Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ramsey Canyon

What a wonderful place! This nature reserve, just 28 miles from the border with Mexico (don't go after dark! It's not just the bears that'll get you), is a beautiful little canyon that is home to many amazing animals and birds native to Arizona.

My first and most favourite is the hummingbird - and the conservancy put out feeders so you can just sit back and watch those beauties buzz around like feathered bees.  Most of them are no more than a few inches long - and their flight patterns almost impossible to follow as they zoom around to sip nectar  (whether it's in a flower or a feeder).

The best photographs, consequently, are of them at rest. But I have a whole lot more pictures on my flickr account - just take a look when you get the chance. 

However, as soon as we pulled up in the parking lot at the Canyon, the first thing I saw was some hawk zoom into the woods next to us. I got the camera out and took a shot through the trees - it was a Cooper's Hawk I think. Anyway, he posed a good while, so I got some nice pictures.

We entered the Canyon and the scenery was amazing - unlike where I'm staying up near Phoenix (which is desert) this is a lush green environment with beautiful trees and mountains.

As well as the birdlife, we saw lots of squirrels and lizards. As we came out of the canyon, one of the conservancy workers was very excited as he'd just seen a bobcat and a deer. We were also told that early in the morning (on the higher trail which we didn't take) someone had seen a bear and a mountain lion. The bear was likely, the lion not quite so - but it was amazing to think we were so close to these wild creatures. And reassuring to know we were unlikely to bump into them too!

We spent a good few hours in the canyon walking just over a mile - but it was wonderful just to look at the birds and the plants, listening to the gently burbling stream and admiring the handiwork of early settlers who'd built their log cabins and managed to eke out a living in this lush, but difficult environment over a hundred years ago.

If you love wildlife and are going to Arizona or south New Mexico, don't miss out. Ramsey Canyon is a real treasure.
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