|Tumacacori National Historic Park|
The Spanish colonial missions of San Jose de Tumacacori and Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi, established in 1691, are the oldest missions in Arizona. This national historical park encompasses the ruins of these and the mission of San Cayetano de Calabazas in the upper Santa Cruz River Valley of sou...
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve
|Description: American naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch once said that "No other area in Arizona is more deserving of preservation" than Sonoita Creek. This perennial reach of Sonoita Creek supports a riparian corridor with high biodiversity and was the first preservation project of The Nature Conservancy in Arizona in 1966.
The watershed is mostly undeveloped, and the natural processes of flooding are largely intact and highly functional. In this excellent example of a cottonwood-willow riparian forest, some of the trees are over 100 feet tall and over 130 years old. Arizona black walnut, velvet mesquite, velvet ash, canyon hackberry, and various willows are found throughout the preserve. Here are remnant wetlands or cienagas, a once-common feature of the Sonoita Creek floodplain and the most endangered natural community in Arizona. Many rare and sensitive plant species are found in the Sonoita Creek watershed, including Huachuca water umbel, Santa Cruz striped agave, and the Santa Cruz beehive cactus.
Wildlife to Watch: The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is best known for the 300 bird species observed here. Several unusual, rare, or unique species such as the black vulture, gray hawk, green kingfisher, thick-billed kingbird, northern beardless-tyrannulet, violet-crowned hummingbird, and rose-throated becard attract birdwatchers. Common birds include vermilion flycatcher, yellow and Lucy’s warbler, yellow-breasted chat, Bell’s vireo, varied bunting, yellow-billed cuckoo, broad-billed hummingbird, and elf owl. Other animals inhabiting the preserve include mountain lion, bobcat, white-tail deer, javelina, coatimundi, ringtail, coyote, raccoon, red-spotted toad, Mexican spadefoot, elegant earless lizard, Clark’s spiny lizard, and black-necked gartersnake. This site is also a great place for viewing butterflies, damselflies, and dragonflies.
The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek is a perennial stream fed by surface and underground springs. It is one of the very few remaining such streams that supports four native fish species, including the Gila topminnow and the longfin dace.
Special Tips: Fee Site; closed Mondays and Tuesday. The Visitor Center, staffed by volunteers, has interpretive displays and local information. Guided nature walks are conducted every Saturday morning at 9 a.m., year-round. Additional birding and natural history programs for adults and children are conducted on a seasonal basis.
Other Activities: Two and one-half miles of dirt trails
Ownership: The Nature Conservancy
Size: 1350 acres
Closest Town: Patagonia
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: