Walked the north side of SPRA where we find the exact same species as on the other side, but fewer people walking around. The usual huge array of sparrows dominates both the grassland and water’s edge. Here are a few of them: Vesper, Black-throated, and ?? (we have no idea what it is) and Abert’s Towhee with the little black face.
Also a flycatching Ruby-crowned Kinglet.
Here are some scenes.
We leave this area in a few days, so are trying to make the most of every place nearby.
East to Las Cienegas National Wildlife Refuge not too far from our first stop in Patagonia. An Eastern Phoebe was reported there, which would give us the full complement of 3 types of phoebes for the trip. It is a grassland area, very prairie-like and we saw lots of sparrows, a Horned Lark and 1 Meadowlark (not sure if eastern or western). The only bird which posed long enough for a photo was a Loggerhead Shrike.
The scenery was wide open prairie, which we love so much.
We eventually arrived at Empire Gulch where the phoebe was reported. It is a riparian area with large cottonwoods (like at SPRA) and we noticed that some of the trees are breaking into flower – THE FIRST BUDS OF SPRING! We could hear bees buzzing up in the tree tops and we found a few birds we haven’t seen for awhile (no photos) like Bridled Titmouse! We never found the phoebe, but really enjoyed the walk along the water. Also saw a purple flowering vine which grew low to the ground – I believe it is called periwinkle. Bill didn’t carry his camera, since it was just a short walk.
Monday we walked the usual SPRA area but found a new bird which we knew was seen there regularly, a Green Heron.
The usual huge number of sparrows showed up and we thought it might be interesting (since I think many people think they all look about the same) to show a shrub which held a giant and a midget: White-crowned and Brewer’s Sparrows. The large one is actually on a twig behind the smaller one, so no false perspective involved here!
There are lots of Yucca’s around, which often make us look for birds among the seed pods (they look like birds, especially if there are only 1 or 2 left on the stalk). Here is a Bewick’s Wren hidden among the pods.
We love this area and here is maybe the last photo from it.
Back to Bisbee today – and with Bill feeling 100% we stopped to photograph the town. It was established in 1880 as a copper, gold and silver mining town. The mine is no longer active, but mine tours are available. Ironically, there is a yellow warning sign which reads: “SCENIC VIEW 1/2 MILE” – and here is what you see:
The old part of town, however, is extremely picturesque.
We drove on to Whitewater Draw once again, to try to find the Ruddy Ground-doves. Another one was seen at an RV park on the way which we also visited. No luck on either one! However, many more cranes today. Again, the sound of their plaintive calls echoed all around us and I thought of my friend Ann – who is no longer in this world. I felt her presence and got a bit teary.
We spied the usual suspects here, but got a few bird shots: Great Egret flying, Killdeer (with his little buddy the Lesser Sandpiper), immature male Vermillion Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike sitting nicely for his photo again and the most common sparrow we see everywhere we go – whether in campground, countryside or city – White-crowned Sparrow.
Thursday we returned to Las Cienegas hoping to find that elusive phoebe – no luck. But we took a photo of the FIRST BUDS OF SPRING high in the trees (with the bees buzzing, etc.).
Also managed to capture one of those purple flowers on the vines which covered the ground – Big Periwinkle.
An active little Ruby-crowned Kinglet was the only bird who stayed near long enough for a photo – and we just didn’t bother with the Black or Say’s Phoebes – both of which were around and available.
It’s on to Willcox on Saturday, with a day of work tomorrow.