Thursday, February 24, 2011

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Sierra Vista, Arizona

backroads destination--San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

Last year we visited the San Pedro area at the ghost town of Fairbanks.  See our usbackroads blog:  San Pedro Riparian Area.  The town of Fairbanks is a cultural resource and interesting place to visit.  However, when Bugaboo found out that ten miles south there was a "birding trail" he insisted on going there this time.

I am not sure what he thought about a birding trail, but I am sure he noticed that we had a camera and binoculars instead of the shotgun.  BLM requires that dogs be on a leash in developed areas and under voice control on trails and open areas.  So we put on Buggy's "good citizenship" collar to insure that he would be on his best behavior on the "birding trail".  Please use a leash if you cannot control your dog "remotely".  We always put him on the leash, when people or other dogs approached.   

The Friends of the San Pedro River have a bookstore and run trail hikes out of San Pedro House.  The house is located just south of Arizona Highway 90 where it crosses the San Pedro River.  We saw a sign for loaner binocular if you forgot yours.  These groups that help the BLM in the management of public lands make a huge difference in the quality of the visitor experience for the public.  So we always try to buy something to support them.  This trip it was a cook t-shirt, a book on the natural history of butterflies, and a cookbook??

Look for the edge.  Remember our previous post about Living on the Edge.  Along the trail there are several "edges" with grass and cottonwood forest,  but the most important one is the stream and surrounding riparian vegetation. 

This is a shallow pond next to the river.  And Buggy was running full speed to get a stick.  There were a couple of ducks at the other end of the pond doing the spring mating ritual, but he was more interested in a stick.

I guess for a working dog, this must be a vacation for him.  No shotgun, no work.

Like most areas in the west this area was grazed and abused during latter part of the 19th century.  The land recovers and looks natural once again.  However, we do not know what we have lost and how much the landscape has changed.  The San Pedro River landscape has lots of cottonwoods.  But the beavers left prior to 1900 and now with the help of the BLM they are back.  Wonder how this landscape will change in ten years?

We saw a Vermillion Flycatcher on our walk.  A common bird, but unusual for those of us that live in the west.  For binoculars we recommend this Canon Image Stabilized Binoculars.  You will see much more with stabilized binoculars.  You can read the complete review here:  Image Stabilized Binocular write-up.
If you cannot afford these binoculars a simple garage sale tripod will hold regular binoculars steady to see fine detail.

These binoculars are great for star gazing at night and even reading the exit ramp sign.

The San Pedro River area is noted for birdwatching, but there is a lot more going on!

This is the book we use to identify birds.  However, if your not interested in birds there is the Murray Springs Clovis Site, The lehner Mammoth Kill Site, Rock Art Discovery Trail, Fairbank History Site, and the Presidio Santa Cruz de Terrenate.  

Lots to do an explore in the area.  We will be back next year to continue our exploring.  Here is the link to the BLM web site:  San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

The only downside is that there is no camping allowed, except for backcountry.  It would be nice for BLM to have campground among the 56,000 acres of public land.  There is something magical about dusk and dawn in these areas and the best way to experience it is by campging.  Contact the BLM and tell them you want a camping area!!


Dugg said...

I was seriously considering ordering some stabilizing binocs---even went as far as clicking on your Amazon link---but then I found out this mechanical gyroscope/prism technology is actually decades old. Don't you think that we're on the verge of some CCD/LCD pairing that could do the same thing a lot better?

Vladimir Steblina said...

I really don't know how quickly the technology will change. CCD camera's have had similar technology for a few years and it has not moved over to binoculars.

They do work much better than regular binoculars. Really does make a huge difference, unless your willing to put your regular binoculars on a tripod.