Sunday, February 5, 2017

Sierra Vista (1/24 & 1/25/2017) and Patagonia, AZ (1/27/2017)

As mentioned in an earlier posting, Sierra Vista is home to Fort Huachuca, a huge Army base that is home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and several units focused on technology.  Several canyons in the Huachuca Mountains can only be accessed through the fort.  After visiting the base's Visitor Center and explaining my mission, I received a thirty day pass that allowed me to enter the base several times.  Exploring the canyons was fun, but I saw little wildlife.  A few mule deer posed for me, but the birds refused to cooperate.  I was puzzled once by a sign pointing to a spur road, indicating the direction to "Aerostat".  An aerostat is a blimp, but this one is equipped with radar, and remained tethered to the ground at its permanent location.  Later, I learned that it is used in cooperation with the Border Patrol to detect illegal aliens and drug smugglers.  Later that day we had another colorful sunset.

 The next day, I made a second visit to San Pedro House and took advantage of their bird feeders to get a few shots.  I had seen gila wood peckers before, but I learned the male and female birds are identical, except the male has a red cap not present on the female.

Other birds included the white-crowned sparrow, the European starling, the curved bill thrasher, the house finch and a female northern cardinal.

While Patagonia is only 35 miles from Huachuca City, the atmosphere and terrain are much different.  Still snuggled into the mountains, the surrounding land doesn't look like desert as much, it looks like rolling grassland...perfect for the many cattle ranches there.  With a population of roughly 1000, Patagonia was once a supply town for ranches and mines in the area.  Now it is something of a tourist destination for birders and also known for its arts and crafts.  All around town there are signs of artists and their influence.  Shops, galleries, homes and businesses are decorated in "artsy" fashion.

 Even the public rest rooms have been decorated by the local artists.
The town also has some attractive and interesting architecture, such as the town's museum building, which served as elementary school from 1914 until 2014.  Several churches also fit this category.


  1. I'm not sure it's the same blimp . . but I remember seeing one . . but it was in the air not on the ground . . never went to Patagonia . . looks like a great little town that I would have liked

    1. Sorry to mislead you, but this blimp goes up several hundred feet to do its job.