Patagonia to Cave Creek

We wake up again too early, it’s winter birding, remember?  
 We decide to head down to Patagonia Lake State Park and bird there for a bit. We went to the end of the day use area and got the scope out. 
We added a lifer – Pyrrhuloxia! Along with Cardinal, a lovely Great Blue Heron and several other new species for the trip. Came back and drove through the famous roadside rest area and only ticked WCSP. By now it was 8:30 and the birds were actually waking up.
We visited the Patton’s home.  
Michael M. the resident renter came out and visited after a bit. 
The birds were abundant with Broad-billed & Anna’s Hummingbird, Pyrrhuloxia,  Northern Cardinal, White-winged Dove,  Botta’s Pocket Gopher, (thanks Michael!) Abert’s Towhee, Green-tailed Towhee and many others. 
A delightful time, this would be a wonderful place to come back to in summer. 
Off then to Cave Creek Ranch which we hit about 2:30. Unloaded our stuff into a very cool rock cabin by the river – which was bolstered on all sides by numerous sandbags. White-tailed Deer decorated the area.
We drove up the South Fork and hiked over a mile in on the Maple Camp trail looking for Mexican Chickadee and Yellow-eyed Junco. No go.
 We found a Brown Creeper, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and thought we heard a YEJU. It was a really lovely hike. We did a total of 10 stream crossings.
Back to the main canyon road and up to the Herb Maryter road where we heard and got distant looks at two Mexican Chickadees! Stopped by the research station and gift shop which were closed. We’ll go back there tomorrow. (It was still closed, oh well.)
Back at the ranch we parked at our cabin and started birding – 4pm-ish. Bridled Titmouse, White-tailed Deer and at the feeding station area which was excellent by the way, we had some great birds! PAINTED REDSTART, BLUE-THROATED HUMMER and Magnificent Hummingbird, Cardinals, Pyrs, White-crowned Sparrows.  3 more lifers in five minutes! We birded there until thoroughly frozen!
The cabin has a lovely fireplace, so I started and kept a fire going until bedtime. We had TGI Fridays Sesame Chicken, for a wonderful end to our day. I even moved my twin bed so I could fall asleep watching the fire.  Heaven on earth.
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