Monday, June 28, 2021

Paton Center for Hummingbirds

For years I had known that southern Arizona south of Tucson was a place to see hummingbirds.  We try to do something fun each day of our trips, so when I saw how close we were going to be to the Paton Center for Hummingbirds, we decided to take a detour.  There was certainly the possibility for life birds there. For my non birder friends, a life bird is a bird species that you have never seen before.  There are hummingbird species in this most southern part of Arizona that can be seen no where else in the United States.  I had an evening and a morning.  When I entered the property, I knew it was going to be glorious. It reminded me of Salineno in south Texas - feeding stations, water stations, and chairs for comfortable viewing.  This was originally owned by Wally and Marion Paton.  They opened their yard for birders beginning in 1973.  The property is now managed by the Tuscon Audubon.  

I did not wander much that evening, so I did not see some other parts until the next morning.  

That evening the most common hummingbird was the Broad-billed Hummingbird. While I HAD seen it at the Tucson Desert Museum in a hummingbird house, I had never seen it in the wild!  The males are really striking with their bluish purple throat and red bil

Other birds seen that evening were White-winged doves, Ladder-backed Woodpecker family, Lesser Goldfinch and Blue Grosbeak.

Costa's Hummingbird was another delight.

We drove to Nogales to spend the night.  There IS a hotel in Patagonia, but we were trying to mimimize our expenses so Nogales was significantly cheaper.  The hotel in Patagonia looks great, perhaps I can stay there another time when I come back to spend more days at the Paton Center.

The next morning I set about exploring the trails.  WOW!  There is a big hummingbird/butterfly garden. I saw my first Butterfly Weed Milkweed in bloom.  There was a small pond with a mulberry tree that the birds were coming in to eat the mulberries.  I spent at least an hour on the bench there watching a hummingbird feeder and the other birds coming in. 

Then I moved farther along the trail towards the residence.  A lovely covered seating area with all sorts of feeders: hummingbird feeders, seed feeders, oranges, etc.  Another birder and I started chatting.  Hummingbirds seen Black-chinned hummingbird, Rivoli Hummingbird (Magnificent), Violet-crowned Hummingbird, and lots of Broad-billed hummingbirds.  At one point I thought we might have had White-eared Hummingbird, but iNaturalist did not confirm it.  

Violet Crowned hummingbirds were the third life birds for me at this place.  

The last hummingbird species I saw there is the one that is my summer guest: the Black-chinnned Hummingbird 

Another bird showed up and gave me a good look but NOT a photo was the Yellow breasted chat.  I think I had seen it during the City Nature Challenge in Austin, but not a good looks wee.  So this was also a life bird.  Albert’s Towhee was a new bird species for me, as was the Brown-crested Flycatcher.  There were Pine Siskin - not as exciting this year because I had so many at my house during the irruption.  In addition there were Gambel’s qual, White-winged doves, a woodpecker, (probably Gila), Phainopepla, House finches (eating oranges), Scott’s Oriole, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Blue Grosbeak.

This is really only a 2 day drive from where I live.  I hope to go back. 

Side note - a week or so later their Facebook page noted that they had to take down their feeders temporarily because of bear sightings.  So glad I was there while the feeders were going. 

1 comment:

Lorin'sEggshells said...

These are just spectacular!