Birding the San Pedro River – An Adventure Awaits You
When Birding the San Pedro River you will find a different adventure no matter where you are. At the southern end of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area the waters flow and there is easy access. In the central portion is the San Pedro House which I wrote about in an earlier blog. Between the San Pedro House and Saint David there are only a couple of locations that you can reach the river. One is Charleston Road and the other is at Fairbank ghost town on Highway 82. As you go further north in the NCA near Saint David has only one place to the river. At this place that you can hang your hat, rest in a comfortable bed and enjoy access to the flowing San Pedro River. The name of the place is Down By The River B and B. It is in a secluded location at the northern end of the NCA on the western side of the river.
Over a ten year period, we have seen and identified 99 different species of birds. We haven’t been able to photograph them all but we do have a nice selection now that we have a decent digital camera. Click on our “Bird Page” tab and go to the bottom of the page to see the different photos that we do have on our site. We also have a list of the birds that have been seen along the river at the back of the property and from the patio. Now if we included the species that we have seen and identified within an hours drive, we would probably be over 150 species.
What is the advantage to the northern part of the NCA? One advantage is that it is less crowded. There is flowing water all year around with the possible exception of the drier years just before monsoon season. During that time the water is still flowing but it will be underground. We have a lot of natural vegetation where the birds can find shelter, nesting areas, water and food. The San Pedro Cienega is also located within a couple of miles of our location. The Cienega is a remnant of the massive marshy area that has all but disappeared. The cienega attracts a lot of birds and in the late summer and early fall is home to many Monarch Butterflies.
Our feeders attract birds into the property and the ponds in the adjacent area attract waterfowl such as ducks and coots. Flycatchers, dove, quail, thrashers, roadrunners numerous towhees and sparrows frequent the area. Hummingbirds can be found at the feeders. In particular the Black-chinned hummingbirds nest in the area and so are always present at the feeders. We do have other hummingbirds that have been spotted during the migration times, especially the Rufous.
Then there are the raptors that fly over the property. Most notably the Mississippi Kite that nests in this part of the San Pedro. We have seen this bird flying over the property in the late afternoons but we never had a camera ready. Numerous Northern Harriers, Red-tailed Hawks, Coopers Hawks, Sharp shinned Hawks, Kestrels and the sought after Grey Hawk can be found in this area. There are also owls that can be seen if you are lucky and patient.
This year has been warmer than usual. We haven’t had any freezing since the last week of January. We don’t know what that means for this year’s bird migration timing. It may be earlier than normal. During the March migration in 2007, we had one guest see 52 different birds from the patio and on a walk down to the river over a 3 day period. This isn’t bad considering that there are almost 400 species of birds that can be found in this flyway over a year’s time. If you plan things right, birding the San Pedro River can be done from the comfort of your room when you stay at Down By The River. Try us out sometime. Click here for availability.