Me, Janet (Ron's wife), Ron before we pedaled off
to the fort this morning
Harris's hawk on nest
Sulfur-bellied flycatcher at Fort Huachuca
After Fort Huachuca, I resumed my ride to Patagonia. Patagonia is a tiny town that lies on Sonoita Creek to the west of the Huachucas and to the southeast of the Santa Rita mountains. This riparian creek attracts all sorts of birds, including and most notably for my purposes Thick-billed kingbird, Northern beardless-tyrannulet, and Abert's towhee. I will spend a day or two in this area searching for these and other species.
72 miles today - legs felt good!
Santa Rita Mountains from the road. I saw my
first Grasshopper sparrow of 2014 along this road today.
I heard several in central Texas about 3 weeks ago.
Among the many attractions in the Patagonia region, few rival the popularity of the Paton's Hummingbird Haven. Originally the home of Wally and Marion Paton, the property was acquired in 2014 by the Tucson Audubon Society (TAS) after the death of the couple. Since the 1970's this has been the absolute best spot in North America to see the very beautiful Violet-crowned hummingbird. For nearly 40 years, the Patons kept the hummingbird feeders full and welcomed visitors from around the world to their yard to share the local birds. Since TAS acquired the property, caretakers Larry and Annita have continued the bird feeding tradition. I arrived around 2pm and immediately grabbed a chair under the tent to relax and wait for the much anticipated arrival of a Violet-crowned hummingbird (they are seen here daily). While waiting, I tacked on Abert's towhee for year bird #444. After about 30 minutes, a Violet-crowned hummingbird (#445) appeared and posed nicely for some photos. It returned many times over the course of the late afternoon to the great pleasure of the assembled crowd! There were all sorts of other birds in the yard, and I have included a few additional photos of some of them.
Paton's backyard feeders
Viewing tent after everyone had cleared out
TA-DA! Violet-crowned hummingbird (#445)
Gambel's quail in nice light!
I will spend tomorrow birding the Patagonia area as well. I will head towards the Santa Rita mountains on Monday after the the long holiday weekend quiets down. Just a few more Southern Arizona species to collect!