Thursday, May 31, 2012

Birding in Arizona - Day one, third spot

Our last stop was somewhat unusual.  There's a guest house/lodge which operates Hummingbird feeders in Miller Canyon, called Beatty's.  On arrival the owner strolled over, sold us a couple of bottles of water and then insisted he show us a Spotted Owl, roosting up the canyon trail. 

He pointed to his fee box as we walked-up and we duly paid the $10 before we left.  He did indeed show us a Spotted owl, while on the walk regailing us with stories of:

- Killing Mountain Lions - 10 apparently in 2 years, hence he'd just finished hanging his Mountain Lion rug
- Killing Elk and Deer - his primary food source
- Insisting we avoid Tombstone - they are trying to grab his water sources for their own (Arizona relies on over 60% of it's water from ancient underground sources - there's going to be plenty more fights over water in the coming years)
- Suggesting we carry on beyond the owl about another 2km, past 'split-rock' and into the mixed woods above to locate Red-faced Warbler.

The latter involved a near 2 mile walk in fact and a steep gradient and climb.  We found split-rock:

No sign of the warbler though, but we did find Spotted Towhee.  On our descent however, and indeed lower than split-rock, and when we'd abandoned hope, we found a Red-faced Warbler, quite an obliging one:

Not only that but a Plumbeous Vireo too: 















We made it back down to his grounds and went and watched the Hummingbird feeders, adding Magnificent Hummingbird:
































Blue-throated Hummingbird:


















and Broad-billed Hummingbird:













as well as Black-chinned Hummingbird again:

 



In the spirit of non-bird pictures, this butterfly caught my eye, an Arizona local we were told:












We walked and indeed climbed much more than expected for our first day in Arizona, so headed, totally spent, to our hotel in Patagonia, and checked in.

A quick word on the Stage Stop motel in Patagonia.  I put a Trip Advisor review up about this place as it looked like they had been knocking down Barn Swallow nests.  They denied it and I have removed the review.  I do have photographic evidence though and am surprised at their claim that the Swallows had just started nest construction  - in Arizona, in late May.  That and the five pairs of Swallows didn't have a completed nest between them...

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