Southeast Arizona Stargazing

Southeast Arizona Stargazing – The amazing dark skies will enthrall you.

Sagittarius Constellation Picture

The bright stars of Sagittarius contains nebula and the Milky Way is a back drop.

Southeast Arizona stargazing is magnificent because of the dark night skies. There are many large telescopes in Pima, Cochise and Gila Counties. Because of the limited light pollution, amateur astronomers come to Southeast Arizona just to take advantage of the stargazing. There are astronomy clubs that have viewings during the darker nights of the month around the time of the new moon.

Down By The River B and B is located in Saint David, an area that is away from city lights. There are few neighbors in the country setting that provide back lighting from their homes. Little traffic is on the roads to add glare to the surrounding area. We also have a telescope that can be used to view the night sky. We have also had guests that bring their own equipment to use at the b and b during the time they spend here doing Southeast Arizona stargazing.

Dobsonian Telescope for stargazing in Benson, Arizona picture

Our Stargazing B and B has a 13″ mirror Dobsonian Telescope

We have had some guests that have stayed here for a longer period of time and have showed us some tricks to use when viewing the dark skies. We have also had a couple of guests that were into astral photography but both used a different device and techniques to take their pictures. Interestingly both were from Canada.

David set his camera up on a tripod and programmed the camera to take pictures at set intervals and had the lens open for specific exposure lengths. He would take up to 100 photographs this way and then use a program that he has to layer each photo on top of each other. The software would then fill in the lines and give a star track view of the sky. Sometimes he would also have a meteor show up on the film.

North Star tracking picture

The picture is focused on the north star and shows that Polaris is not really due north but is offset slightly. Taken By David

Our other guest John had an electronic device that would track stars. The equipment would be mounted on the camera tripod with the camera attached to it. Then the tracker would be aligned with the North Star, After that, he would aim the camera at an object to photograph and take the picture for the time duration he wanted. John does have a special camera that was modified to enhance the pictures using this method but a normal DSLR camera will work. Angie saw my enthusiasm and bought the equipment for me to use.

I have tried it and it takes some work to get the lens focused properly but I am getting better the more I try. I have photographed the moon, and the alignment of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury. My first attempt with the tracking equipment actually worked well enough for me to have a picture of Jupiter with one moon showing. I have tried to photograph Orion with a little success and finally the Pleiades. But alignment and focusing are the key elements for success.

Southeast Arizona Stargazing picture of Jupiter

This is the first attempt at photographing Jupiter. The picture shows the moon to the right side close to the planet.

For others that do not have or know how to use the equipment but would like to view the stars, San Pedro Valley Observatory is within 30 minutes drive and they will show you the stars. Appointments are needed to do the viewing. So next time you want to do some Southeast Arizona Stargazing come to Cochise County and stay at Down By The River B and B. The stars are amazing – See for yourself.

Southeast Arizona stargazing view of Orion

The Constellation of Orion is one of the more well known star formations and the sword has the Orion Nebula in it.

Photography Contest at The River

Enter the Photography Contest at The River and you have a chance to win a great prize.

San Pedro River Bird Watcher

I am Eightball and you can address me as Your Majesty.

I am back. I guess that my last guest blog for Down By The River was such a hit, that my servants decided that I should tell you about the “Contest at The River”.  I will reintroduce myself – I go by Ditz but I am more formally known as Eightball. So long as they don’t let my food and water run out, me they can call me whatever! I get them back at night when I wake them up running across the bed with my stuffed mouse.  Gotta love it when I wake them up in the middle of the night. Hee hee, I laugh all the way to my hidie hole. But anyway I need to get on with this, as it is cutting into my nap time.

I suggested that the hired help put this together so that I can see more of the property that I let them occupy and keep up. They won’t let me out, prisoner in my own house so to speak, even though I know that the birds would fear me. Especially the hawks – They got nothing to compare with my sharp claws. And the woodpecker – His bill would be dented if he tried to use that on me. But there I go again off on a tangent. They did do a little work on this contest, very little actually. Mostly it was my idea but they just had to fill in the details. The contest is to send in entry photos of the b and b or pictures taken on the property of the b and b and its surroundings. That way I can get to view the place without sneaking out and interrupting my nap. You have until April 29 to get this submitted.

at the door picture

I only get to watch the San Pedro River Birds. Can’t hide in the juniper and leap out with my frightening MEOW.

