Happy Holidays! We all survived the end of the Myan Calendar - Yea ! LOL... And yesterday's Christmas Bird Count by the Huachuca Audubon Society was very productive - lots of birds in many species. So Mother Earth as continued to roll forward and sustain all those wonderful birds that grace our lives with song, vibrant color (except for those darned sparrows!), and entertaining antics. Life is good. We wish you a Merry Christmas with time to relax and enjoy the wonders of the season!
Also the Christmas Bird Count was a HUGE success. Patrick and several volunteers took on the task of combing our yard and the nearby BLM grasslands and the San Pedro River to inventory the many species and the number of individuals of each type. Now if the birds were stationary and had labels on them it would be easy..... But since birds flit around wildly, and there are many types of Sparrows (identifying them correctly is a real talent) the team had fun balancing binoculars, bird books, and an iPone with iBird, or two and the event went on without a hitch. We got to report our list to the local coordinator who was thrilled with this year's count.
On Thanksgiving Day, shortly after breakfast, Wezil Walraven will be taking a tour to the Sulphyr Springs Valley and Whitewater Draw to see the Sandhill Cranes, hawks, eagles, owls, and many waterfowl. This is a group tour – Wezil will take you along for an adventure birding tour to enjoy some of the best winter birding of the year. Our Sandhill Cranes have returned again in force (20,000?) to fill the skies with their flights and calls. Whitewater Draw also is a great place to see owls, Vermilion Flycatchers, kerlews, snow geese, and a lot of other water fowl. The tour includes lunch and the group will return to the Casa by mid afternoon. So as we cook and prepare for a fabulous Thanksgiving Day dinner, you can enjoy a day in the sun, finding lots of birds and being entertained by Wezil along the way. A fun day! Cost: $75 per person. Let us knwo if you can join the tour and we will let Wezil know to hold seats for you.
Also, Wezil will be available on Friday and Saturday for individual tours for the Huechuca canyons, the San Pedro River, and Whitewater Draw.
We are definitely into Fall weather – cooler evenings (38 degrees or so) but absolutely glorious days with clear skies and sunshine, gentle breezes, and a hint of color coming into the trees along the San Pedro River. The fall migration is in process with our Summer residents about gone and the Winter residents showing up daily – The Sandhill Cranes are back at Whitewater Draw along with a good assortment of waterfowl. Remember to book your reservations for our fabulous Christmas Dinner (a stunning seafood cocktail buffet and of course our classic Prime Rib Dinner!). Time to welcome back all of our Snow Birds from the northern states and Canada – Arizona beckons ! So many adventures in store – and such great winter weather (if you like sunshine and NOT having to shovel snow.
Stay with us for Three Nights in September, and just Pay for Two Nights – (a 33% Discount)
PLUS get a free copy of a Better Birdwatching DVD or
the Friends of the San Pedro River DVD: Birds Beaver and Javelina! (while supplies last …)
Here’s a great way to enjoy the wonderful early Fall weather in SE Arizona, stay at the Casa de San Pedro, and SAVE a bundle. Experience all that SE Arizona has to offer while staying in the most relaxing and comfortable inn in the area. Walk along the San Pedro River, enjoy our gardens, or hike and bike in the Huachuca Mountain canyons, spotting birds, butterflies, and other flora and fauna in this naturalist paradise. We will get you started each day with freshly brewed coffee from the Bisbee Coffee Company, blended just for our guests. Every morning we feature a great breakfast that will keep you going throughout the day. And then come back to the Casa for home made pies every afternoon. We can recommend several very good restaurants in the area. Or you can use our gas BBQs to prepare your own private dinner. Whatever the reason, naturalist exploration, a romantic weekend away from the stresses of the world, or just taking time to rest and relax, Casa de San Pedro and SE Arizona at your best bet for a fabulous getaway.
Casa de San Pedro B&B and our itinerant chef, Donna Londot, are pleased to offer our popular Cooking Classes in the next several months. These events are lots of fun for the participants – everyone gets to learn new cooking techniques and recipes while preparing dinner for the assembled guests. Donna Londot provides the recipes, instruction, and guidance for the preparation and serving of great dinners. Check out the Cooking Classes tab on our home page for all the details and menus. The upcoming dates are:
- Saturday, September 29: Greek Islands Dinner
- Saturday, October 27: Italian Provincial Dinner
Please be sure to book your reservations for the Cooking Clasa or Dinners early. We enjoy having a festive group join us – so bring friends and family and relax in the comfort of the Casa, enjoy the beauty and relaxing habitat of our San Pedro River location, and have a great meal – and a hand in preparing it too!
Today some of our guests from SW Ohio were commenting that they left 105 degrees and tons of humidity to come to SE Arizona to COOL OFF. Now, most people would think that they were crazy – everyone assumes that southern Arizona must be an inferno by July and August (when the upper midwest and great plains are roasting, to say nothing atout the temperatures in Phoenix this time of year. But out 4250′ elevation and our Summer Monsoon rains give us a blessed respite from all that heat and misery. This morning our low temperature was just 63 degrees, and this afternoon we have some gentle scattered showers at all of 85 degrees. And it has been that way for the past two weeks ! AND in August we will have the arrival of a lot of birds that will begin thier fall migration by then – so our hummingbird feeders will be swarmed by up to 8 species of hummers, and butterflies will be at thier peak, and the weather will continue to be stunning and relatively mild. Not at all what anyone who is not familiar with July and August in Hereford AZ would expect. So come on down – head South (not North) to cool off and experience the best birdwatching, thunder storms and rainbows ! of the year. Mention this blog post when you book a room for July or August and receive a copy of the new Better Birdwatching in the Southwest DVD (while our supply lasts!) that highlights all the important birds that are in the area and how to find them.
At TripAdvisor, we recognize the power of traveler feedback — and today we’re proud to recognize Casa de San Pedro for your exceptional traveler ratings over the past year.
“The Certificate of Excellence awards busineses that consistently earn top ratings from TripAdvisor travelers. With a rating of 5.0, Casa de San Pedro has eraned a place among the very best.”
The Certificate of Excellence: A Testimonial to Your High Standards!
President, TripAdvisor for Business
We would like to thank all the many guests who have taken the time and effort to record their recommendations for Casa de San Pedro on TripAdvisor. We always welcome feedback on how we are doing, what we can do better, and how well we have served our wonderful guests. The quality of our guests and their friendships are one of the most rewarding aspects of running this business. Thank you for your support and for recognizing the significant effort that it takes to achieve excellence that earns your highest recommendations.
We are happy to bring back the wine pairing dinner that Cafe Roka did for us last year. Rod Kass and his wife Sally will prepare a multi-course dinner for you at the Casa, and each course will be paired with a wine from local vinyards. This is an excellent opportunity to meet Rod and Sally, learn more about local wines, and enjoy the cuisine of Cafe Roka paired with several different types of wines. