The Common Raven

The Common Raven Pulls A Prank At Down By The River B And B

Common Raven Picture

The Common Raven have a distinctive call and when close it is unnerving.

The Common Raven and the Chihuahuan Ravens are large black birds with distinctive calls and if you are concentrating on one thing, such as finding a snake, that call can startle you if it is close. Both of these birds can be seen at Down By The River B and B. The Common Raven is a little larger than the Chihuahuan Raven and the bill is longer and more curved. I haven’t been able to photograph either raven while here at the b and b.

Coachwhip Snake picture

The Coachwhip Snake, sometimes known as a Red Racer, hunts for small rodents, lizards and other reptiles.

I had to water the plants and trees because the monsoon rains were not cooperating and failed to fall at the b and b. That morning, I was almost finished and was finally watering around the patio. Just the day before I had walked by a Coachwhip Snake and didn’t see him until he quickly moved away. The snake’s camouflage is good. It is similar in color to the flagstone deck we have in the back patio.  It shocked me that a snake could be that close to me and I hadn’t seen it. I went in and got the camera. He had disappeared by the time I returned but I later spotted the snake as he reemerged. I was able to take some photos and then watched as he went into a planter on the patio.

Common Raven Pair picture

The Common Ravens usually are found in pairs. They will eat anything that they find.

I was watering one planter and was looking into the rosemary to see if the snake was still in hiding. Having a heightened sense of alertness, I heard this loud call just as I was looking at one area and jumped. “Snakes don’t make that sound fool” I said to myself. I figured that a raven had flown overhead and went back to watering. Then I heard the loud call again. I looked up but there wasn’t a bird in the sky. As I turned around, the Common Raven was sitting on the patio roof not 5 feet from where I stood. No wonder it was so loud.  Since I had the hose in hand I squirted the raven. The bird just spread its wings and enjoyed it.

The Common Raven flying picture

The Common Raven starting to fly off to greener pastures.

Well I haven’t ever had a chance to photograph any raven this close so I put down the hose and went in for the camera. I figured the bird would be gone by the time I got back. But no this raven was not moving and now there was another raven on the roof with the first. I took pictures of them on the roof and had a nice photo shoot. Then they both flew over to the fountain and landed there. So I thought I will just walk over and see how close I can get before they fly off. Amazingly, I was close enough that I could have reached out and touched them. Not a good idea with those bills. I settled for some good close up shots.

Our birding friend Randy always joked that you could tell a Crow from a Common Raven by the length of the nose hairs. Well with the close up, I could see that this bird looks like it does have nose hairs. The birds were really just curious and flew around the back patio looking at things and nosed around (pardon the pun). We do see the ravens around here but usually they are flying or scavenging on the road. These two must have been models because they didn’t mind posing for the photo shoot. After about 10 minutes they flew off and I haven’t seen them back. To quote Poe maybe they told me “Nevermore”.

Common Raven Close up Picture

A close up photo taken from about 3 feet definitely show what could be called nose hairs.

Willcox Winery Tour

Willcox Winery Tour From Down By The River B and B

Willcox Winery Tour Map

A Willcox Winery Tour requires some planning. Using Arizona Wine Lifestyle Maps can show you the locations of the wineries you want to visit.

We love to take the Willcox Winery Tour and spend the day doing some wine tasting and meeting friends. During the summer season, the traffic at Down By The River B and B slows down and allows us to venture out to look at the many sites in Cochise County. Angie and I decided to take a day and do a Willcox wine tour visiting some wineries that are on the Willcox Bench. We hadn’t been to Willcox since the October Willcox Wine Festival. Our purpose then was to find an Arizona wine to have at our “Challenge on the River”, a blind wine taste test that we held in November, 2013. This time our intent was to find out about a new tasting room that was opened.

Willcox Winery Tour picture

Coronado was first on our Willcox Winery Tour and they offer a wide range of wines.

We started off the Willcox winery tour visiting Terry at Coronado Vineyards on the east side of Willcox. Our first visit to Coronado was during the second week that they opened the tasting room. This time we met some travelers who were there to taste and had a fun time discussing wine and our b and b. The wines range from dry to semi sweet and they do have some desert wines and a sparking wine. Every year we host a New Years Eve Party with our guests and friends. This year will not be an exception. At midnight we pour Coronado’s sparkling wine Dolce Veritas. The tasting room is open daily check their website for the hours.

Willcox Winery Tour Bodega Pierce picture

Bodega Pierce has just opened their tasting room. We wanted to stop and see what they had to offer and also to introduce ourselves.

After taking our leave of Coronado, we headed south to the center of the Willcox Bench growing region. We stopped at Bodega Pierce.  They have just opened their tasting room on Robbs Road in Kansas Settlement located just north of the Pillsbury winery. We had tasted their wines in October but under the name of Saeculum Cellars. Barbara and Dan are the perfect hosts and will take time to explain their wines to you. We actually got there as the rain started and it was pleasant to sip wine and watch the rain. It had been over a week since there was a good rain. We did enjoy their wines which are medium to dry and fruity. They do have a delightful Malvasia Bianca. That grape is usually blended with other wines and I haven’t tasted it much as a varietal. Their hours are Thursday to Sunday 11 to 5.

Willcox Winery Tour picture

Pillsbury Wine Company is building a new wine building to improve their facilities.

Next stop on our Willcox wine tour was Pillsbury Wine Company.  Located a little further south and then east on Bennet Place. We came to see Bonnie, Sam Pillsbury’s wonderful tasting room hostess and to view the new construction.  Pillsbury is having a new winery building constructed for the expanding vineyard and the building is progressing nicely. We were the only ones there for a while and got to catch up on what was going on. The wines are medium to dry. Just before we left we met another vintner who is just starting out with his winery. He told us it would be a couple of years before he gets to the point of having a tasting room. The Pillsbury tasting room is open Thursday to Sunday 11 to 5.

Willcox Winery Tour Zarpara Picture

Zarpara Tasting Room is in the middle of the vineyard

We end our Willcox winery tour with a stop at Zarpara Winery and we were greeted by Rhona and Mark. We stopped at Zarpara on the first week that they opened. They have a nice variety of wine from medium to dry. Rhona had just got back from Scotland and so we got to catch up on gossip with her. Her dog came into the tasting room with us but was summarily marched back out. Seems the dog had a run in with a skunk and after a while the scent would make its presents known. Zarpara had the honor of winning our “Challenge on the River” blind taste test with their wine Origen. The tasting room is open Friday to Sunday 11 to 5.

Texas Canyon Picture

Texas Canyon’s scattered trees offers some shade while you enjoy the views while you return from a Willcox Winery tour.

Our return home was through the town of Dragoon and into Texas Canyon. The area is picturesque and is even more so when the monsoon clouds and rain are in the mix. The loop trip on our Willcox wine tour lasted about 7 hours and was a less than 100 miles in length. We got home while it was still light so we could enjoy the sunset and relax. We have found that wine people are very friendly and everyone is helpful with directions to the neighboring wineries. So plan your next Willcox wine tour and stay at Down By The River after your loop trip. The next day you can head to Sonoita for more wine tasting loop trip or maybe just make your way home.

Willcox Bench Wineries

Willcox Bench Wineries Produce Award Winning Wines

Willcox Bench Winery picture

The Willcox Bench Wineries have a perfect climate and soil for growing grapes.

The Willcox Bench wineries are plentiful and varied. The elevation is from 4300 feet to 4500 feet and the temperature range is 30 to 40 degrees. With the Arizona sunshine, this is a perfect grape growing region. A majority of the fruit grown for use the in Arizona wineries are from vines on the Willcox Bench. The wineries in the Verde Valley towns of Cottonwood and Page Springs grow some of their grapes in that area but the rest comes from Willcox. Even some of the Sonoita Wineries grow their grapes on the Willcox Bench.

The Willcox Bench wineries are located in a valley that is an old lake bed. The Willcox Playa is the remains of a dry lake that in the winter is the nesting area for the Sand Hill Cranes that migrate to the south from the northern latitudes. Bird watching on the bench, along with wine tasting, are two of the pastimes that the traveling public find enjoyable. The old lake bed provides the water needed to irrigate the vines. The summer monsoon rains also help to give the vines water during the July and August months.

Willcox Playa Picture

The Willcox Playa is a dry lake in the Sulphur Springs Valley and is where the Sand Hill Cranes spend the winter.

Originally when we started Down By the River B and B, the wine tasting rooms were in Sonoita and at Bowie. Over the years there have been many tasting rooms spring up on the Willcox Bench. In 2014, a couple of new tasting rooms have opened for business. Reports are that the Willcox Bench Wineries are growing fast as more vineyards come on line and when new ones open up we try to stop by to introduce ourselves and also take time see our friends at other wineries.

Willcox Bench Winery Grapes on the vine picture.

Syrah is one of the varietals that you can find at the Willcox Bench Wineries.

Many of the wineries here in Arizona grow their grapes on the Willcox Bench. Wines of Willcox has a list of 12 tasting rooms and there is another list of vintners that are associated with the Willcox wine growing region.You can also get a map of the wineries from AZ Wine Lifestyle  Naturally we can’t visit them all in one day so that makes if fun to go back to Willcox another time and stop at the other wineries. Some of the tasting rooms are available by appointment only while other have set hours. Aridus has recently added to the value to the bench with a modern crush facility for the vintners in the area. The local wineries now have access to a state of the art facility located on the Willcox Bench.

We have sampled wine at nearly all the Willcox Bench wineries over the years and we have found something we like at each one of the wineries. Probably one of the best ways to sample wines from the other wineries that you haven’t heard about is to go to the Willcox Wine Festival coming up in October or the one held next spring in May. Many vintners are there and the tastings are available in a wonderful festive atmosphere with food available and music playing in the background. In late July Angie and I decided to check out a new tasting room that was opening and also to visit some old friends that we know at some other wineries. Read our next blog Willcox Winery Tour for that information.

Willcox Bench Winery  Grapes growing picture

Some wineries us netting to protect the grapes from the birds and tall fencing to keep the deer out.

Southeast Arizona Wildflowers

Southeast Arizona Wildflowers Bloom After The Monsoons Start In July

Southeast Arizona Wildflowers picture

Southeast Arizona Wildflowers first blossom are found on the Cactus like Cane Cholla.

Southeast Arizona wildflowers start to bloom in the spring but after the monsoons start, there is a profusion of colors on display across Cochise County. The varieties of colors are numerous and the blooming starts with the cactus and a few varieties of other plants. Driving on the roads and hiking the trails can show you visual delights from the flowers as they bloom. As the spring becomes summer and then fall the blooms will change and you will see different plants that add their colorful flowers.

Southeast Arizona Wildflower Picture

The Dwarf Morning Glories appear in June and last through the entire summer.

In the spring we have many of the cacti blooming as the nights warm up. The reds from the Cane Cholla, the pinks from pincushion cacti and yellows and oranges from the Prickly Pear give a splash of to brighten the landscape. The Velvet Mesquite adds to the scene with the whitish yellow flowers that hang from the branches of the trees. There are also some smaller clusters of flowers that come out before the rains including the violet colored Wild Dwarf Morning Glory, the yellow and orange Indian Rushpea and the white Spreading Fleabane. The large Jimsom Weed with the white and purple flowers can also be found blooming in the sandy areas.

Southeast Arizona Wildflower Picture

White Easter Mojave Buckwheat, purple Mock Vervain and yellow Desert Marigolds all add to the colors you will see when you find Southeast Arizona Wildflowers.

But with the monsoons the colors of Southeast Arizona wildflowers explode throughout the county. The ground will get enough rain to germinate last year’s seed and will add many new red, orange, yellow, purples and white flowers. Under the mesquite tree next to the B and B becomes covered with vines of bluish Morning Glories, and red Trans Pecos Morning Glories. Included in the mix are Golden Crown Beards, Globe Mallow and the San Pedro Daisies. The orchid like flower of the Devils Claw is also found interspersed in the vines. We have staked the area with an old chair and limbs to allow the climbers to extend up into the mesquite. It becomes covered by the vines that you don’t dare enter because you don’t know what is hiding in the area. All of the growth is natural as we haven’t planted a seed. We do some trimming to make sure we don’t lose total control. Wandering over the property and along the San Pedro River you will find many different flowering plants that are native to this part of Southeast Arizona.

Southeast Arizona Wildflower Pictures

The red Trans Pecos Morning Glories add color to the purple Morning Glories and Golden Crown Beards.

So if you want to see the beauty of Mother Nature’s garden come to Down By The River and view the Southeast Arizona wildflowers. You can also take a look at our Pinterest page for the flowers that we have photographed around the B and B. The two pins are Bristly Beauty and Petal to the Medal That isn’t as good as seeing it yourself but it will give you a representation of what you are missing. Come join us for monsoon season and see the lightning storms in the afternoon and the wildflowers in the morning.

Cactus flower pictures

The desert has a beauty that some people never see. Take to the back roads during the Southeast Arizona wildflower season and you will be surprised with what you find along the road.

