What’s all the fuss about?

After a few exciting days of crane photography, it was time for us to meander down the road.  Three years ago we first heard about Patagonia State Park in southern Arizona.  Everyone seemed to have the same response, “You just have to visit Patagonia”.Arizona State ParksWith a piqued curiosity and no firm commitments, we pointed the RV in the direction of Patagonia State Park.  Let’s see what all the fuss is about.Arizona State ParkswoodpeckersThis is a very popular state park and it’s usually best to book a reservation, especially on weekends.

We lucked out snagging a big enough site for us during our weekday stay, and although it was near the main entrance road, we didn’t seem to mind.

Once we had the RV all set up, we set off on a stroll around the park to see just what makes this place worth recommending.  Within five minutes, we fell in love with the park.  Water, woods, and wildlife…. wonderful!

The state of Arizona never ceases to amaze me with her diverse beauty.  Within a two hours drive, one can go from a desert valley filled with unique cacti, to mountainous hills of pine forests, to fields of agriculture, to peaks of stunning red rocks, to a huge crevice in the earth (Grand Canyon), or to a pristine lake.  It’s like being able to pick a different flavor of the week or a combo of flavors to savor and enjoy.Arizona State ParksPatagonia State Park is definitely a combo of flavors… a few of my very favorites.  I always jump at the chance to camp near water and I’ve always enjoyed boating of any kind, and although we no longer have our own form of watercraft, it’s nice to be able to rent one and get out on the water.Boating in Arizona

The marina at Patagonia State Park offers several different options for boating; paddle boats, kayaks, canoes, fishing boats, and pontoon boats.  Or sign up for a guided boat tour for only $5.00 per person.boating in Arizona


obstacles on the hiking trails

PatagoniaAl and I took a pass on the boating and focused on hiking.

It was such a pleasant surprise to discover the trails meandering through a grove of tall trees partly near the lakes edge and then along a bubbling creek.   We did need to beware of some mean looking obstacles though.

With plenty of trees and an abundance of water, Patagonia State Park is an anglers and birders paradise.  We routinely encountered “birders” on the hiking trails looking for specific birds.  They’d have one or two sets of binoculars hanging around their neck and quite often a list or bird book for reference.Patagonia State Park

Me?  I am not a birder.  I don’t own a set of binoculars.  I’m merely someone who enjoys taking photos of pretty things, and that includes birds.  Sometimes I’ll take the effort to learn the name of a bird but most often I don’t.  It’s just not that important to me.

birding in ArizonaHowever, at Patagonia State Park one learns very quickly to be on the look out for the rare and illusive Elegant Trogon.  Birders from around the country will travel to Patagonia State Park in hopes of seeing this beauty of a bird.birding in Arizonaelegant trogonelegant TroganThere’s only two places in the United States where one can find the South American Elegant Trogon and Patagonia State Park is one of those places.  Knowing that seeing the elegant trogon would be a special treat, Al and I would keep our eyes peeled during our hikes.

On our last morning hiking at the park, I spotted a bright green color whiz by me.  I grabbed Al’s arm with one hand and point with the other.  I said in a hushed but excited tone, “There…. there.  I think that’s the trogon”.  I started snapping away.

Al saw a group of birders up the trail and quickly strode in their direction to inform them.  Excitement filled the forest and the elegant trogon was the focus of everyone’s attention.  We were all very fortunate Mr. Trogon stayed around long enough for us all to enjoy before he finally flew off.

With all the excitement behind us, we strolled back to camp for a hearty lunch and to plan Patagonia State Parkout the rest of the day… our last day at the state park 😦

This is the perfect time for me to point out that there is NO internet or TV reception to be found anywhere in the park which can be good and bad.  Bring out the Game of Thornes DVD’s… campfires aren’t allowed.

