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Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve Loop
5 Photosets

mini location map2018-09-27
11 by photographer avatarcactuscat
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Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve LoopTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 27 2018
Hiking2.30 Miles 10 AEG
Hiking2.30 Miles
10 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Don't you love it when a series of impulsive decisions lead you to be in exactly the right place at exactly the right time?! That was my day today. :D
As of yesterday I wasn't even sure I'd be going out today - part of me wanted to sit at home and watch the Kavanaugh hearings. By bedtime last night, though, I had pretty much decided I would take a nice short half day trip to bird the St. David Monastery and Lake Cochise. But - prone to change my mind as I am - this morning I kept thinking about the American Redstart that has been hanging out at Paton's in Patagonia ... AMRE is very rare in Arizona, last seen at Paton's in 1994 ... I also had a facebook post on my mind - a photo of two young Mountain Lions posted by a volunteer at the Patagonia Sonoita Creek Preserve. So at 6:30 I hit the road towards Patagonia.
Spent an hour at Paton's - saw about 20 different species of birds and had good conversation with the volunteers. No American Redstart in evidence.
Drove down Blue Haven Road to the Preserve Visitor Center - paid my $6, saw the Mountain Lion warning signs, chatted with the volunteer, and bought a poster. Then drove halfway back up the road to the primitive trailhead there, with no real plan.
After consulting my little map, decided to make a loop of the Railroad Trail and the Creek Trail.
Saw deer and squirrels along the Railroad, then had a close encounter with a Javelina along the creek. I was standing still and he was making his was up the stream ... he didn't know I was there until he stopped about 6 feet away and started sniffing the air in my direction. After a couple photos, I said - softly - "Hi piggy", and he turned tail and shot off.
Next up were more deer in the field and some birds.
Then when I reached the junction where I intended to loop back to my car, I looked at the map again and saw the Spring Trail and the Cienega Loop very close by in the other direction - thought that sounded nice and decided to add it. Good decision.
Soon saw a mama and baby deer - very cute!
About halfway around this spontaneous loop, I crouched down to take a photo of a sign, then as I stood back up I looked at the tree to my right and found myself making eye contact with a Mountain Lion! The tree was 10 feet away, and she was 15 feet up on a horizontal limb ... for a total of just 25 feet between us!
When I remembered to breathe - and function - I said "Hi kitty", took three photos, and began slowly backing up. I knew there were two young ones from the previous photo I had seen, and obviously a mama cat around somewhere ...
Once I backed out of sight, my adrenaline really kicked in and my heart pounded! I also did a little celebration dance. :y:
A minute later, a squirrel startled me and I just about jumped out of my skin! :lol:
The mammal show wasn't quite done yet - I had one more close encounter, this time with a coati - on the hike back.
Drove back to the V.C. because I couldn't wait to tell someone. Then another quick stop at Paton's to show them my pics and try for the AMRE one more time - still didn't see it, but can't say I cared too much by this point.
Stopped at Lake Cochise on the way home to see all the water and shore birds, and managed to get a couple lifers.
Awesome, amazing day!!

Osage orange
Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with pigeons.
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