Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Paton House

Yesterday morning I visited Paton House at Patagonia, Arizona. 

Many years ago, Wally & Marion Paton set up feeders to attract more and more of the many bird species they saw at their Patagonia home.  They also welcomed visiting birders into their yard to view.  Both Patons have since passed away, but their home and bird feeders are still going strong, welcoming birds and birders alike.  The place is managed by Larry Morgan, Ambassador to the Birds. 

A bright red Northern Cardinal male was singing in the trees at the entrance to Paton House.  There is parking for a few vehicles at the gate, I pulled into the last open spot and wandered over to the feeder area behind the house.  Larry was there to issue a warm, friendly welcome.  Several other birders and photographers were sitting under the sun-canopy - many benches and chairs are set out - waiting for the small birds to return after a Cooper's Hawk had flown through and cleared the area.

Pretty soon there was the familiar buzz of a hummingbird flying close. 

Paton House is the best place in the US to see the Violet-crowned Hummingbird  (Amazilia violiceps).   While I have seen this species in Costa Rica; this is my first North American sighting! 

Larry filled up the many seed feeders and the birds flocked in.....Abert's Towhee (a Lifer for me), Green-tailed Towhee, Pyrrhuloxia, White-winged Doves, a Lazuli Bunting female, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Am. Tree Sparrow, and many Lesser Goldfinches (Spinus psaltria) (below)

And more Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii).  I just love these birds and can't pass up a photo opportunity.

Or two.

There were Rufous Hummingbirds (pair) and also a Broad-billed Hummingbird  (Cynanthus latirostris) (pair).  This is the male Broad-billed.

Patagonia is a tiny place and full of character.  Several art and artisan galleries with a sort of, oh, let's say a back-to-the-earth hippy air about it.  I liked it.  I'm planning to stop in again on my way back to Tucson.   The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve (a Nature Conservancy property) wasn't open (closed on Monday & Tuesday).  So, I'll return, perhaps make another try at the Elegant Trogon at Patagonia Lake as well. 

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