Monday, June 14, 2010

Patagonia Roadside Rest

We visited the Patagonia Roadside Rest early in the morning. By the time we left, quite a few birders had arrived to check out the birds. This "world famous" birding spot is at the confluence of two creeks, which no doubt rage in times of the monsoonal rains. On one side is a steep hillside, on the other is Sonoita Creek and tall trees.

Here's the view of the steep eastern hillside. Black Vultures land atop that rocky outcrop and White-throated Swifts fly overhead. The call of the Canyon Wren can be heard in the distance.

This is a Black Vulture soaring overhead.

Cyndi pointed out the Poison Oak leaves to me, so I recognized not to walk through them on the creek side of the road.

She also noticed that the Ravens "looked different." She observed something in their flight that I overlooked. But, when I looked, the spatulate tail did seem a bit more rounded. I got out the bird guide and learned that there is a different kind of Raven there! Chihuahuan Raven. I imagine I may have overlooked other birds, too.

On the hillside this bird was noteworthy for the black and white division along the face. Above the eye was black, below the eye was white. I had a glimpse earlier, in the treetops, through the leaves and was certain at the time that I had found a Thick-billed Kingbird. It was nicer to see the whole bird later in the day. These photos come from three visits to this wonderful little spot. I had to return in the evening, on the way back to the campground ... and that's when this photo was taken. And, next morning, on the way to The Nature Conservancy Preserve we stopped again.

In the morning light, though, Cyndi and I walked the short length of the rest area turnout and at the far end, across the busy highway was this exciting find! Phainopepla. One of the birds with a fun name that has a crest like a Cardinal. We carefully crossed the highway for a better look before it flew off, black and white wing pattern flashing like a Magpie. I wish I could have taken a photo of it in flight, too! (Reason enough to go back, wouldn't you say?)

Other birds didn't just remind me of Idaho birds, but were the same species I had seen before in Idaho, like this Warbling Vireo.

Here's another shot of the Warbling Vireo.

This one is another of the often-confusing Kingbirds ... the Cassin's Kingbird. It has a darkish hood and a bit of white by the side of its bill. Kingbirds are almost as difficult as Flycatchers to distinguish ... so many slight variations!

Our next stop was to be the Paton's yard, and I wondered if we would be able to find it. I had some printed directions from the internet. As it turned out, the town of Patagonia is a wonderful, small hamlet that welcomes birders with open arms, as this sign at the edge of town attests. (Oh, and the turnoff to the Paton's and The Nature Conservancy preserve was marked with a big graphic of binoculars, like the wildlife viewing spots in Idaho. It would have been hard to miss.)

1 comment:

the casbah kitten said...

You two certainly did get 'bird overload' on that trip! I'm glad you got to see some new ones!