 

San Rafael Valley

The San Rafael Valley Located South Of Patagonia Arizona Has Been Set Aside As A State Park.

San Rafael Valley Photograph

The San Rafael Valley stretches out before you as you come over the pass on the road from Patagonia.

After visiting the town site of Harshaw, we returned to the intersection that would lead us into the San Rafael Valley. The road goes over a pass and then at the top you have a vista open up before you. The San Rafael valley located south of Patagonia is a verdant grassland that has been set aside as a state park. The grassland stretches to Mexico and this valley is the actual headwaters of the Santa Cruz River which flows into Sonora, Mexico

San Rafael Valley Picture

This is the river bed of the Santa Cruz River. The headwaters start here in the San Rafael Valley.

and then back north toward Tucson eventually flowing into the Gila River. The Valley was originally an old Mexican Land Grant, San Rafael de la Zanja. The last owners were the Greenes who maintained the Valley as a cattle ranch. The property was purchased by the Nature Conservancy in1998. In 1999, The Arizona State Park Agency purchased 3557 acres and designated it a State Natural Area. There are other cattle ranches in the area and you will encounter cattle as you drive through. You can click on the link to view a map of the San Rafael Valley.  The area is so photogenic that the San Rafael Valley was the location set for a number films including Monte Walsh, Oklahoma!, and Tom Horn.

San Rafael Valley Photo.

A lone tree stands as a sentinel on the San Rafael Valley Plain.

The State Natural Area is closed to the public because of the sensitive and fragile environment. The grassland is unique because it hasn’t had evasive plants introduced into the area and the goal is to provide safe keeping the San Rafael Valley in its natural state. There is a road that runs through the area and there are places that you can pull over and view the wildlife and birds. On our trip we didn’t encounter any vehicles on the road with the exception of a FEDEX truck. Guess they deliver even WAY off the beaten path.  There are opportunities to see prairie birds that are unique to the area. We did encounter birds as we drove through but had no time to identify them or to shoot any photos. The Tucson Audubon has had trips into this IBA and one of their blogs describes the experience.

San Rafael Valley Photo

The headwaters of the Santa Cruz River Start in the San Rafael Valley and flow into Mexico before returning to the US.

Hawk in Flight photo

We surprised a hawk as we were driving on the road to Hwy 83.

We finally crossed the Santa Cruz riverbed as we were traveling through the valley. During the monsoon season be cautious as there are many washes beside the river that may be flowing. Don’t take the chance to cross them as you might be swept away. We came to another junction that would have taken us south to Parker Canyon Lake and Lochiel or east to Canelo Pass and on into Elgin. Since we had been to Parker Canyon Lake we decided to head up the Canelo Pass Road, FR 799. The road to the pass gave us some spectacular views toward the west and the Santa Rita Mountains. The roads are well maintained though rough in spots and there are many signs to let you know which direction you can choose. We did spot wildlife on the road and surprised two hawks as we were driving by.

Hawk Photo

The second hawk that we saw sat and posed for us until finally it decided we weren’t leaving so it did.

After this wonderful day of birding and sightseeing, Angie and I finally found ourselves back on Arizona 83. We headed north to Sonoita and Elgin. On the way we checked the time and decided we could stop and sample some wine. We like many of the wineries but since it was a Wednesday and later in the day our options were limited. We chose Kief Joshua as our stop.  We have known Kief ever since he opened his tasting room and he is always happy to see us. He has even been a guest at the B and B and has referred his patrons to our b and b.

We had an enjoyable day doing a loop trip to Patagonia for some great birding, scaring up a few Southeast Arizona ghost towns, viewing and traveling through the San Rafael Valley and finally wine tasting in Elgin. This is just one of many loop trips you can make when you stay at Down By The River B and B. Make your reservation today to have some fun in Southeastern Arizona.

Southeast Arizona Ghost Towns

Southeast Arizona Ghost Towns A Few Are Located A Short Distance South Of Patagonia.

After Angie and I had visited the Paton Hummingbird Haven and had lunch we decided against returning to Down By The River B and B directly on Arizona Highway 82 but to rather take a back road that leads into the San Rafael Valley. This drive will take you close to some Southeast Arizona ghost towns. The San Rafael Valley is south of Patagonia and is accessible by Harshaw Road on the east end of town. The road is paved up to the turnoff to the old ghost town of Harshaw. We traveled about 2 miles on the gravel road to the right passing cattle and driving through a beautiful sycamore and oak forest. We finally came to a sign that pointed left to Harshaw.

