Saturday, 19 April 2014

Patagonia Sonoita Creek Preserve

Our destination today was The Nature Conservancy, Patagonia Sonoita Creek Preserve which is just off highway 82 in Patagonia.   Patagonia is a friendly little town, with a great coffee shop called The Gathering Grounds,
it is also a town where you really do need to abide by the posted speed limit, as the Marshalls are, quite rightly, hot on offenders.  It’s also about the only place I’ve ever seen huge semi truck’s slow down and actually do just that.  

The visitor centre at the preserve was our first stop for information and a trail map, entrance is free if you’re a member of the Nature Conservancy, otherwise it’s $6.00 each.

Five miles of Sonoita Creek are a perenial water source and the first two miles of that run through the preserve.   The creek is home to some of the most endangered species of acquatic plants and fish in the Southwest.

Along the trail by the creek 

The remains of an old railroad that used to run from Benson, AZ to Guaymas, Mexico from 1882 until 1962 are now part of a trail that runs through the preserve.
The preserve is also home to more that 22 species of birds of prey, we can recognise a hawk and a few other easily recognisable birds when we see them, but we’re not birders so mostly we just see, well, a bird.  We can however recognise these two birds. 

Vermillion Flycatcher

Humming birds at the visitor centre

This bird was tucked in the branches of the tree along with the vermillion flycatcher, but we have no idea what it is, probably something really common.

The very green area is a cinega which means that there is a higher level of groundwater, it’s what is left of a wetland area that once upon a time may have extended into what is now the town of Patagonia.   As groundwater in the Southwest recedes cinegas are rapidly disappearing.

A view of the mountains from the trail.

Even though we’re definitely not birders, we enjoyed our trip through the preserve. 

Have fun, we are!

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