Click to return to ComingsBirds.com
To view a slideshow of the Arizona birds click on SLIDESHOW
Note that the folders for the HUMMINGBIRDS, ORIOLES, OWLS, SPARROWS, TOWHEES, WARBLERS and WOODPECKERS contain sub-pages for the individual birds. These can be assessed by clicking on these pages below the fine black line at the bottom of the blue section.
One of the greatest events for bird watchers in the U.S. is the migration of millions of songbirds northward from South and Central America in the spring (April – May) and back southward in the fall (September – October). The three southern states that are viewed by birders and the respective states as most outstanding places to view this are Arizona, Texas and Florida.
While we were in Hawaii, Dave and Jo Fuller told us about wonderful time that had at the Tony and Julie Battiste’s Breakfast and Birds in Hereford, AZ, 4 miles from the Mexican border. Since Toni was an avid bird photographer himself (www.battistebedandbirds.com) I knew this would be a photographer friendly place to go. I was right. When we got back from Hawaii we made reservations for a 3-day stay. Since it was late in the season we could only get reservations for April 4-6, a little bit before the peak of the warbler migration. But my instincts were correct. Tony had over a dozen hummingbird and wild bird feeding sites and, most importantly for photography, a blind. This allowed close-ups, a big help for bird photography. The lateness of reservations kept us from going to other places in southern Arizona except one night at the Dessert Trails B&B where I got some close ups of the Broad-billed Hummingbird and Vermillion Flycatcher.
Before leaving for Arizona I had purchased Finding Birds in Southwest Arizona by the Tucson Audubon Society (2007) and the older Birder’s Guide to Southwestern Arizona by Richard Taylor (1995), Since both raved about the Arizona-Sonora Dessert Museum just west of Tucson, we went there on April 3. The highlights were the hummingbird house, the wild-bird aviary, and the raptor release. The day we were there the raptors were the Chihuahuan Raven, Harris Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk and Great Horned Owl (See these respective pages).
April 22-28, 2011
We enjoyed our first trip to Southeast Arizona so much that we returned again a year later. This time by planning eight months ahead we were able to make reservations at the Walker House in Paradise, Cave Creek Ranch in Portal, and then back to Tony at the Battise's Bed, Breakfast and Birds in Hereford - all at the peak of bird migration season in late April.
Jackie and Winston Lewis and were the charming keepers of the George Walker House, a quaint and delightful 100 year old two bedroom home.
It is right next door to the Lewis's house. Between the two houses there were about ten hummingbirds and regular bird feeders, providing a surfeit birds to photograph up close. There were an equal number of chairs for visitors with their trusty binoculars to observe the avian feast. The first two birds I saw the evening we arrived, after driving from Monrovia in one day, were the beautiful Lazuli Tanagers and The magnificent Magnificent Hummingbirds. Because the Portal to Paradise road was out we had to take the Portal/S. Noland dirt road out of San Simon, 28 miles to Paradise. Once we were in the Paradise - Portal area it was 60+ miles to the closest gas station and large grocery store, so we definitely had to come with plenty of food and a full gas tank.
After two days at the Walker House, we made our way via 42 Forest Road, another mostly dirt road, the, to the Cave Creek Ranch in Portal. As advertised, this was a beautiful road.
Because we reserved it early I think we had the best cabin, #6, at the Cave Creek Ranch.
It had a back patio on the "river" a dry creek bed. Dry but beautiful. The adjacent Cave Creek Canyon was also beautiful.
The birding area at Cave Creek was next the office. About 6 feeders were hung from a wire between to big trees, surrounded by fairs for viewing. A bush right next to the office was a hot bed for hummingbirds. The prize here was the Blue-chinned Hummingbird.
While we were sitting next to this bush a lady was walking toward us and Sally exclaimed, "I know that person." Her name was Maya and she had taught school in Newport-Costa Mesa with Sally for twenty years. When she retired she disappeared. Now Sally knew where. Maya was an avid birder and had bought a house in Portal. We visited her the next day. She had a large enclosed back yard with a dozen mixed feeders. A Javalina Collared Peccary met us in the front yard.
It was there I saw my first Green-tailed Towhee.
Maya told us that the best place in the U.S. to see Lucifer Hummingbird was at the Ash Canyon B & B in Hereford, right next to Tony's place. So we stopped there and meet the host Mary Jo Ballator. She guided us to which four of the 20 or so feeders the Lucifer was likely to visit. Sure enough after 30 minutes of waiting, one flew in (see Lucent Hummingbird page in the HUMMINGBIRD folder). Talk about location specificity!!Tony verified that this was indeed THE PLACE to see Lucifer Hummingbirds.
Then on to Tony's place, Battiste’s Bed, Breakfast and Birds. The highlight here was a private tour to a great place for bird photography (in addition to his back yard). Here for the first time I got photos of a number of warblers: Grace’s. Orange-crowned, Townsend’s and Virginia, plus Hermit thrushes, Spotted Grosbeaks, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cassin’s Vireos and Yellow-eyed Juncos thrown in.