Patagonia Lake, a birding paradise!

After leaving Kartchner we went south to Patagonia on the recommendation of our friends, the Galloways.  They stayed there a couple of years ago and actually saw a very rare bird, the Elegant Trogon.   More than 300 bird species migrate, nest, and live in the riparian habitat along Sonita Creek and it is ranked as a world-class birding destination.

Patagonia Lake was constructed in the late 60’s by a group of citizens incorporated as the Lake Patagonia Recreation Association.   The Association soon recognized they did not have sufficient capital to meet the demand of maintaining the lake and recreation facilities.  After working through lengthy, complex negotiations, Patagonia Lake was acquired by Arizona State Parks in 1975 and officially opened as Patagonia Lake State Park on April 1,  1975.

The 2.5 mile long, 250 acre lake is popular for fishing, boating, swimming, and birding.  6EF9F43D-3030-4CD8-B2F7-91081DA8167D

You can take a $5 avian boat tour.


Swimming beach and day use area


Meeting up with friends we have met on earlier trips is always fun.  Last year we met Robin and Craig at Lone Rock Beach, Lake Powell.  And it just so happened that they were volunteering at Kartchner Caverns when we were there.  We got together for happy hour and then they came down to Patagonia for the day.  We shared travel stories, favorite campgrounds, and future plans.  Coincidentally, they will be in the Finger Lakes area when we are there in August and we have already planned on getting together.


We also took advantage of the guided bird hike.  I know nothing about birding, can only identify the obvious robins, cardinals, and blue jays, but nonetheless thought it could be a learning experience.

Jeez, these birders are freaking serious with their $2000 pair of binoculars.  By the time I tried to focus on the willow straight in front, left of the limb next to the forked branch with my cheap $20 binoculars, the damn bird was gone.  They are ooohhing and ahhing about some brown crested flycatcher, not to be confused with the ash throated and I don’t see a thing!   Well, Jeff did manage to get a few pics.

I enjoy nature and wildlife, strenuous hikes and leisurely walks, but realized early on this was not for me.   You walk 20 steps, then stare into the trees for 30 minutes and wait and wait and wait.  It was kind of amusing to hear them politely debate whether it was a neotropic cormorant or double-crested one!  Lovely people, but just not our cup of tea.  We thanked them for their patience with our ignorance and bid our adieus.

All in all, a very nice park, sites are a mixed bag, some not very big or level.  We had a pull-through, however it was on a slope, not the easiest to level, but we managed.   If we were staying longer, I would have launched the kayak.

We’re off to White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.



4 thoughts on “Patagonia Lake, a birding paradise!”

  1. Glad to see you meeting up with friends from the rv community. Yep, not a birder either…Dave likes to photograph birds and knows lots of them but he’s no serious birder like that group.


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