Southeast Arizona Ghost Town Picture

The road to Harshaw, a Southeast Arizona ghost town, passes sycamores and oak trees.

The town was the original site of a cattle ranch owned by David Harshaw. Hawshaw returned to cattle ranching after leaving the army in the 1870s. He settled south of Patagonia after being run off by Tom Jeffords for illegally grazing his cattle on Apache lands. While raising cattle in this area he found silver ore. He made a mining claim and named the mine Hermosa. The town was founded prior to the ore deposits that were found

Southeast Arizona ghost town ruins can be found in Harshaw.

Southeast Arizona ghost town ruins can be found in Harshaw.

in Tombstone in the late 1870s. The silver deposits started to fade by 1881 and the town burned in 1882. Harshaw’s main street stretched for a mile and had a newspaper, Post Office, saloons, boarding house and many other businesses. There is a gravesite at the town also. Over the years the mine restarted and stopped numerous times until by the 1960s everything was abandoned and it reverted to just another one of the Southeast Arizona ghost towns. The town site is now part of the Coronado National Forest. There are ruins to see and explore but we only made a cursory look of the town site.

If you continue down that Forest Road 49 you will encounter other Southeast Arizona ghost towns. These are old towns that grew up around mines and include Mowry, Washington Camp, Duquesne, and finally Lochiel which is located on the border of Mexico. Mowry is the oldest with the mine dating back into the 1850s. The other towns were mining in the late 1800s. We looked at the time and decided that we wouldn’t be able to make that trip since we started too late to be able to explore the area like we wanted. There are cautionary signs on the road in this area and you don’t want to be here after dark because of the illegal aliens and the drug smuggling that happens in the area at night. Instead of exploring more Southeast Arizona ghost towns we decided instead to head back and continue into the San Rafael Valley.

Harshaw townsite picture

Harshaw town site has ruins for exploring at this Southeast Arizona ghost town.

Birding at Paton Hummingbird Haven

Birding at Paton Hummingbird Haven – Put It On Your Bucket List

Birding at Paton Hummingbird Haven

The White Breasted Nuthatch is one of the many birds you will see at the feeders.

Birding at the Paton Hummingbird Haven is a great activity no matter what type of birder you are. Amateurs as well as the experienced birder will be awed by the variety of birds found at this one location. Click here to see the activity. I did a blog earlier on the history of the Paton Hummingbird Haven. This portion will go into what we saw and did after we arrived. Upon arriving at the property we found the gate open and parked in the shade of a large tree. Arizona people tend to find shade first and if it is close to where you want to be, all the better. Entering the gate we headed toward the unassuming house. The caretaker was watering and we took a little time to talk with him. Angie continued talking while I went on to find the seating area and check out the birds.

Birding at paton Hummingbird haven picture

Bridled Titmouse were flying in and out of view, They did stop at the tree feeder long enough for me to get this photo.

No one was at the Haven when we arrived so I picked out a spot to set up my camera and tripod then began shooting photos. The layout of the area allows for birding to happen all around you. You are not able to take everything in and so there are opportunities in other areas that you don’t know about. The forest is to the west, and seed feeders are to the north and south. To the east is the house with the hummingbird feeders hanging from the eaves. You are within 50 feet of seed feeders in the seating area under the tent. The hummingbird feeders are closer and if you wish you can get a chair and sit within 5 or 10 feet of the hummingbird feeders.

There are three more areas that you might miss when birding at the Paton Hummingbird Haven. The ground has activity where birds have knocked seed out of the feeders. There is also a feeder that is located on a tree that attracts woodpeckers and nuthatches to name a few.  But also look up and you will see hawks and vultures flying overhead. Great photos are yours for the taking just have a little patience because Lady Luck is sitting right there. In the first 20 minutes I was having a field day with shooting pictures. I didn’t know if these birds were here for a little while and then would leave not to be seen again for hours. After that I tended to focus on more quality photos.

Birding at Paton hummingbird haven picture

Northern Cardinals were in the area. Both the male and female made an appearance

birding at Paton Hummingbird Haven

This Broadbilled Hummingbird was one of 5 species we saw at the Paton Hummingbird Haven during our time there.

