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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Southeast Arizona’s La Posta Quemada Ranch

April 19th, 2012 · No Comments

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Southeast Arizona offered everything we expected — except for hot weather.

On April 10 my friend Sharon and I flew from Denver to Tucson, rented a car that she drove, and went birding at one of the world’s top hotspots. Here is where the Rocky Mountains meet the Sierra Madre, where the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts come together, and where the Great Basin touches the Great Plains. Here in less than one percent of the land area of North America birders have recorded about 500 species of birds, more than half of all those ever seen in the contiguous United States, Alaska, and Canada.

We heard, saw, and photographed so many new bird species that we had never seen before that we couldn’t keep track. In this and following photo essays I will share some of my bird photographs as well as images of other wildlife, flora, and landscape.

The Tucson area at the northwest corner of Southeast Arizona was the only place we visited that anyone could call warm. We started our trip there at La Posta Quemada Ranch in Colossal Cave Mountain Park. Some 30 miles southeast of Tucson, this ranch includes a narrow corridor of mesquite bosque and a moist riparian area of dense cottonwood and willow surrounded by typical Sonoran desert scrub.

As we arrived at the ranch the first bird that we saw had such a thin shape that we knew we had never seen it before. Paging through Birds of Southeastern Arizona, I found a match, although I had never heard of it before and still can’t pronounce it properly.

A Male Phainopepla

A Male Phainopepla

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From the ranch headquarters we hiked a well-shaded trail through the dense riparian thickets. Along the trail we found flowers and butterflies, often together as in this photo.

A Butterfly on Native Thistle

A Butterfly on Native Thistle

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At the ranch headquarters is a small open air cafe where I got a typical Arizona meal of bratwurst and sauerkraut. The cafe was a step up from the old saloon and grille.

A Large Saguaro Shades the Old "Road Kill Saloon and Grille"

A Large Saguaro Shades the Old "Road Kill Saloon and Grille"

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While waiting for lunch, I spotted an inhabited Saguaro. This one is a sparrow’s home.

A Sparrow at its Front Door

A Sparrow at its Front Door

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We were off to a good start. And we weren’t even finished with our first day in Southeast Arizona.

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