With the car packed and ready to go, a flock of Evening Grosbeaks descended on our Junipers. Out comes the photo gear. Spring Creek, NV.
A free campsite at Pahranagut
First night, Pahranagut NWR, an hour north of Las Vegas.
Another shot of Pahranagut reservoir from camp
Burro Creek CG, Arizona - second night out.
Burro Creek - a real sleeper of a place. We'll be back.
Getting in a little birding before getting back on the road. Burro Creek.
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) at Burro Creek. The first good bird.
Our first destination - Gilbert Ray CG, west of Tucson, AZ
Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis), Gilbert Ray CG
Curved-bill Thrasher (Toxostoma redivivum), Gilbert Ray Campground.
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) on a cold, rainy morning. Gilbert Ray Campground.
Black-chinned Hummingbird, juv. (Archilochus alexandri) Gilbert Ray Campground.
Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis) on Saguaro. Gilbert Ray CG.
Curved-bill Thrasher on Ocotillo, Gilbert Ray CG.
Phainopepla (Phainopela nitens). Gilbert Ray CG.
Phainopepla feeding on mistletoe, with which it has a symbiotic relationship. The bird eats the berries, then propogates this parasitic plant to other Palo Verde trees through its droppings. Gilbert Ray CG.
Another Cactus Wren (why do they call it that?), Gilbert Ray CG
Gambel's Quail, female (Callipepla gambelii), Gilbert Ray CG.
Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus). On the grounds of the Desert Museum.
Captive Cougar (Puma concolor), Desert Museum (which is also a small zoo for animals of the area)
Look for the cat in the background. Some people enjoy killing these for sport. Go figure.
Lobo (Mexican Wolf) at the Desert Museum. Another magnificent animal, exterminated in the wild in the U.S. by ranching interests.
Actually, he was just licking his lips, but it was a cool shot.
American Kestral (Falco sparverius). Desert Museum. Habituated falcon.
Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus), a wild outdoor visitor on the grounds of the Desert Museum.
Harris' Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus). Desert Museum, Habituated.
Cactus Wren, a wild outdoor visitor on the grounds of the Desert Museum.
Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps), a wild outdoor visitor on the grounds of the Desert Museum.
Harris's Antelope Squirrel (Ammospermophilus harrisii), a wild resident of the Desert Museum grounds.
Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria), a wild outdoor visitor on the grounds of the Desert Museum.
Costa's Hummingbird (Calypte costae), a wild outdoor visitor on the grounds of the Desert Museum.
Broad-billed Hummingbird, (Cynanthus latirostris ) in the aviary at the Desert Museum. I usually don't take captive animal photos, but I couldn't resist this one.
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), a wild outdoor visitor on the grounds of the Desert Museum.
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Male. Wild visitor to grounds of Desert Museum, Tucson.
Camp at Patagonia Lake State Park. All the water and electricity you can eat, $22/night.
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), Patagonia Lake.
Common Moorhen (Gallinua chloropus), Patagonia Lake.
American Coot (Fulica americana). Patagonia Lake.
Bridled Titmouse (Baeolophus wollweberi). Patagonia Lake.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Patagonia Lake SP, Arizona
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea). Patagonia Lake.
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias). Patagonia Lake.
American Coot on Patagonia Lake.
Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna). Patagonia Lake.
Great-tailed Grackle, F (Quiscalus mexicanus), Patagonia Lake.
Arizona Whitetail (Odocoileus virginianus), Patagonia Lake.
Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), Patagonia Lake.
Black-throated Sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata), Patagonia Lake.
Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps). Patagonia Lake.
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus), Patagonia Lake.
Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna), Patagonia Lake.
Rufous-winged Sparrow (Aimophila carpalis). Who says sparrows are boring? Patagonia Lake.
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus). Patagonia Lake.
Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii), Patagonia Lake.
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys), Nature Conservancy Sanctuary, near Patagonia.
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia), Nature Conservancy Sanctuary, near Patagonia.
Checking out a big shelf mold near Patagonia. We were looking for the Rose-throated Becard. It wasn't looking for us.
Grumpy Old Men resting their arthritic joints. Nature Conservancy Sanctuary, near Patagonia.
Arizona Whitetail, Nature Conservancy Sanctuary, near Patagonia.
Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya). Nature Conservancy Sanctuary, near Patagonia.
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), Patagonia Lake.
Bird photographer at work. You can barely see the bird, but the next photo in the album shows what was being taken. Definitely one of the highlights of our birding hobby to date.
Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans) with favorite meal - a grasshopper. Patagonia Lake.
From behind, you can see why the Elegant Trogon is also called the "Coppery-tailed Trogon". Patagonia Lake.
Elegant Trogon (Trogon elegans) At last! Four days of searching netted this rare exotic. One of the major reasons for our trip was to find and photograph this bird. Patagonia Lake.
This is what brings the Trogons north from Mexico in the winter. Patagonia Lake.
Gray Flycatcher (Empidonaz wrightii). Patagonia Lake.
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans), Patagonia Lake.
Inca Dove (Columbina inca). Patagonia Lake.
A couple of hot babes I met on the birding excursion boat on Patagonia Lake.
Looking at the herons, Patagonia Lake.
