Sunday, April 11, 2010

Birding on Patagonia Lake

When you live full-time in about 350 square feet, having the outdoors as part of your home is important. The weather in Arizona is usually good enough to enjoy being outdoors. But what we have been missing in both Mesa and Casa Grande Ruins was being in touch with nature. On Tuesday we came to Patagonia Lake State Park in southeast Arizona and here we can really enjoy God’s creation.

We both enjoy seeing and listening to birds. But we are learning what it means to be birders. We knew that bird watching was a major activity here. Someone has spent a lot of time nailing quarter and half oranges to the trees. Here is a house finch enjoying that fruit.

Tuesday afternoon we walked the campground and I was carrying my camera. One woman said, “We know where you’re going. The word is out.” Our thought was “what word?” But we smiled and walked on. Wednesday we were walking toward the birding trail when a birder left the trail. On his way by he said, “The Trogon is right next to the trail.” We stopped him and asked for an explanation. It seems the Trogon is a colorful semi-tropical bird that occasionally visits this park during mating season. When we asked him to describe the bird, he did, then said if you see it and aren’t a serious birders, we are really lucky.

We walked slowly and quietly down the trail, passing others going both ways, doing the same thing. Everyone had binoculars and most people had cameras. This is a serious bird photographer.

This is John looking for birds in the marsh. We have decided this activity (or is it inactivity?) isn’t something we will do very often. Might I say b o r i n g?

We didn’t see the Trogon, but we did see and hear lots of birds, including the American Goldfinch, which we saw frequently last year in Montana. I got a picture of the Vermillion Flycatcher. This was a new sighting for us. Isn’t it beautiful?

Tuesday evening we had walked to the marina and saw lots of Turkey Vultures. Look at the red head.

Starlings are everywhere. Look at all of them lined up on the electric wires.

The park also has deer.

And cows.


  1. Those vermilion flycatchers are gorgeous, aren't they? I Googled the people in town who feed the hummingbirds - the Patons - but it seems both of them have passed away. Chances are the new residents aren't feeding the hummingbirds and/or are not inviting the public. But the address is 477 Pennsylvania Ave. in Patagonia and as I remember is right on the way to Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve if you want more bird watching. :-)

  2. As a former birder I am sorry you consider the enterprise, "BORING".

    I always found it endlessly fascinating. Catching site of an interesting bird was always a thrill. I am glad that I can still easily identify birds by sight.

    Speaking of sight, I once met a blind birder on a trail. He could identify many more birds than the rest of us as he did it by hearing their songs. Since most birds have more than one song, this is a remarkable feat.