay before me.  And I kept my eyes open for movement....anywhere and everywhere.  It can be very exhausting.  I think I hiked about 6 hours today!! The path was shaded and a birder's paradise.
There was plenty of movement in the branches and I honestly was a bit lazy with my camera.  I forgot to take them because it was such a beautiful day and a wonderful hike on some fantastically maintained trails.  Birders and nature lovers will enjoy the walks.
As I walked past a birder, he whispers, "Deer to your left."  And there they were.  Silently I watched them watching me out of the corner of their eyes.
I smile to myself.  Even the simplest of things like spotting a deer makes me happy.   I sat for a few moments and watched as she grazed incognito.
At the end of the Railroad Trail, I reached the creek where I sat for a few moments to take it all in......
Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Fluttering about me was this Mourning Cloak Butterfly that captivated me with its beautiful shades of brown. 

Some of the oldest Fremont Cottonwood trees are found here.  It's also home to several endangered fish, bird, and insects.  Bring binoculars and a good pair of hiking shoes.
The American Robin
During this day, birders searched high and low for the Rufous Backed Robin.  I couldn't find them, but I did see plenty of American Robins.
And how about some Western Bluebirds?  Here are the best shots I could get of these lovely birds. 
And the  birders were goo goo gaga over the Phoebe bird.  Seriously, everytime I encounter a birder in the woods they are so excited!  I see Phoebes everywhere I go.  So I took several shots to prove it.  It's a cool little bird but I don't understand why they're so cool.  Maybe they don't have these little guys back home?  In fact, when I hear Phoebe....this is who I think about.....
Not my own pic...obviously.  But the one below is.  Again many of my birder friends may not find that funny.  This is Phoebe from the TV series Friends.  It just shows you the kind of birder I am:) The odd duck.  But here's the Phoebe that they're talking about:)
If you are interested in more info on the Patagonia Sonoita Creek Preserve, click here.
Hope you enjoyed my little trek.  More tomorrow.....

12 comments:

  1. Very nice work Chris....it's a pleasure to see this..... ca almost not wait till tomorrow.

    Wish you a lovely sunday,

    Joop

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  2. I very much enjoyed your trek! Thank you. Of course, I got all excited over the owl and got a great chuckle over Phoebe! :)

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  3. Też bym poszła na taką wspaniałą wycieczkę. Było cudownie i tyle ciekawych ptaków zobaczyłaś i nawet sarenkę. Wspaniałe zdjęcie w plenerze. Pozdrawiam. *** I'd gone to such a wonderful trip. It was wonderful and you saw so many interesting birds and even deer. Great picture on location. Yours.

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  4. Very amusing post! I can easily imagine your so called "professional birders", i wonder why people are so full of their own little person...the world seems to be full of those nowadays! :) I think you did the right thing by dumping them and kept going by yourself!You knows, their stupidity might be contagious!!! Ooooh mama mia! What a crazy lot! :))) By the way, great shots!

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  5. i'm glad you were able to extricate yourself from the loud, obnoxious folks and enjoy some peacefulness...

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  6. I did enjoy it very much. I love owls and wish I could come across one on my hikes. When we first moved to Arizona in the early 70's, the robins migrated through our area each spring. Not anymore. I'm sorry...I'm a phoebe fan. We have both Says and Black in our yard. I love their little song and of course, they eat the bugs!

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  7. What a great visit you had and lovely photos too. Well done for 'losing' the rowdy crowd, I would most definitely have done the same!! The words you wrote about seeing the deer say it all Chris, you love observing the wildlife around you for its own sake, because you love Nature rather than just competing with others to accumulate the longest list of species seen but hardly noticed or appreciated.

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  8. I real do enjoy the Southwest so I have decided to follow your Blog. Hope to see many photos of your area and the places you travel. Especially after all the snow this weekend - I need to go West young man! Here on the shores of Lake Michigan it is very different than out your way. I try to have the lake as a backdrop for many of the postings. If you go over a few past postings from the archives you will see what I mean. It is beautiful here and the gardens do well, but I still like it out your way! jack

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  9. Really birding day today, good photos, and the one who played the role of Pheobe, she is good, extremely good.

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  10. Great post and day of birding. Love the screech owl and the western bluebirds. The Phoebes (birds) are cute. I did enjoy the other Phoebe on the Friends show. Loved the photos and I enjoyed the deer and the hike.

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  11. You are so funny :)
    That aside, I loved every moment of this glorious ramble in the woods. I'd find it very hard to leave such a beautiful place!

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