Friday, 20 May 2016

Arizona... Days 5 and 6


Ash Canyon B&B
Mary-Jo Ballator runs a B&B and also invites birders to visit her bird feeding station. A donation of $5 is fabulous value for money. I arrived at dawn and left three hours later but could easily have stayed all day. Hummingbird feeders, Seeds, Fatty substances and tins of jam attract all sorts of wildlife.

Spotted Towhee

Black-headed Grosbeak

Magnificent Hummingbird

This was the coolest morning of the trip with gusty winds. The day before the winds had been strong enough to close roads for several hours in the Willcox area.

Black-chinned Hummingbird

?? Hummingbird

Scott's Oriole
Loves Jam


Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Northern Flicker

Broad-billed Hummingbird

Miller Canyon
I parked and walked for over a mile before realising I’d parked at the wrong place. So back to the car and I drove further uphill and parked again. This was not a very productive walk but it used up a few calories and encouraged me to drink a few more litres of water.

Hummingbird Nest (above and below)

Ramsay Canyon
I arrived at 12:30 and there were only two parking spaces available. If the car park is full you have to leave and come back later. I guess there were only about 30 spaces in total. So for a Sunday, I was quite lucky. This was a much more interesting walk, open areas with feeders and a gentle walk. Having walked at least 8 miles already, I thought twice about continuing up the canyon for the last mile. No … one more mile wouldn’t hurt. It did! It was so steep, it took forever and there were very few birds. Well there was a reward at the top, great views of White-throated Swifts (eye level). The walk down was very enjoyable!

Day 6
Whitewater Draw

Eastern Meadowlark

 A relatively long drive from Sierra Vista to Portal today. So I decided to have two stops; Whitewater Draw and Slaughter Ranch.

Whitewater Draw is another area which caters for birders. In winter it is an amazing spectacle as it is the important area for Cranes and has several Owl roosts. In spring it still has water in a few pools and plenty of interesting birds in the areas around.

Northern Mockingbird

Scaled Quail

The drive to Slaughter Ranch was horrendous, bumpy, dusty and not very interesting. I arrived at the gate to find it opens Wednesday to Sunday. (Bleep ….. it was Monday) There was a rather pleasant riparian area a few miles further but my enthusiasm for the area was dulled by the long drive. So on to my next accommodation DD Gamble Ranch and Guest House. 

Cactus Wren
Probably my favourite bird of the trip.

Say's Phoebe

I arrived at the Guest House mid afternoon and was met by Alicia and Tom. This was a fabulous place. Probably about a mile from the road, along a dusty track, meant it was a very peaceful place. The accommodation was brilliant and the food home-cooked and very tasty. Horses, cattle, miniature horses (for therapy) and miniature cattle.

Yellow-rumped Warbler


Gambel's X Scaled


Cactus Wrens

Western Kingbird

 I spent the afternoon sitting in the garden watching the variety of visiting birds and mammals. The highlight was a White-tailed Kite (aka Black Shouldered Kite) heading to its roost.

Tom is very knowledgeable about the local history, and this area has a rich history. Alicia is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about her charity work. At the same time they run the guest house and the ranch. Great hosts!

Black-throated Sparrow

Horseshoe Canyon

Chipping Sparrow

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