Friday, September 24, 2010

Whitewater Draw Conservation Area

We headed to Bisbee Arizona which is a copper and gold mining town that has transformed itself into a tourist destination and we weren't quite sure what to expect. We took a short drive thru Bisbee proper and I was surprised at two things I saw. The community itself is quite quaint and really very nice with a victorian flare and lots of shops and hotels. The second was the mine that is the most massive displacement of earth the likes of which I have never seen up close before. The holes in the ground were massive as were the mountains of earth that came out of them. I couldn't help but wonder what the area looked like before it was literally moved from one place to another. When I return in a couple of weeks I will take photos of Bisbee and the mine as we plan to spend a couple of days there.

Route 80 has some very beautiful scenery and passes through Tombstone Arizona which is the location of the famous OK Coral. Tombstone was pretty much closed as we went thru very early so it was hard to judge if it is worth a trip. I'm sure if you're into the old west you'd find it allot of fun.

I plan to return to Bisbee in October to check out the town and more importantly return to Whitewater Draw Conservation Area. We will make as many trips as necessary to document the Sandhill population for this blog. Last year they counted approximately 11,000 Sandhills at Whitewater and I look forward to seeing this for myself. There was no evidence of any Sandhills in the area yet so I am hoping that by the early October trip there will be lots.

On the road to Whitewater we saw quite a few of these tarantulas in the road as well a couple of groups of abandoned dogs. There were so many flycatchers that I lost count (dozens) and there were also many hawks along the road.

Whitewater Draw which is in Cochise County and is part of the Chiuauan Desert is an exceptional conservation area that is home in the fall and winter to Sandhill Cranes. It is rather remote but well worth the trip. The first pool was quiet but we had already spotted a Northern Harrier cruising the marshes and we could hear ducks in the next wet area.

There were pintails and many other ducks that moved away from us as we approached.

A large flock of blackbirds is a sure sign of the approaching change of season which I am looking forward to so I can spend allot more time out of doors in places like Whitewater Draw.

There were three immature White Faced Ibises that were feeding in one of the shallow pools.

The Northern Harrier does a fly by. It was visible most of the time we were there.

I love the different colors.

I think these are Greater Yellowlegs but I'm not 100% sure.

On our way out we decided to sit in the shade for a while and were treated to these two Great Horned Owls taking a nap.

I took this shot while I was sitting in line at the border patrol checkpoint on the way back north to Benson.

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