Sky Island Meander

This time, we chose a different sky island, The Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve and hummingbird observatory.

It’s too early in the season for full-on hummingbirds, though we did spot a few — hard to tell, quick as they move, which we saw of the 15 types commonly found there — but we saw and heard a number of other birds on our meander (though I couldn’t capture them on camera): the Mexican Jay, Painted Redstart, and Bushtit.

And this really was more of a meander than our visit to Madera Canyon, a more gentle slope more suited to wandering.

There’s a tour by the Nature Conservancy, which owns the land, but because of Covid, the office was closed and it wasn’t possible to get our hands on the tour materials. I would have liked to know what all those numbers on pedestals were about.

That said, there were a lot of trees labeled, including some species I didn’t know, or couldn’t recognize on sight.


One tree I do recognize is the sycamore. I grew up with an enormous one outside my bedroom, and I’ve loved them ever since, perhaps in part because they’re so distinctive with their smooth white bark.

They were also swarming with the Arizona woodpecker.

A couple early Twentieth Century cabins offered a little variety to the landscape, left from a small community of about a hundred people who lived there at the time.

It was a really lovely opportunity to get out of town, stretch our legs, see some pretty bits.

Quick Swiss Stop

I mean, there wasn’t actually anything particularly Swiss about it, except that it was called Helvetia Overlook, and it was beautiful. We stopped on our way home along the Patagonia-Sonoita Scenic Byway through Arizona’s beef and wine country.

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