SE Arizona - Sonoita and Patagonia (17 Feb 2013)

by AJ 17. February 2013 15:18

Starting from Willcox I drove east to Benson and then south toward Sierra Vista.  After a short internal debate about birding the Sierra Vista area, I decided to explore some new areas and went on east toward Sonoita.  Just to the northeast of Sonoita is the old Empire Ranch which has been acquired by the BLM and is now Las Cienegas Preserve.  This was an interesting ride through the grasslands although the winds held most of the birds down.  The most interesting were a small flock of Chestnut-collared Longspurs that flushed and a Sage Thrasher.

On to Sonoita Creek Sanctuary, a Nature Conservancy preserve and a place I had not visited for years.  The target species here, a Rusty Blackbird, was a no-show but it was a pleasant walk along this small perennial stream.  From there it was on to lounge at the feeding stations at the Paton property where I saw a nice selection of birds.


Audubon's (Yellow-rumped) Warbler


Bewick's Wren


Gambel's Quail


Green-tailed Towhee


White-throated Sparrow (rare winter visitor)


Ladder-backed Woodpecker

After a quick stop at Lake Patagonia State Park where a Ruddy Ground-Dove had been occasionally seen (dipped) it was on to Nogales for the night.  This is as close as I would get to Mexico this year.


Birds | Travel

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