2014 starts in Sierra Vista!

We arrived Jan. 2 in Sierra Vista in time to get our trailer set up and for Bill to have a business conference call (ACK!).  Poor thing, he has quite a lot of work to do over the next couple of weeks, so birding will get short shrift.  He promised me when we arrived here that we’d go out for dinner to our favourite little Mexican restaurant in Benson (stayed in Benson last year).  Unfortunately, after nearly an hour’s drive, it was closed due to “no workers” (ACK!).  Drove back to SV & found a Mexican restaurant there, but slow service and food didn’t compare.  We will phone next time!

We did go for a little walk Friday around the path which circumnavigates our RV/condo park.  Found 21 species!  That’s quite a lot for such a small space, and hopefully bodes well for when we can get over to San Pedro Riparian Area (SPRA) (riparian means located along a stream).  The Gambel’s Quails were hilarious, since they “talk” to each other from the underbrush, but are hardly visible, except every now & then.  And sometimes a whole row of them run across the path like they’re being chased by a devil!  HA HA!  (Pretty cute actually.)

Tuesday we finally went for a walk at the SPRA.  Such a perfect day with sunny skies, high 18 C & almost no wind.  Nothing unusual here this time.  Being a month earlier than when we were here last year makes a difference as to what we may see of course.  We did have a quick glimpse of a Belted Kingfisher – but are hoping to see a Green Kingfisher, which has been seen here lately.  There are tons of different sparrow species in the low grass between the centre & the big trees along the creek.  We counted at least 10 different species!  No bird photos, just a couple of reflections in the creek.

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Wednesday we visited Mary Jo at the Ash Canyon B&B.  She has built a water feature which is new and the birds haven’t quite gotten used to it yet – but I’m sure it will be a great draw.  We spent most of the morning sitting in her comfy chairs chatting to her and watching the action around her yard.  Lincoln Sparrows don’t usually appear in flocks, and I guess we found out why.  When 2 showed up there was a fight!  Here’s the lone one, then the fight!

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Then there were some nice views of some of the regulars.  Here are a bevy of red beauties (House Finches).

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A handsome Acorn Woodpecker.

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His cousin, the Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

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Another cousin, Northern Flicker, so common at home.  His red moustache shows up as a nice compliment to the hummingbird feeder behind him.

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Fort Huachuca (along with Tubac) has been graced with a visit by a Sinaloa Wren.  Unfortunately when we tried to get into the Fort, they refused me entry.  We had even phoned the duty officer who thought all I needed was 2 pieces of ID – but once they found out I was Canadian (and look as suspicious as I do with binoculars, etc.) – you can imagine!   Drat, I say!  A regular visitor to the B&B is a Bewick’s Wren.

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A very large contingent of noisy Mexican Jays dominate the yard.  But my, they sure are pretty (eh, Veronica?)!

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At one point there were a number of loud alarm calls from more than just the jays!  A young killer flew into a nearby tree – Cooper’s Hawk.

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There are other non-winged visitors as well.  Luckily Mary-Jo knew what these little rodents are – Yellow-nosed Cotton Rats (a member of the pack-rat family, they stole a whole container of pall point pens one time, and stowed them in a nest behind her fridge on the porch!)

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She also gets visited by a deer.  The fawn hung back, but the doe knew well how to get seeds from the feeder!

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What a nice place.  Certainly worth another visit before we leave at the end of the month!

Thursday we visited the north part of SPRA.  It was very busy with many different varieties of birds but Bill only brought his small camera because it was cloudy.  Nevertheless, I feel compelled to include this photo of the most handsome of all the sparrows in NA – Black-throated.  Isn’t he something?

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Friday we’re getting our hair cut.  This year we are not going to take a chance by using a beauty school, so hopefully it will work out okay.  Will let you know in the next posting.

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