Birding at Patagonia Lake State Park
Park bird walks are held on Mondays and Fridays at 8:00am. (Note the earlier time) No preregistration. Free with park admission costs.
There are also Avian boat tours at 9 and 10:15 on Saturdays and Sundays. Bird from the pontoon boat with a bird guide. Registration required by calling or stopping at the Visitor Center. (520-287-2791)
You might want to check out the new eBird kiosk at the Visitor Center. It will show you a list of all the birds seen and reported to eBird with a photo of most of them.
I regret to tell you that so far no one has seen our beloved Elegant Trogon, nor was he seen after January last season. May he rest in peace with lots of lizards and grasshoppers nearby. But, trogons are being seen in the Natural Area below the dam nearer Rio Rico than the Lake.
For places to bird in the area see the descriptions below.
Birding Trail at Patagonia Lake State Park: The trail begins at kiosk at the east end of the campground. The first 1/4 mile is level terrain, then a short section of steps down and through a gate to the lake. Ducks and wading birds like the shallow, reedy area on your left. Woodland birds prefer the mesquite and hackberry trees on the right. The trail opens onto a grazed area with Goodings Willows. The trail leads to the east end of the lake with a good view of the water. Sonoita Creek’s delta is the primary birding area. Behind you is a riparian area of cottonwoods and willows where many avian species can be found. If you follow the creek, usually with some wading, you will eventually reach the Circle Z guest ranch fence about 2 miles upstream. Return by the same route. The trail is open the year around.
Birding near the town of Patagonia
The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve: 7:30 am. -4 pm. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Fees: $6 per person. Conservancy members and Santa Cruz/Cochise County residents $3. Patagonia residents and children under 16 are free. Location: 150 Blue Haven Road just outside of Patagonia.
The Paton Center for Hummingbirds: 212 bird species have been reported for this cozy home lot on the outskirts of Patagonia, including Violet-crowned Hummingbirds, Gray Hawks, Varied Buntings, Green-tailed Towhees, Thick-billed Kingbirds, and many more local specialties. Gates are open dawn to dusk. Entry is free of charge, but donations are accepted. Location: 477 Pennsylvania Ave. Patagonia, AZ
Birding near the town of Rio Rico
The Rio Rico Golf Course off Pendleton Drive has walking paths for birders that stay away from the fairways and holes. Birders can also rent a cart to get around to all 18 holes The Golf Course has been listed as a Hot Spot on Ebird. Suggested donation: $5. Additional charge for use of cart. On Monday mornings the whole course is reserved for birders only. Easy walking with ponds, huge pine trees, mesquite scrub and open areas.