The rules are simple and we have them posted at this link and we also tell you where to email your entry. You just need to be a fan of our Facebook site and send us a photograph that was taken on the property. If you aren’t a fan then click on this link and like us. That way you are a fan.  The photograph needs to be a certain size but it can be of anything. The more unusual and creative the better to keep me awake while I am judging the pictures. The hired help think it is their job to find the winner but I will tell them the one I like.

I also told them to post the winning photograph on the Facebook cover for the month of May and to put it on the website. I will have them give you credit for the great work you did. They thought that this was a great idea all by itself but I told them to give away a $50 gift certificate for use at the B and B as the main prize. I have to do all the thinking around here. It just tires me out. Well time to eat and then go catch a few hours of shut eye. Got to be ready for tonight’s bed bouncing episodes. Oh and good luck on your entry.

Goldfinch feeder picture

Goldfinches flock to the feeders at Down By The River B and B.

Movie Making in Benson and St. David

Movie Making in Benson and St. David

Movie staging area picture

Movie Making in Benson and St. David occurred just off Apache Powder Road during March of 2014.

You wouldn’t think that there would be movie making in Benson and St. David, Arizona. All the Arizona movie studios are in Tucson, right? Well the short answer is no. There is Gammon’s Gulch that is owned by Jay Gammon and he has built a movie set at this location. Benson and St. David have been used as locations for making movies. Los Locos and South of Heaven, West of Hell were made in Benson. Scenes in Rio Lobo were shot in St. David. Gammon’s Gulch has been the location of many films by American and foreign companies.

Wardrobe picture

The wardrobe props were located along the road next to the prop trailer.

Why do I bring this topic up? I will explain. On March 24 some of our guests told us about a lot of cars, trucks and trailers that were parked along Apache Powder Road. They told us that they were told this was the set for filming of the TV series Dead Men. I decided to take my camera and go see what I could find out. I couldn’t get too close to the actors but with my camera and telephoto lens I was able to shoot some pictures of the action. The film crew had a trailer where they could dress and the wardrobe was hanging on a rack next to the trailer. I talked to the prop man who gave me information about what was going on. They are shooting for 4 days here west of St. David and then they will be moving on to Gammon’s Gulch to finish up the show.  The second day the cars were moved off the road. I am assuming that there was too much traffic stopping and looking at what was happening. I was able to take a few more pictures.

Movie making picture layout

Movie making in Benson and St. David covers a lot of territory.

horsemen picture

The horsemen were stopped after the scene was shot.

There have been many times that Gammon’s Gulch has been instrumental in movie making in Benson and St. David. When guests stay here at Down By The River B and B, we let them know about Gammon’s Gulch and the tours that Jay gives at the set. We have gone to the tour of Gammon’s Gulch and blogged about it. The time we spent there was thoroughly enjoyable. So take a little time during your stay at our B and B to visit Jay. The road to the movie set is scenic and you will see some lovely views of the Southeastern Arizona desert. Now we have to find out when the show will air so we can see what was done while we were a mile away.

Actors director picture

The director and actors were discussing a part of the scene to be shot.

Picture of camera

The camera was rolling when I took this shot. See the red light on the camera.

Lodging For Birders Near Benson

Lodging For Birders Near Benson Can Be A World Class B and B

B and B - Lodging for birders near Benson, AZ

During the monsoon thunderstorms, Mother Nature puts on a show for free

There are options when looking at lodging for birders near Benson, Arizona. There is only one bed and breakfast that has been labeled as one of the most spectacular b and bs in the US. Looking for a b and b located on the San Pedro River, one of the best migratory birding locations in the US. During the year a birder has a chance to find approximately 400 different species of birds along the San Pedro and in the nearby sky islands. There are about 150 species of birds that are year round residents of the area.  250 other bird species either winter or summers in the area or fly through during the Spring and Autumn migrations.

Vermilliion Flycatcher

Vermillion Flycatcher after a moth.

Down By The River B and B is the one place where you are able to see a wide variety of birds while staying in a single centralized location. Down By The River B and B offers that unique spot allowing lodging for birders near Benson with access to the San Pedro River. If you wish to take short day trips Down By The River is that perfect spot to use as a lodging base.

