Here it is – the last few days before moving to Benson. Sometimes it seems the month has flown by – sometimes it seems we’ve been here forever! Whatever we feel & despite the cold mornings & some snow, we’ve really enjoyed the birds of the area & our stay in Amado.
Feb. 25: At 5:30 AM is was -6 here & in Calgary, +2. Oh well. We took our last walk at Arivaca, just up the road 23 miles. Some lovely sightings, though no photos. The first bog was still frozen, but when we got to the pond, it was open & we saw lots of great birds, including a new one: Rufous-capped Sparrow (no photo opportunity). A very pleasant walk – then on to the other trail nearby where it was quite quiet. A few woodpeckers and not much else!
There were border guards at the 2nd parking lot – we see them everywhere. They travel by horse, ATV, plane & 4-wheel drive vehicles. They pass by us on every road we are ever travelling on – going both ways. We haven’t found them to be too bad & are always prepared with passports. We have to go through a checkpoint each time we come back to the RV park from the south (even after dinner in Tubac!) We usually get waved on, since they are looking for Mexicans (I guess we don’t look the part). Most times they ask, “both US citizens?” – then I admit to being Canadian, they look at my passport & wave us through. At the more rural stops, we have even bantered with them about birding! On the main hwy (19) near us, at the big stop where many, many large trucks pass by, they have canines on duty, usually German Shepherds – very impressive working dogs!
Feb. 26: Our last walk at Box Canyon in the Madera Valley. No Rufous-capped Warbler today (nor Montezuma Quail) – but lots & lots of birds. Must have seen close to 40 species today. Bill did take a few photos & I insisted he take one of the Coati who frequents the bird feeders near the gift shop.
When we walked up the road we found an Arizona Woodpecker at the feeders near a little house – the only brown woodpecker in NA – almost all the rest are black & white. She is a female (without the little red head crescent of the male). Quite pretty I think.
We also found some Yellow-eyed Juncos, which we’d driven miles up to Mt. Lemmon to find previously. Here’s an even better photo than the last one.
When we got home it was 4:30, so I didn’t have much time to thaw something for dinner – so we went out to Elvira’s again! Great meal.
Feb. 28: Yesterday was a “day in” for work. Today is our last day here & we walked the De Anza trail just south of Tubac. Here is our surprise bird today – a Peacock! They are kept by a rancher along the road, but are not fenced in. I assume they are fed & stay close to home. There are 3 males & 3 females as far as we could see.
The other great surprise was a Plumbeous Vireo – a LIFER! It is also the first vireo we have seen, so spring is slowly coming. No photo, but good enough views to identify it. Yay!
March 1st & we’re off to Benson! Our site is located nexxt to the “natural wash” & our neighbours (from Port Elgin, ON – George & Shirley) have a bird feeder. We have seen the beautiful Black-throated Sparrow feeding there – certainly one of the smartest looking sparrows in NA! Still trying to get a decent photo (watch for it!). They asked what the cardinal-like bird was which wasn’t as red – so we told them it was the Pyrrhuloxia. What a name, they thought!
We headed off to San Pedro Natural Area for our first walk along a stream & to a pond. We saw a Yellow-headed Blackbird at the feeder at the visitor centre, which is a new one for our list. Nothing else new, but a gorgeous day for a walk (I dare not say too hot, although at 25C, a little above where I’m comfortable). Here is a photo of the beautiful trees in this area:
With the border nearby & Fort Huachuca, there is a dirigible “spy” balloon flying – here it looks like it it tethered to the moon!
We went on to the Nature Conservancy lands nearby to walk Ramsey Canyon, where Bill saw another new bird (but I didn’t) – Hutton’s Vireo. This place is famous for about 14 species of hummingbirds. None were visible today at the visitor centre feeders, but we’ll visit again.
March 3: Bill needs to work today – so laundry & cleaning for me. We are going to rent a car tomorrow for the rest of the month, since we are selling the Jeep. Our mileage will be about what Bill estimated – once we drive home. Plans are starting to take place of how to unpack in the storage place we have found, then leave the RV at Lazy Days (where we bought our airstream & traded in the “monster”). Still lots to see around here, so stay tuned, as spring advances & with it more new birds!