Corona de Tucson
December 2, 2023
|Patagonia Lake State Park
Last weeks post ended with the mention of an adventure with Jamie and Andra on Saturday. During coffee that morning several possibilities were discussed for a day trip to near by places that Jamie and Andra had not visited yet. Patagonia Lake was unanimously chosen...yippee !
The lake and surrounding area became a state park in 1975 and what makes it especially nice is that it joins the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area...both are named an Audubon important bird area.
Patagonia Lake was actually formed when Sonoita Creek was dammed back in the 60s. It's not a big lake at only 265 acres and 2.5 miles long, but it is always busy with boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, birding and camping.
|It sure is fun revisiting and sharing favorite places.
There are a couple of bird feeding stations at the park. I was so happy to see a White-breasted Nuthatch. I read that they get their common name from a habit of jamming large nuts and acorns into tree bark then whacking them with their sharp bill to "hatch" out the seed.
These small territorial birds move about quickly at odd angles...mostly vertical...along the main branches of large trees which makes snapping a clear photo a bit of a challenge.
I was also delighted to see a male Ladder-backed Woodpecker. A sweet little female ladder-back visits our backyard feeders with some regularity, but we have not yet seen a male in the yard...fingers crossed !
I don't think this female Common Grackle was very happy to see us...
And a "new to us" bird...the Inca Dove...with its scaly-looking feathers. I would love to see one in flight as I read they have a flashing chestnut color underwing and white in its tail.
There wasn't a variety of ducks waddling or swimming around the lake...just a few Mexican Ducks which are a very close relative of the Mallard...and sometimes called Mexican Mallard.
|The male has a dull yellow bill and the female has the molted orange and black bill.
|Male Mexican Duck
|Female Mexican Duck
We did have a nice walk along the lake shore just beyond the park campground in the State Natural Area. There are only peeks of the lake here and there, but the old cottonwood trees are quite magnificent. There are many of these giants that have lost huge limbs. I read that these trees are among the largest (more than 100 feet tall) and oldest (130 + years) Freemont cottonwood trees in the country. Patagonia Lake is one of the few remaining sites in Arizona where these trees still grow.
On the way home we stopped in Patagonia for lunch. We all enjoyed yummy burgers at the Wild Horse Restaurant and Saloon located inside The Stage Stop Inn. The Inn stands on the site of the original Patagonia Stage Coach stop...part of the Butterfield Trail system. It was originally built in the 1960s when an avid horse lover, Anne Stradling, moved to the dusty little town and opened an exhibit she named Museum of the Horse. No one came to the museum to see her amazing collection of anything and everything related to horses which she surmised was due to the lack of lodging. So, this wealthy East Coast family heiress built the Stage Stop Inn. The restaurant is named in her honor and the saloon is the former site where Anne stored extra wagons and stage coaches.
|I love browsing in The Book Nook...it is located at the back of the Trading Post.
|A colorful potters workshop and gallery
|Brother and sister ferrel cats the owner of Patagonia Plants had altered and now feeds. I don't think these kitties have plans to go anywhere else.
|Shadows from inside the church...
|Old hitching post in the park
|Yummy peanutbutter and white chocolate cookie
|A touch of Christmas at Patagonia Plants
|Reminders of days gone by...
|Mural at Velvet Elvis
We headed to the city this week for a couple of appointments. After Joe's appointment to get his teeth cleaned on Thursday, we made a stop at BKs for a dog and a side order of guac and chips. I always forget to mention that I don't want the fries...the guac and chips are a favorite and so, so yummy !
Back at the oasis we enjoyed the rest of our week. I can hardly believe we turned the calendar again, that it is December already, and 2023 only has a few more days.
|November's Beaver Moon so named because it is the time of year when beavers begin to take shelter in their lodges for the long winter ahead.
I made banana nut bread. I grew up with banana nut bread and love it toasted with lots of butter.
We were both excited to see the neighborhood owl perched in the pine tree that is just outside our fence. I am always looking for him (her) and see him often on walks, but I don't carry the zoom lens when I walk at home. He was so close...such a treat...I waited patiently for 70 years to see an owl in the wild. He perched there for quite awhile watching and waiting before flying away.
We enjoyed some cooler temps and much needed rain Friday. I made chicken noodle soup. It smelled so good cooking all day in the crockpot. We served it with crunchy sourdough cheese toast. It hit the spot !