We ended our day with a little of my “special” lemonade while enjoying a fantastic sunset.  The perfect ending to a perfect day.Patagonia State ParkActually our whole stay was pretty awesome.  So awesome, we tried to extend our visit, but as I mentioned earlier weekends book up, thus no sites were available for us to stay longer.  Note to self.birding in ArizonaIt’s obvious Patagonia State Park is a lovely place to relax, unwind, and chill for a few days.  I finally understand why it’s a favorite with so many…. us included.Patagonia State Park

Moon Arizona & the Grand Canyon (Moon Handbooks)
Game of Thrones: Season 1


94 thoughts on “What’s all the fuss about?

  1. What a beautiful spot, including the birds. Guess it is a male one you have a picture of with the spectacular red breast? Males seems to be taking all the beauty credit in the bird would! 🙂

  2. What colorful birds!!! I’ve been spotting unfamiliar ones and tried to look up online…unreal how many to choose from. But I think a couple may have been killdeers 🙂 I wish I could pick all of them out by their song. Another sweet post…always look forward to them.

  3. I have never heard of this bird before… and there you were to teach me about it. SOOOOOOOOO glad it “whizzed” by you. It looks like it should be in the islands, man! (did you hear my Jamaican accent??)
    I also want to say that you explained Arizona so well in this post!! The true reason why I love this state so much!
    Oh yes, one more thing…my sister reads my blog and clicked over to your site. SHE LOVED your photographs. 🙂

    • Yes, we were pretty lucky to stumble upon the star of the show. We didn’t realize how lucky until we talked to the guy who leads the boat birding tours. He was a wealth of info 🙂

  4. What an amazing place, Ingrid. Love the beautiful Trogon. How lucky you were to see him and get photos. All the birds are gorgeous, and I don’t know their names either. The little duckies with the crew cuts and the one with the red pointy hat are so cute. 🙂

    • Merganser ducks – When it comes to waterfowl, my hubby is the expert and is quick to inform me but I’m quick to forget thus I like your version – little duckies with the crew cuts – perfect 🙂

  5. Hi Ingrid – I would love to stay at Patagonia State Park. The lake, the birds… it looks beautiful. Your photos were perfect for the post and that Trogon. What a gorgeous bird!!! Now, I have to convince John to go off-net!!!

    • I hate being without connection myself but every now and then a place warrants a visit anyway…. it was a pretty and quiet stay 🙂

    • Gosh Gayle, I’m so surprised you haven’t been to Patagonia SP yet. I believe you would really enjoy it. Put it on the list 🙂

  6. Those birds are just amazing looking…Tropical birds are fun to see. When we go to South Texas..(even at Goliad) we see the Green Jays..I am like you, I love to get photos of anything that moves in nature (this doesn’t include Dennis or Al!).

    • Haha….. The trogon looked so out of place as if he were lost. His colors were gorgeous. I was on the look out for Green Jays but no luck. I’ll keep looking when in TX.

  7. Very cool looking place and how lucky to see the Trogon! I have never heard of that bird before. Definitely going to have to stop there when we are in the area.

    • There’s a huge variety of waterfowl that hubby was excited to see and the fishing is said to be pretty good. So it’s a popular place for anglers as well as birders.

    • Thanks Sheila. This place is filled with all kinds of unusual birds. I guess that’s why folks travel from all over to visit. I did get lucky snapping a few photos of the Trogon. My camera was having so much trouble focusing with all the branches around that it was just a tad frustrating (I don’t trust myself with manual focus)

  8. Yay, you spotted the elegant trogon! He is a beauty, isn’t he? We were fortunate to have the opportunity as well when we visited. I concur with others that dining at the Velvet Elvis is a must next time you two are in the area. 🙂

    • Well, I do believe it’s confirmed… we must return. I really should have checked blogs before heading to Patagonia for all the tidbit of ideas to see and do in the area. And yes, the trogon is a beauty. I hear there’s only one in the park!

      • I did not realize that there was only one trogon in the park…very cool to have had a sighting! And yes, keep the Velvet Elvis on your list. The owner and the menu is wonderful. 🙂

        • While watching the sunset, we spend a fair amount of time talking to the guy who runs the birding boat tours. He’s a birder and was extremely knowledgeable. He’s the one who told us this year there is only one. I’m assuming he’s in the know 😉

  9. As we were hiking there several people asked us if we had seen the trogon. Had no idea a trogon was even a bird at the time! Further on the trail we saw some folks with binoculars and went over to see what they were looking at, and there was the colorful and elegant trogon. The next day we felt bad when a woman who had come from out of state and hired a guide told us she never saw it during the time she was there. That is why we, like you, are not serious birders!