Feeders attract the House Finch, American Goldfinch and Lesser Goldfinch near the patio area for easy viewing. A Says Phoebe nests at the porch beams and has done so for the last 5 years. Vermillion Flycatchers, Canyon Towhees and Curved Bill Thrashers can be spotted in the nearby trees during the day. Myriads of sparrows, doves, and quail spend time on the ground around the feeders. The friendly Greater Road Runner makes an appearance looking for lizards around the house. Birders have sat on the porch and enjoyed the view as the birds came to visit.

Goldfinch feeder picture

Goldfinches flock to the feeders at Down By The River B and B.

During migration we have encountered Bullocks Orioles, Red Winged Blackbirds, Blue Grossbeaks, Cardinals, Purple Martins and a variety of swallows. Sometimes we are lucky and get some good photos of the birds that frequent the B and B. The opportunity presents itself when least expected so have the camera ready. A little luck can be helped along when you are prepared.

We also have raptors that fly over the property during the day. The Sharp-shinned Hawk, Coopers Hawk, Red Tail Hawks and Northern Harrier all take time to do a flyover looking for a meal. Guests have spotted Grey Hawks, Peregrine Falcons, and Mississippi Kites along the river during their viewing. So take some time to join us and find out just why Down By The River is perfect lodging for birders near Benson.

Roadrunner picture

The Greater Roadrunner is a frequent guest at Down By The River

San Pedro River Birds

San Pedro River Birds – My point of view.

Gold finch at feeder

Goldfinch, Warblers and other San Pedro Birds love to visit the feeders.

I have been given the chance to do a guest blog on the San Pedro River Birds. There are days that I sit at the door or the window and watch the San Pedro River birds with their variety of coloring. They poke around on the ground while others are at the feeders. Some fly high overhead while others glide over the fields behind the house.  I would like to have some fun sneaking up on them and surprise them with a quick leap.

White Crown Sparrow Picture

The White-crowned Sparrow

I have three things I like to do every day – look at birds, sleep and eat but not necessarily in that order. Now I am not an avid birder like some people that come here. That is because my wait staff won’t let me out so that I can get face to face with some of the birds I see from the window and door. I guess I can’t complain too much since they do maintain my food and water and I can sleep anywhere and at any time since I own the place. I do find it tantalizing to think about the birds that flit about my residence. But let me introduce myself. Name is Eight Ball but I do go by Ditz. I was given that name because of some of my so called antics. I consider it normal meowing around. Such is life.

San Pedro River Bird Watcher

I am Eightball and you can address me as Your Majesty.

But I digress, so back to my story about San Pedro River birds. The American Goldfinches are here all year round and my staff keeps the thistle feeder filled on a regular basis. The sparrows, dove, quail and house finches spend a lot of time at the seed feeders. But sometimes they feed on the ground when the Gila Woodpecker gets on the feeder and flicks all the seed out.

Gila Woodpecker Getting Into Position

Gila Woodpecker Getting Into Position To Have A Drink Of Nectar.

The hummingbirds are fun to watch as they hover at the feeder. I really like to watch them since they stay for a while and they always bring their family and friends. I don’t think that I could get near enough to them to scare them though since they are so fast. The Gila Woodpecker also hangs around this feeder and drinks the sugar water.

There are also some San Pedro River birds that catch flying insects. One is red with black wings but I don’t really see the red color very well. The other is grey and orange-ish. I have been told that they are Vermillion Flycatchers and Says Phoebes. I have some experience catching flying insects but those birds have an ability that I don’t have. I can only leap so high. From a branch, they take off very fast, grab the insect and go back to their perch and wait to start all over again.

Vermillion Flycatcher and Says Phoebe Picture

Insects are always on the fly and dine menu for these San Pedro River Birds

I have imagined lying in the juniper below the feeders and then jumping out at the woodpeckers and watch them all scatter and fly off to a tree screeching at me. That would be so much fun. Just thinking of springing out of cover at the woodpecker gives me such a thrill. But my servants tell me if I tried to scare him, he would peck my eyes out. Me thinks that they have watched too much of the Christmas Story.

at the door picture

I only get to watch the San Pedro River Birds. Can’t hide in the juniper and leap out with my frightening MEOW.