Common Merganser (F & M) (Mergus merganser), Patagonia Lake.
This is why you take the boat - Black-crowned Night-heron, juv. (Nycticorax nycticorax). Patagonia Lake.
Black-crowned Night-heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). Patagonia Lake. The rookery cannot be seen from shore.
Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), in town at Patagonia.
A Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) outside a laundromat in Patagonia.
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis), Patagonia Lake.
Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii). Patagonia Lake.
Orange-crowned Warbler (Vermivora celata). Patagonia Lake.
Cinammon Teal (Anas cyanoptera) ). We set up a portable blind to get this very shy bird. Patagonia Lake.
The Nature Conservancy Wildlife Reserve outside of Patagonia.
The cook and his friend at a Mexican restaurant in Patagonia.
Both of those plates are for Lynn. I had a modest salad.
The bane of Patagonia Lake. Although a state park, they can't manage to exclude the cows. The sad fact is that ranchers own the "public" lands in the western U.S., and are rarely willing to give up an acre. The park is a mess of mud and manure, right down to the water's edge. The birds still come, but the experience for humans is seriously compromised. A serious problem in Wildlife Reserves all over the West.
Looking north into the Nature Conservancy Wildlife Reserve outside of Patagonia. Only by buying the land can the cattle be excluded, and a true reserve created. Donate to Nature Conservancy!
A Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya), Nature Conservancy Wildlife Reserve.
Back at Patagonia Lake, we were lucky to find the Elegant Trogon a second time.
Yes! However, the cattle still rule here. Patagonia Lake.
Looking down on Patagonia Lake from the top of a small hill on our last day there.
Camp at Whitewater Draw. Not many facilities, but it was free. Our kind of place.
Whitewater Draw at sunrise. The cranes begin to return to the field to feed. They are only in the marshes at night for protection from predators.
On our first morning at Whitewater Draw Conservation Area west of Sierra Vista, we found this Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) warming up in the early rays of the sunrise. It was about 28F.
Male Vermilion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) at sunrise, Whitewater Draw.
Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus) Whitewater Draw. Although declining rapidly elsewhere, this species is abundant in this area.
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) in the rafters of an old hay barn (the Reserve used to be part of a ranch)
An outdoor Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), Whitewater Draw.
Barn Owl (Tyto alba). Whitewater Draw.
The big show at Whitewater Draw is the Sandhill Cranes (Grus canadensis). There were 18,000 of them there when we visited. A scene very similar to Bosque del Apache in New Mexico.
Sand-hill Cranes (Grus canadensis), Whitewater Draw.
Canyon Towhee (Pipilo Fuscus) Whitewater Draw.
This is what Northern Shovelers (Anas clypeata) do all day. I'd rather still be working (although it's a tough call). Whitewater Draw.
Whitewater Draw at dusk.
The saddle on the trail across Cochise Stonghold. We used to climb here, and know the trail well.
Yucca and Cholla, Cochise Stronghold, Arizona
Some of the fine granite domes at Cochise Stronghold. Hiking a climbers' trail that links the west side to the east.
A climb we did a few years ago at Cochise Stronghold.
Sunset at Cochise Stronghold, east side.
Chiricahua NP, from the top of the road, looking back to the west.
Mexican Jay (Aphelocoma ultramarina), Chiricahua NP.
Another Arizona Whitetail, Chiricahua NP.
An old Arizona Madrone tree (Arbutus arizonica), Chiricahua National Park.
Carrying the megacam in a vain hope of finding some birds, Meadows Trail, Chiricahua NP.
After I put the camera away, this Coati appeared near by. I had only a crummy point-and-shoot camera, and no tripod, and there was little light. Crummy technique leads to a crummy photo of a cool critter. Chiricahua NP.
Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) and Saquaro, Gilbert Ray CG.
Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), Gilbert Ray CG.
Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus), Gilbert Ray CG.
Hiking the Hugh Norris trail in Saguaro National Park west of Tucson.
Cholla along the Hugh Norris Trail, Saguara NP, western region.
Buenos Aires NWR, with Boboquivari Peak in the background.
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) at Buenos Aires NWR. It is rare to find these on natural perches - we saw many hundreds on utility poles, their favorite perch.
All benches are mandatory after age 60. Arivaca Acequia, Buenos Aires NWR.
Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) Arivaca Acequia, Buenos Aires NWR.
Female Pyrruloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus), Arivaca Acequia, Buenos Aires NWR.
Scanning the horizon for illegal immigrants at Buenos Aires NWR - this area is less than 10 miles from the border, and most of the traffic on roads in the area is Border Patrol vehicles.
The 4.5m telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. It is bigger than my bird lens, and even harder to carry around.
Saguaros on a random, trail-less hike we made in the Park. Major illegal immigrant trails with attendant trash are evident everywhere. (Still, it was a fantastic hike.)
At the top of a minor pimple in Organ Pipe NM.
The namesake of Organ Pipe NM. (Stenocereus thurberi)
The Saguaro Cacti are endlessly fascinating.
Skull of a Collared Peccary (Tayassu tajacu) in the desert, Organ Pipe NM
Our last day at Organ Pipe before beginning the drive home, calculated to squeak in before a major Pacific storm hit northern Nevada.