As people arrived to the tent, the birds would fly off but return relatively quickly once they are seated. We met several other birders during the time we were there and everyone was pointing birds out to others. Identification was easy for many birds but in my case I would rather take the pictures and then sit at the computer so that I can see and compare. For me it is much easier to find a bird when you have time and aren’t savvy enough to pick it quickly out of a book. I believe that we saw almost 30 different birds along with 5 different hummingbirds while we were birding at the Paton Hummingbird Haven.

Biirding at Paton Hummingbird Haven

The Blue Grosbeak was easy to spot at various locations while we were view the birds at Patons.

200 + photos and three hours later we were starting to get hungry. We decided to go out to get lunch. We wanted to go to the Velvet Elvis for pizza since we have heard so much about it. But alas they are open Thursday to Sunday only. Instead we went to the Gathering Place. The sandwiches were very good and for dessert get one of the homemade cookies. They were oh so good!  After lunch we decided to take another route home to Down By The River B and B. The next blog will be about the San Rafael Valley and our adventure there.

birding at Paton Hummingbird Haven

I photographed four different species of birds all in a tree at the same time. White winged Dove, Brown headed Cowbird, Blue Grosbeak and Bronze Cow Birds

Paton Hummingbird Haven

Paton Hummingbird Haven – A Birders Paradise

The open gate at Paton Hummingbird Haven picture

The open gate at Paton Hummingbird Haven

Paton Hummingbird Haven  is a short day trip from Down By The River B and B that will take you through wine country and into the rolling hill country of Patagonia. This drive is very scenic with scattered oak trees dotting the landscape after you leave Sonoita.  The Paton Hummingbird Haven started as the home of Wally and Marion Paton in 1974. They found this ideal spot located on a quiet back street with a wooded area surrounding the property. Over the years the Paton’s developed the site to attract birds and butterflies. The property was covered with hummingbird and seed feeders.

Over the years bird watchers would gather outside the yard to look at the birds. The Paton Hummingbird Haven was a draw and the Patons finally allowed the visitors to enter the property to better see the birds. They installed a tent cover

The Paton Home at Paton Hummingbird Haven Picture

The Paton Home at Paton Hummingbird Haven

and placed seating under it to give the birder some shade and allow them to relax while viewing the activity. The Haven also had a plastic tote that contains birding identification books for the use of the birders. That is a nice thing to have if you forgot your copy. There is also a white board where people put down what they have seen. The site became famous all over the world for the opportunities to see a large variety of birds in a single setting. With reports of over 200 species of  birds having been seen in the yard over the years, this location is probably the highest number that have been recorded anywhere.

The tent awning and seating are for birders to use at Paton Hummingbird Haven.

The tent awning and seating are for birders to use at Paton Hummingbird Haven.

When Barb and I opened the B and B in 2005, we had heard of the Paton’s site in Patagonia but with all the things you have to do to provide a good B and B experience for your guests we never were able to visit the location. Many of our guests have told us about this venue and raved about the many birds that they had seen. This past year I  had heard that the American Bird Conservancy, The Tucson Audubon and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours were working together to purchase the site from the Paton heirs. The goal was to purchase the property and to be able to maintain this fantastic birding experience for future birding enthusiasts.

Bird list photo

White board Bird List is available for birders to add their sightings at Paton Hummingbird Haven.

Recently Angie and I decided to plan a day when we had no guests and make a day trip to Paton’s and see exactly what everyone was talking about. With that in mind we set out early one morning to head for Patagonia. The trip took us a little over an hour but the scenery is magnificent. We enjoyed the drive and once we were in Patagonia we looked for 4th Ave, made a right turn and went to Pennsylvania St. Turning left we drove to 477 Pennsylvania and parked in the shade of a large tree. The Haven has a caretaker that waters the yard and keeps the feeders filled. This is a constant job for one person. He told us that he goes through more than 20 pounds of seed a day.  There is more to learn about this great place and so the next blog will go into the experience that we had looking at the birds during our stay at the Paton Hummingbird Haven.

Birders at Paton Hummingbird Haven

Birders at Paton Hummingbird Haven taking their pictures.

Cochise County Birding Hotspot

Cochise County Birding Hotspot and Down By The River B and B a perfect match

San Pedro River

The San Pedro as it leaves the northern boundary of the San Pedro National Riparian Conservation Area

A Cochise County birding hotspot is the San Pedro River at the National Riparian area which is adjacent to Down By The River B and B. Birders come to this locale to see the birds only found in this part of the Southwest and not other parts of the country. When you visit a Cochise County birding hotspot, one thing everyone wants to see is a Greater Roadrunner.

