Our birding adventure in Patagonia, AZ was fabulous

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            We spent only three days in Patagonia, Arizona last year and immediately decided to remedy that this year. So we booked an 11 day stay at Cross Creek Cottages before we left last year. What a great decision that was.

            Three cottages adjoin in one building artistically designed by owner and artist Regina Medley.

Our cottage is both roomy and comfortable - a great home base for a whole lot of birding adventures. The big kitchen made cooking meals a pleasure. Regina was available for anything we needed and even arranged a get together one evening so we could visit with the tenants in a separate building who stay here seven months of the year.

            The thing with birding is that a quick breakfast is all you have time for, because the birds are already calling. There is nothing quite like being outside early and having birds all around you chirping! With a fanny pack for snacks and water, and a small cooler for picnics, we were all set.

            We explored all sorts of new spots this trip. Ladies staying in the next cottage urged us to drive out Harshaw Creek Road first thing in the morning, and even drew us a map! This dirt road is close by and follows a stream bed lined with cottonwood trees and mesquite grasslands. Western, Hepatic and Summer Tanagers are really something to see. But the Canyon Wren, singing from a branch right beside the road, was incredible. I’d forgotten to bring the little notebook to record the birds, so it took quite a stretch of my memory to come up with the 19 species we saw that first morning!

            Our copy of Finding Birds of Southeast Arizona published by the Tucson Audubon Society really helped us determine where we wanted to go and what types of birds we might see there. We birded the Huachuca Mountains with trips to Carr Canyon, Miller Canyon, and Ramsay Canyon. By getting up in the higher elevations we were able to add several new species to our life’s list.

            The dirt road up Carr Canyon may have taken a few years off my life but we were rewarded with Cordilleran, Buff Breasted and Gray Flycatchers. The loop hike along the canyon was beautiful. A three quarter mile hike up Miller Canyon brought us to a pair of spotted owls right next to the trail. Apparently this is where they hang out regularly. Wow.

            I talked George into a “first thing in the morning hike” which connects Audubon’s Patton Center to the Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, both only minutes from our cottage. The Audubon trail is newly constructed, a short one mile walk with stunning views and – of course – lots of birds.


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