2013-08-29 Arizona Trip

Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake
Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake at Beatty’s Guest Ranch in Miller Canyon, near Hereford, Arizona.

One aim on this trip was to visit family in Northeast Tucson. While there I spent some time at Agua Caliente Park. It had been in my head for several years I should spend a few days at Beatty’s Guest Ranch in Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains south of Sierra Vista. On my return home I stopped at Red Rock Arizona, where just outside town there is a feedlot known to attract unusual birds.

I spent but one day with my cousins in Tucson on this trip. My heart was set on my second visit to Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains south of Sierra Vista. I’d visited this place in 2004 and was impressed by the overwhelming numbers of hummingbirds at the Beatty’s Guest Ranch. I promised myself another visit. I was aware that cabins were available and thought it would be great to spend a few days soaking in the surrounding scene.

I found my way back to the ‘ranch’ and rented a cabin from the proprietor’s wife, a very lovely person. On my previous visit eight years earlier, I’d met the proprietor’s son and found him eager to share his insights about the local fauna. I remember he found a small snake and allowed us to inspect it as close as we dared.

I loved that I was able to enjoy nature in this unique setting for three days. I met birds, hiked up the canyon, and enjoyed a mostly serene scene. I also got to know the proprietor a little, who might be the most ungracious man I’ve ever met. My read on his demeanor was he cared little for people, less for birders, and photographers were the scum of the earth. Despite my efforts at cordiality, I could not find a hospitable element to his character. There was no conversation I can recall that I wasn’t reminded of his distaste for ‘my kind’. It did not matter to him that I was a ‘paying customer’.

When I left three days later, I decided I had little reason to return. It’s really a shame though, if Mrs. Beatty, a very nice person, handled all the interfacing with the guests and general public, my feelings about this place would be reversed and I’d be looking forward to my next opportunity to return.

The creatures in this image set include Great Blue Heron, Broad-Tailed Hummingbird, Magnificent Hummingbird now called Rivoli’s Hummingbird, Helmeted Guinea-fowl, Rufous Hummingbird, Costa’s Hummingbird, Desert Spiny Lizard, Sonoran Mountain Kingsnake, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Anna’s Hummingbird, Broad-Billed Hummingbird, Monarch Butterfly, Painted Redstart, Mexican Jay, White-Winged Dove, Yellow-Headed Blackbird.

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