Northern Harrier in Flight picture

Northern Harrier searching for prey.

I allow my servants to run a b and b here between taking care of my wants and needs. You ought to stay at Down By The River B and B and find out what kind of San Pedro River birds are around here. You could also see just how well I have trained them to keep things running smoothly. You could also enjoy sitting outside and watching all the San Pedro River birds; unlike me. I would love to get out and play with the San Pedro River birds but I have been told that the hawks or the owls might get me. I have seen some of them and they are rather large but I think I could smack them around if they got in my way.

Yawn…this has been exhausting.  So I guess I will just head to my box, lie down and dream about chasing a bird down. It has been a little tiring watching the birds and thinking about how to get out the door. I need a nap. Oh and you servants, the water and food levels are getting low, look after that will you. And do it quietly I don’t want my catnap disturbed.

Eigthball nap

On and leave the blog quietly I hate being disturbed during my nap.

Southeastern Arizona B and B

Southeastern Arizona B and B Submits Winning Picture

Front of the Inn during a lightning storm

The winning picture

Our Southeastern Arizona b and b was invited to enter a photo contest by one of our online marketing agencies that we use. The Bed and Breakfast Online photo contest was held in February and about 60 b and bs submitted their photos. We reviewed many different pictures that we have or our Southeastern Arizona b and b. There were a few pictures that we felt might be a candidate for our contribution but in the end we realized that this one picture would be the best to place into the competition. If selected, the winning photo would be included in the slide show on BBOnlines website for the month of March. On the 28th of February, we were informed by BBOnline that we had won the competition and our photo would be placed on the website.

Lightning strike picture at our Southeastern Arizona B and B

During the monsoon storms lightning can be filmed from the cover of the patio.

We believe that our Southeastern Arizona b and b won this photo contest because of the expertise of the photographer.  Our prize winning picture was taken by Robert Neep during one of his visits to Down By The River B and B. Rob graciously allowed us the use of this picture for our marketing and promotions. The picture was taken during a July monsoon thunderstorm that developed just south of our Southeastern Arizona b and b.

Rob has come to Down By The River B and B over the last 5 years to pursue his passion for filming thunderstorm. His website features some of the videos that he has filmed during his stay at our Southeastern Arizona b and b. The videos of the storms that he has filmed in Cochise County, Arizona are really breathtaking. During the July and August monsoons,

Double Rainbow picture

A double rainbow is on display during a monsoon storm just at sunset.

the desert heat and high pressure north and west of Saint David draws the moisture into Arizona from the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. The thunderstorms build during the day. In the afternoon continuing on into the night you can see natures fireworks light up the sky and clouds. The monsoons bring much needed rain into the desert during the summer months and make this part of Arizona lush and green.

Summer monsoons at our Southeastern Arizona B and B are amazing. The thunderstorms build during the day and the rains moderate the temperature of the days heat. The display by Mother Nature cannot be beat. It is one of the best places in the US to see thunderstorms without having the danger of an accompanying tornado. As an added bonus, the sunsets top off the day with brilliant colors. Book a room and find out what happens at our Southeastern Arizona B and B during the monsoons. You may have a chance during your stay to film a fantastic light show put on by Mother Nature.

Sunset picture

The high cirrus clouds allowed for a flaming sunset.

A Place To Stay On The San Pedro River

Birders are always looking for a place to stay on the San Pedro River during the peak migration times.

Northern Flicker Pidture

The Norther Flicker can be found at the Birding hotspot on the San Pedro River

Down By The River B and B is the place to stay on the San Pedro River. Located at the northern end of The San Pedro River National Conservation Area, the b and b is the only lodging facility that can be found at this end of the NCA.  The 57,000 acres of public land spans from the Mexican border to the southern end of St. David, Arizona. Down By The River  is also centrally located so other birding areas are within a short driving distance.

Crissal Thrasher

The Crissal Thrasher can be found along the San Pedro River and was located at Down By The River in February of 2014.

The BLM manages this Important Birding Area (IBA) which is entirely located in Cochise County, Arizona. The NCA was set aside by Congress on November 18, 1988 and is one of the four major north – south migratory corridors used by birds. The San Pedro River is the last free flowing river located in Arizona. Birders are drawn to a place to stay on the San Pedro River since the birding activity is around the river. The river behind Down By The River B and B is flowing above ground continuously most years. With the recent drought the river may go underground in late June until the Monsoons begin in early July.