    • I think I would find it too frustrating to go in search of certain birds. I like strolling about snapping photos and if I come upon a rare sighting of something, I’m excited. Seems to work for me.

  10. This looks like a wonderfully peaceful and interesting escape. The elegant trogons are quite startling and beautiful so I can see why people travel a long way to see them. I so enjoy camping near water spots for the wildlife and also its soothing nature. Lovely photos. 🙂

    • Thanks. Water always takes my enjoyment of a place to another level and stumbling upon a beautiful unique bird was a rare treat 🙂

    • Haha….. I know with all the bird photos it does seem I’m in denial. I couldn’t believe how excited Hubby got. It was rather funny 🙂

  11. Must put Patagonia State Park, Sonoita Natural Area and Velvet Elvis on our bucket list (done). I love your photos of the elegant trogon! Wow. The photo of the pond and bridge is cool, too.

  12. So glad you spot the Elegant Trogon, and you are very lucky to see and capture its colorful plummage.
    It was there in Patagonia, searching for the Elegant Trogon and finding it that sparked my interest in birds and got hooked on birds since then. Years later here I am a fledgeling birder, ha ha and enjoying the feathered ones big and small.
    Great photography as always.

    • I do recall your post on Patagonia and the birth of the fledging birder LOL. The whooping cranes in TX sparked my interest in bird photography but I’m still not into it like you. Ah, the challenge of the photo!

  13. I think it’s time for you to break down and declare yourself to be a Birder. There’s just no other excuse for your incredible luck? ability? to find the bird and get the shot. Congratulations! We had a bit of Verizon signal at Patagonia, and were allowed to have campfires. But that still doesn’t make up for missing the Trogan.

    • Haha… I know with all my bird photos, it does appear I’m a ‘birder’. I guess there’s worse things to be called 😉 I’m sure when we return next season, we most likely won’t see him again as we’ll be looking.

  14. Oh yay!!! Not only did you see the trogon but you captured some wonderful photos of him! We lucked out and found him to be quite obliging on our two visits to Patagonia over the past several years, but we know not everyone gets to see him.

    We missed you by just about a week on our most recent visit. 😦 You’ll enjoy exploring the little town of Patagonia on your next trip there and Sonoita Natural Area (right next door) is also a good place for a hike.

    • We felt pretty lucky to see the Trogon and I know we’ll return to Patagonia SP. We still have so much more to see and explore in the area. It was a wonderful surprise as to how much we enjoyed our stay. Sorry we kept missing each other. We’re staying in Phoenix now until April 15th.

  15. I so enjoy this virtual tour of the park! The trogon is amazingly beautiful! $5 boat tour 🙂
    Great photos, Ingrid!

    • Thank you Amy and I couldn’t believe how inexpensive the boat tours were. We ran out of time before we knew it but will definitely return and do more exploring…. it’s a birders paradise.

  16. For a non-birder you sure get great pics! Beautiful, as always! We’re in the middle of our $50 week at Saguaro SKP Co-op (doing all our full-hookup stuff). Such a deal! Hiked 7-1/2 miles in Chiricahua National Park yesterday. It was as amazing as we imagined it would be.

    • I can’t wait to hear all about Chiricahua NP. Pam’s photos have my interest piqued. Al and I may have to put that on next winters list, but get in shape for the hiking first 😉

  17. Since your interest in Patagonia was piqued I peeked at your blog and my appreciation of the elegant trogan then peaked. (See what I did there? 😉

    We just had a night of rain followed by thunderstorms the next day. Don’t those rain clouds know this is the desert? (I’m still at Imperial Dam.) Where are you guys off to? Organ Pipe, I bet.

