Friday, March 13, 2015

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ…

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 029

Near Bisbee, Arizona is the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area which is home to thousands and thousands of wintering birds. What make this refuge fun to visit is the large population of Sandhill Cranes found there in the winter time. We weren't sure if they would be already taking off for their northern nesting grounds but we took the 25 minute drive out to the refuge to see.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 008Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 009

As we pulled into the refuge we could hear the sounds of Sandhill Cranes whose numbers swell to more than 20,000 in peak season. Sandhill Cranes spend the night standing in Whitewater Draw’s shallow waters to evade predators making this the perfect location.  We parked and then we walked out to the shallows where we saw a sea of Sandhill Cranes all around the edges of the shallow waters noticing the birds were beginning to mill around to feed.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 010Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 012

We walked around the flats and encountered many other species of birds besides the abundant Sandhill Cranes . Cinnamon Teal, Shovelers, Pintail, and Ruddy Ducks were feeding in the shallows as well. White Crowned Sparrows, Yellow-Rumped Warblers and Says Phoebes were catching flies for their morning breakfast while Kestrel and Northern Harriers were searching for larger prey nearby.  We were treated to lots of lively activity at the refuge that morning.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 018Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 019

On our way back we stopped to check out a recommended “must see” place in nearby Lowell, AZ, the Shady Dell RV Park. It was locked up as they only take reservations and don’t open until late in the afternoon.  This is not a place to bring your RV to park since it already has the RV’s on site as rentals. What makes it unique is all of the RV’s on site are vintage! To make it more interesting they pipe 50’s music throughout the park giving it that very real nostalgic feel. We also walked around a bit and checked out the restored part of downtown Lowell where there were lots of cool looking old cars and a gas station. Someone is spending a lot of money to vamp it up but it still has a long way to go to be fully restored…

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 022Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 020


After we returned to the RV we made one last walk into Bisbee and walked up a few side streets that we had missed before. Finally we ended up at the Copper Queen Saloon next to the Copper Queen Hotel that is said to be haunted. Seeing no ghosts in the saloon we sat at the bar for a cold adult beverage. Lucky for me one of the beers was on tap from the Savage Brewery where we wanted to visit but was closed on Monday. Their Strongman Ale was excellent as was Sharon's Vanilla Porter she ordered from Breckenridge Brewing Company in Colorado. A fitting end to our visit in Bisbee...

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 028Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area and Lowell, AZ 025

The next morning we headed east about 80 or so miles and pulled into Rusty’s RV Ranch. Rusty's is near the town of Rodeo New Mexico out in the middle of nowhere. We are in a quite large pull -thru site (all sites here are pull-thru) with great views to the west of the Chiricahua Mountains a place we will visit during our stay here..

NOTE: Yes I am behind in the blog again as we have left Rusty’s in Rodeo NM and moved on to Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, NM…


  1. I'm sure you'll enjoy the history of Pancho Villa right from the state park. Take a ride through Columbus and you can still see bullet holes.

  2. WOW! I love your pictures of the area and the cranes. There were so many of them. What a very neat place to visit.

  3. We loved Whitewater Draw, too. Those Sandhill Cranes were amazing to see. We missed Shady Dell...didn't know about it when we were there. Photos are great!

  4. Soooo glad you stopped in to see us! We had a campfire for a while tonight and hoped you would wander over. Hope to see you tomorrow. Steve is gonna go over in the morning and check about the Tracker. from there we will see what we will be doing....

    KarenInTheWoods and Steveio
    (Blog) RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  5. Love the area and your pictures, keep enjoying the area.

  6. Just east about a mile or so of the Whitewater Draw on the same side is a ranch & that is the ranch we did our ranch sitting on a few years ago. We had Cranes flying overhead twice a day every day. A great birding stop for sure. Bisbee is one of our favorite little places & always enjoy breakfast at the BBC & strolling down old time Erie Street in Lowell. Have stayed at Rusty's a couple times & enjoyed the park with it's long pull through spots. Be sure to hit The Pink Store in Palomas south of Columbus. We got snowed on one time staying at Pancho Villa.

  7. Here's another good reason NOT to retire to AZ or NM - sandhill cranes make the most ungodly racket and are one of the dirtiest birds on the planet.