The San Pedro River is a source of food and water for a variety of wildlife. Approximately 80 species of mammals live along the river along with 14 species of fish, 40 or more species of reptiles and amphibians and over 100 birds that reside in this part of Cochise County year round. Over 250 species of birds use the corridor as their migratory path to the breeding sites in the north and the wintering sites in the south. Down By The River is a perfect place to stay on the San Pedro River while viewing the wildlife.

Mule deer are frequent visitors to Down By The River.

Mule deer are frequent visitors to Down By The River.

The property is frequented by mule deer, javelina, coatimundi, raccoon, bobcat and other animals during the year. Sonoran Toads leave the burrows during the monsoons and can be found all over the property. Their croaking signals the arrival of the monsoon rains. Look at the bird list on our website to find all the birds that have been seen in the small area that surrounds the b and b. The density of birds along the river during migration can reach 40 per acre. With 15 acres at the b and b, there is little doubt that you will find this a great place to stay on the San Pedro River. Being secluded gives the advantage to birders because there aren’t large crowds disturbing your viewing. The area around the b and b is home to grey hawks and is a confirmed nesting area for Mississippi Kites.

B&B San Pedro Birding Picture

Sometimes you need to shoot a picture through a window. The shot isn’t going to be perfect but it can be made.

To learn more about the IBA and the migratory birds you may find here, check out this website.  Down By the River lodging hum has been the best place to stay on the San Pedro River for birders since it opened in 2005. The migration is going to be happening soon. March and April will be the peak months so don’t miss your chance to fill in your life list. Check out what we have to offer and explore the river as you look for the wildlife that inhabit it. Check for availability here.

A Romantic Place To Stay In Southeast Arizona

Romantic Place To Stay In Southeast Arizona is centrally located in Cochise County

Cheers on the patio of a Romantic palce to stay in Southeast ArizonaA romantic place to stay in Southeast Arizona is located at a B and B along the banks of the San Pedro River in Saint David. Down By The River B and B has been host to many couples that have spent their honeymoon night surrounded by the peace and quiet of our secluded bed and breakfast. We have had couples celebrating their anniversaries and Valentines Day here at our highly rated get away. We have a short story to tell about two gentlemen that planned a Valentines get away with their wives.

Mike and Dan didn’t want their wives to know what was going to happen and they made the reservations on the sly. Each of them called when they were away from home. They made sure that the communications were through private emails. We worked with them on the charges so that the wives wouldn’t see anything come through on the bills. And during the two months leading up to Valentine’s Day they didn’t let the cat out of the bag. They planned the perfect get away to a romantic place to stay in Southeast Arizona.Relaxing Southeast Arizona Inn Picture

Since it was Valentine’s weekend, Down By The River was offering a special for our guests that stayed with us for two nights. We provided flowers free of charge from our local florist that we always use. We made sure that they were placed  in the room for the guests prior to their arrival. Meanwhile Angie provided a memory maker by creating beautiful handmade Valentines cards for each of the couples. This added that something special that you remember when you are at a romantic place to stay in Southeast Arizona.

With our part done and ready, Mike and Dan had packed their wives suitcases and unbeknownst to them loaded the luggage into the car. Then they told their wives they were going on a short trip to do some horse back riding and have dinner. They said it would only be an hour or so and they got everyone in the car and left for our b and b. The stopped at a house that was for sale and acted like that was where the horses were suppose to be. Faking dejection they drove on to the B and B and said that this was a friend that would be making dinner.

When they arrived we started our tour of the b and b and explaining the main guest room. Charity and Kelly were looking at me like I was wasting my time and they didn’t understand why we would do that. When we started explaining about breakfast, Mike and Dan were laughing and finally explained. This was one of the best cons I had ever seen pulled and they did it to perfection. They were let into their rooms and after a while were dressed for dinner and on their way out the door to a restaurant in Bisbee. Everyone enjoyed the weekend and Mike and Dan will now have to work hard to top this.

Valentines Day card picture

Handmade Valentines Day cards were made by Angie for our guests that stayed at our b and b.