    • Cute 😉 We changed our direction and spent a week in Apache Junction hiking at the Superstitions and now we’re in Phoenix at Lake Pleasant but going back to AJ next week for more hiking… love it there. We’re keeping our wheels rolling unlike some people. You seem to have gotten way comfy…. the heat will have you rolling eventually.

    • Over the last few years, we kept hearing about Patagonia and finally decided it was time to check it out. You two would really enjoy it and Angel is welcome anywhere 🙂

  18. We have never even been here, and it is becoming one of my favorite places…hehe

    I just love those photos of the Elegant Trogon. What a gorgeous creature. The cows just crack me up.

    • I don’t know why, but I just love cows. That bull was pretty darn scary looking though and we made sure to walk way out of his way not wanting to get too close 🙂

  19. Agh. We were there for a week and never saw the Trogan. Great Pics. Be sure and visit Velvet Elvis in Patagonia.

    • We were having so much fun running around the state park that we never made it into town. We’ll be sure and do that next time around 🙂

  20. We might have to add this to our trip “home” and see this treasure. I’m not sure Pete would survive a night without his beloved TV, but I know I sure could.

    • I didn’t notice anyone with a satellite dish, thus I’m thinking there’s no connections due to the canyons. A night or two of quiet can be very welcome 🙂

  21. Yay! You saw the trogon…we missed them during our visit.

    I too thought of our meeting with Dave and Sue and Rick and JoAnne and see that Sue mentioned it too. We lucked out on our site, one of those slanted ones above the fray…hard to level but once in, good privacy and a view of the lake!

    • We lucked out with a pretty nice site ourselves thus making our visit very enjoyable. I’d love to stay there again but I’ll be sure to make a reservation next time so we get a good site 🙂

    • It’s a hidden gem and yes VERY close to Mexico, but the elevation is a bit of a surprise thus temps always cooler than Tucson. We tried visiting once before but it was toooo cold…. not Ohio cold, but Arizona cold LOL.

  22. Wow! What great pix you take! That first bird pic pulled me right in and the last one of the sunset is amazing as well. This sounds like a most excellent outing!

  23. We wanted to love Patagonia, we really did. We loved seeing Rick and JoAnn, Hans and Lisa. We loved the water, and the birding. Perhaps it was just our hideous site, or that it was a weekend. Perhaps it was the family right next to us with five, count em, five, cots set up outside for their children to sleep on. We couldn’t even retreat inside Beluga, pull our “poof” curtains and watch TV.

    • Bad neighbors will sure ruin any stay. Sorry to hear it wasn’t a great experience for you. I love this little blogging community… we may not have all physically met, but we all know each other. We met Rick and JoAnn in CO as they don’t live all that far from the Elks Lodge. We keep missing Lisa and Hans. All in time 🙂

  24. Whoah! You saw the elegant trogon… Super…cooooool! We didn’t manage to see it when we were there. By the way the little eatery downtown (Velvet Elvis) is definitely worth a stop. Also the downtown natural foods market is surprisingly good.


    • See what happens when I don’t check blogs…. missed out on Velvet Elvis. The town of Patagonia did look extremely cute and we really wanted to extend our stay at the state park so we could spend time in town. I guess that means we need to return 😉

  25. Ingrid I think it is great that although you are not a birder you were the one to spot the trogan! Fabulous photos of this bird who looks like it belongs in the Caribbean. 🙂

    • I know….. the trogon looked so out of place with the environment and all the other birds. And even for a non birder, this was a very fun and exciting encounter.

  26. Mergansers and elegant trogons in the same park~~that’s a very special park. Trogons are so wonderful to find. They are often so quiet that they can cruise on by and be gone before you know it. It’s great that you snapped these wonderful photos of it, and that Al even gave the heads-up to the birders. Thanks for sharing your terrific day, Ingrid; I, too, enjoyed it so much.

    • There were so many different birds there I couldn’t keep track and stopped trying. Hubby knows his ducks and was very excited to see the Mergansers. The Trogon was actually very vocal that morning and the gal leading the birding tour said we were witnessing a very rare occurrence. Right place, right time 🙂

Comments are closed.