Sunday, January 3, 2010

Return To Arivaca Cienaga Trail

We returned to Arivaca on Saturday to take another hike at the Arivaca Cienega Trail hoping to get some of the pictures that were lost because of the bad CF card. We decided to head down RT. 286 and take Arivaca Road which bisects Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. We counted close to 40 hawks on the trip with the Red Tail being the most prevalent.
We came across this Red Tail on Arivaca Rd. and decided to stop and take a short walk on one of the many dirt roads that crisscross the refuge. As I got close enough to get a good picture he let out a very annoyed screech at me. I advanced closer and again he screeched at me and finally moved to another tree a short distance away.

As I watched the hawk fly I noticed that I was being watched by someone at the tree line. Judging by the ears I would have to say about a dozen Mule Deer! (Some are not in the picture).

Beautiful grasslands.
Less than 10 miles from the Mexican border there are very few other humans except the Border Patrol as this is a very active area for illegal immigration. I have traveled for miles and never seen another vehicle.
On my first stop to get a shot of the Arivaca Cienega Creek I jumped out of the truck and this girl was standing there wondering what the heck I was doing only a few feet away. I was as startled as she was and she decided to leave. As she moved away I realized there was another doe a short distance away.
The Cottonwoods are a definite clue to the path of the creek. They are very stately and beautiful even in winter. Sunny and 70 degrees is a winter day here although it does get colder from time to time.

This is one of the Cottonwoods at the cienega. A cienega is a swamp or marsh fed by springs and is one of the rarest habitats in Arizona.
A Willow Tree does well in this environment.


The last thing I expected to see was an Eastern Meadowlark and even though I didn't get a great shot I had to include it just for proof!

White Crowned Sparrows were everywhere as were Purple Finches.
On the walk back we stopped and talked to a group of people out walking and they turned out to be the presidents of both the Friends of Buenos Aries Wildlife Refuge and The friends of the Alaska Wildlife Refuges. They also run workshops in Brown Canyon which is accessible only with the BANWR people. A private visit to Brown Canyon may be in my future.
We saw Northern Harrier, Red Tailed Hawk, Eastern Medowlark, White Crowned Sparrow, American Kestrel, Purple Finches, and a possible Rufus-backed Robin.

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