The Greater Roadrunner is in the Cuckoo family. This bird is a fascinating to watch and is rather canny as it hunts.  Unlike the Loony Tunes character that is chased by the coyote but always outsmarts him, the resemblance stops there. The Roadrunner doesn’t eat bird seed but instead it hunts its prey including lizards, other birds and snakes. Roadrunners have been known to kill rattlesnakes. We have seen a roadrunner carrying snakes and lizards through the breezeway at the b and b.

Since Cochise County is a Birding Hotspot, there are many young birds around that the Roadrunner will

Roadrunner picture

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

go after. Gambrels Quail on high on the list. We have quail on the property and we leave the brush for cover so that the Quail have a place to hide and raise their young. When we first opened I had a symbiotic experience with a Roadrunner. When I walked on the property, a Roadrunner would follow me and wait for me to scare a lizard or snake out of the brush. He would stay about 4 feet away but just close enough to be able to make a quick dash for dinner.

Generally the Roadrunners are solitary but we did have a group of five together in the yard one day. We don’t know why they were together unless it was a mother and juveniles that were learning to hunt. We have also had one Roadrunner roost in strange locations around the b and b. The Roadrunner would roost on window sills against the window of a room. On other occasions a roadrunner would roost on the mantle of an outdoor fireplace and on a wood

Roadrunner roosting picture

The Roadrunner roosting at Down By The River a Cochise County Birding Hotspot.

decorative piece that was 9 feet off the floor. When we spotted the Roadrunner in those locations we wondered how he got there. Very seldom do you see a Roadrunner leave the ground in flight.

It took us a while but we finally saw the bird run leap and fly up to the roost at dusk and settle in for the night. So when you want to visit a Cochise County hotspot and see Roadrunners, plan your trip to Down By The River and see what we have to offer. Our bird list will give you a idea of what you can see during the year around our property. Additionally we are centrally located and therefore you only need to do short day trips to all the Cochise County hotspots.

Roadrunner picture

The Greater Roadrunner sometime follows me to see what I scare up for dinner while I am walking through the brush.

Southeast Arizona B and B Recipe

The Southeast Arizona B and B Recipe is always desired by our guests at Down By The River B and B

quiche picture for our southeast Arizona b and b recipe

This Southeast Arizona B and B recipe is the one we use for our Sweet Italian Sausage, Tomato and Basel Quiche.

Our Southeast Arizona B and B recipe is an integral part of the gourmet meal plans that we prepare for our guests. After our guests have enjoyed  their breakfast at Down By The River B and B, we get asked by many if they can have the recipe. They also ask “How hard it is to make?” We do give our recipes out to our guest when they ask and we put them up on the blog so that they are able to read them. Amazingly, none of our recipes are difficult but a few take some longer prep times.

We also serve another side with the quiche. Sometimes we do one of our French toast creations, or specialty pancakes or waffles.

 If you would like to access other recipes that we have on the blog just go to the search mode and click the category to “Recipes”. That will bring up all the recipes that we have put out on the blog.

Ingredients

  • Purchased Pie dough Pillsbury or other or if you prefer make your own.
  • 9” pie  pan
  • Pinch              nutmeg
  • Pinch              cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp            salt
  • 1/4 tsp            pepper
  • 2                    small ripe tomatoes cut up into ½ inch pieces and deseed
  • 8                    eggs
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp      basil – finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup           Italian sweet sausage precooked and crumbled
  • 3  Tbsp           milk
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp        Heavy Cream
  • 5/8 cup           Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Directions

  • Grease pie pan
  • Set pie dough in pan trim excess crust and bake at 400o F for 10 to 15 minutes or until firm allow it to cool.
  • Put half of the mozzarella cheese on the base of the crust
  • Spread the tomatoes, sausage and basil over mozzarella leaving a small amount to put on later.
  • Place the rest of the mozzarella on the filling.
  • Place the small amount of tomato, sausage and basil on top of the mozzarella.
  • Mix the eggs, heavy cream, milk, salt, pepper, cayenne and nutmeg until thoroughly combined.
  • Pour the mixture over the filling.

You can prep this the day before and then place  in the refrigerator overnight to use in the morning.

Bake at 350o F semi covered on the sides but with an opening over the center of the pie. The last 30 minutes uncover the pie and let it brown.  Let the quiche rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Cook time 1 hour 40 minutes will serve 8 to 10.

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