Sunday, February 26, 2017

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area is primarily about wintering Sandhill Cranes, and we are talking thousands of these large birds. Arizona State Game and Fish Department counted 13,522 on January 6th 2017. Early in the morning flights of cranes take off and leave to fly to nearby corn fields to feed on the left- overs from harvest.  Mid-day they return to the wildlife area to rest and congregate for the night, and this is when the spectacular scene occurs, flight after flight coming in to land in the wetlands.  We arrived here yesterday at 10:00am and birdered for an hour or so, as the number of cranes grew from a few to more than it was possible to count.  By then the crowd of folks who were coming to watch the incoming cranes were starting to fill to full capacity.  All kinds of folks, birders, cowboys, old folks and young folks, walked, ambled, and limped to the pond's edge to point and gawk, and photograph.  It reminded me of the state fair.  We were happy to return to the quietness of our motor home in a parking lot where RVs are allowed to park for up to three days for free. In our ramblings around Arizona this winter several people have recommended Whitewater Draw, and we made time in our schedule to stop here. We love the combination of free camping and bird watching at the same location.  It was interesting and we enjoyed it, but once is probably enough.  The highlight of our stop actually occurred in the evening when friends Dan and Elaine Scott made a stop here for the night.  They are from the Seattle area, and have also been traveling around the south-west this winter, including a short venture across the border into Mexico.  It was great to get got up with them and talk RVs.

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