So when you want to have a quiet romantic place to stay in Southeast Arizona, think about Down By The River B and B The Lodging Hub of Coshise County. We are into the memory making business and have had some practice and making our guest feel the special something that you will find when you book a room here. Let us know in advance if you are celebrating an anniversary and if we have the lead time Angie can make up a card that will be part of your memories. If you wish, we can also provide flowers at a nominal charge for anniversaries, birthdays or other events.

A Place To Stay Near Kartchner Caverns

Place to stay near Kartchner Caverns – Try highly recommended Down By The River B and B

B and B picture

Down By The River B and B is the ideal place to stay near Kartchner Caverns

Looking for a place to stay near Kartchner Caverns? You have the chance to stay at a world class b and b in Saint David, south of Benson and just minutes from the State Park. Kartchner Caverns  was discovered in 1974. After a long process involving purchase of the land and construction of the site infrastructure by the State of Arizona, the Caverns were opened in November, 1999. Down By The River B and B was first opened in 2005 to give our guests an opportunity to stay at the closest B and B to Kartchner Caverns.

The Caverns have two escorted tours for visitors, both of which are about 1 ½ hour long. One tour is year round and is named the Rotunda / Throne Room, which has the large stone flow called Kubla Khan. The second tour is The Big Room and is only opened between October 15 and April 15. You can look at Youtube video  of the caverns tour as it previews what sites you will see. You can book online for the tours at the State Website . Before your tour, you will think about a place to stay near Kartchner Caverns which will allow you time to see more of the area. The answer to that query is Down By The River B and B, The Lodging Hub of Cochise County.

Kartchner Caverns Entry Sing picture

Kartchner Caverns State Park is the most pristine live cave in the United States.

When you visit Cochise County to see Kartchner Caverns, you will see that there are many things for you to do before you go home. Being a place to stay near Kartchner Caverns, Down By The River B and B is also close to many other nearby attractions including Tombstone, Bisbee, and The San Pedro River National Riparian Area for birding. There are National Monuments, state parks, historical sites and old ghost towns in this part of Southeastern Arizona. The b and b is also close to both wine centers/regions in this part of Arizona.

So when you are considering a visit to Cochise County and the caverns, book with Down By The River B and B. We are the place to stay near Kartchner Caverns and all the other sites in Southeastern Arizona. Find out first hand why a Canadian Travel Writer said “This is one of the most spectacular B and Bs in the US”.

Place To Stay Near Tombstone

A Place To Stay Near Tombstone is Down By The River B & B

B and B picture

Down By The River B and B is a highly rated lodging choice when choosing a place to stay near Tombstone

Looking for a place to stay near Tombstone, Arizona, then look no further than the highly rated Down By The River Bed and Breakfast. The b and b is located in Saint David approximately 20 minutes north of Tombstone just off highway 80. The Santa Fe style b and b abuts the San Pedro River at the northern end of the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area which is a birder delight. Down By The River is a great place to stay if you also want to stay in one location and have easy access to the other parts of Cochise and Santa Cruz Counties. That is the reason that we are called “The Lodging Hub of Cochise County”.

Tin Type Picture

Old photo of cowboys in Tombstone. This photo is located in the Cowboy Room at Down By The River B & B

Tombstone has the appeal and mystic of the Old West. It is one of the go to destinations for the fans of the Western Gunfight. There are many events throughout the year in Tombstone and people look for a place to stay near Tombstone to be close to all the action. There are events to attend in Tombstone this spring. In March, Tombstone celebrates Wild West Days. In April, The Rose Tree Festival is held and in May Wyatt Earp Days takes to the streets. The biggest event is held in October with the rip roaring Helldorado Days celebration. Many places to stay near Tombstone have no vacancies left by September.

Tombstone stage picture

The Tombstone stage ride give a historic tour of the town.

While there is lodging in Tombstone, none can compare with our place to stay near Tombstone. The many reviews that we have tell the story of the museum quality of the artifacts that are in the large comfortable rooms. Our gourmet breakfast that is served every morning stands head and shoulders above the conventional fare that is offered at other lodging locations. Down By The River B and B hosts work hard at giving you that extra effort to make your stay enjoyable. Try us out and find out why other guest rate their stay with us so high. Check out our availability now.

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