Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, Douglas, Arizona

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, Douglas, Arizona

We headed down to Douglas, Arizona to purchase a telescope for use while down here.  I decided to pass on the telescope.  Douglas is a small town on the Mexican border, more Mexican than American.  Interesting place to visit.  It is easy to get around in town since everything is posted in Spanish and English.

We ended up eating lunch at the Grand Cafe which is a Mexican restaurant.  Reviews were mixed.  Our food was fine, but not great.  However, the entire place is decorated with Marilyn Monroe posters and photos.  This has been my year for Marilyn.   It seems like every other e-book I have read this year has included her in one form or another.  See review at end of the posting!!

We headed north out of Douglas and started exploring the valley.  We ran into this sign, that at first I chalked up to a lonesome Canadian.

Bugaboo was taking no chances.  Moose are dangerous animals.  However, the rear of the sign revealed a sadder reason for the sign.

As a roadside memorial this one was different.

On the map we noticed a Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and decided that might just be the place for Bugaboo and Snowpatch to stretch their legs.  Navigating along the back roads we came to this sign.  Great public land closed to the public!!!  You know my thoughts on that one!!

We detoured around the sign and wondered if there was public access to the public's land.  After a couple of mile detour we heard such a squawking that we wondered what lay in store.

Sandhill Cranes.  Thousands of them.  And thankfully the land is managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department not the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.  That meant public access.

We have been partial towards Sandhill Cranes as for the past eight years we have had a mating pair show up every spring at Camas Meadows.  In 2009, we finally understood why the Sandhill Cranes came to Camas, but never nested at Camas Meadows.  Click for the complete STORY.  Pictures of the cranes in 2010 can be found HERE.  So now when we travel we keep looking for our cranes.

Lots of flying about and all the squawking!!  Not sure what all the noise was about, but you could hear it for miles.

Of course, the ducks ignored all the noise.  Seems they were just happy that duck season was over.

Bugaboo said "duck season is over??....wait, it can't be....all we did was chase year, we are NOT leaving for Arizona until duck season is over".

Here is more information on Sandhill Cranes.  As always you can click on the picture and it will come up full screen so you can read the text.

They are huge birds.  With a ten foot wing span they get your attention.  However, they are all WING.  The body of the crane is only about five pounds.

There is an early crane hunt in November and early December on the wildlife area.  So if you do not hunt you might want to plan your days around the shooting days.

We were there on a raw, cold windy day.  Maybe, that is why all the squawking was going on.  Seems this winter has been warm and sunny for a few days and then cold and windy before heading back to warm and sunny.

A great spot for a winter time trip in Arizona.  Here is the link to the official site: Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area.

A pretty special spot that we discovered just by looking at a map and taking a several mile detour.  We will be back to see if our "Sandhill Cranes" are winter snowbirds in Arizona.

Best news is that you can even boondock here.  Camping is permitted in the upper parking area a little distance from the wetlands.  No facilities except for a toilet.

There is a sign giving wildlife viewing hints.

We came to a couple of dead ends and had to wander around to find the 1500 acre wildlife area.  Worth the detours.  Be sure to bring binoculars or spotting scope, bird guide, and EAR PROTECTION if your here when the birds are in the area.

Book Read--My Story by Marilyn Monroe.  This was an e-book.  It is actually written by her and covers her life up to the honeymoon with Jotltin Joe in Japan and Korea.  You can actually read her writing getting better and better, but then unfortunately just as she reaches her writing style.  She stops.  Short book.  Like I said it has been the year for Marilyn Monroe books.   At least this one is written by her!!  The Joe DiMaggio book mention previously is better overview of the their relationship.  Just read the last three chapters of her book to gain her perspective.

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