Sunday, 27 February 2011

Whitewater Draw

This morning was unusual, it was overcast and cloudy, no sunshine. It was the advance front of a huge winter storm heading our way from California and threatening some nasty weather for Saturday night/Sunday morning. We’ll hunker down and see what happens.

Despite the mostly cloudy forecast, there was no wind and it was warm so we headed off to Whitewater Draw as a couple we’d met along the trail yesterday had told us that the Sandhill Cranes were still there and that we should be able to see them mid-morning.

Our route took us through Tombstone and Bisbee, before we turned onto the dirt road that took us to the entrance.

The area is managed by Arizona Game and Fish, camping is allowed for a maximum of 3 days, it’s a lovely spot with wide open views across the Sulphur Springs Valley.

Our first stop was the barn where high in the rafters a Great Horned Owl sleepily watches the tourists who wander along to peer at him through binoculars and take photographs.

There are several different ponds attracting an enormous amount of wildlife.

Around lunchtime we heard a croaking noise and saw swarms of cranes circling around in the sky

before coming into land. During the winter there can be over 30,000 cranes in the Sulphur Springs Valley migrating from as far away as Siberia, they are usually in the area until the beginning of March.

In their summer breeding grounds they eat small animals, tubers and seeds, but during the winter corn and other grains left after the harvest make up their diet.

The birds are about 4ft tall, they could almost look me in the eye!

Have fun, we are!

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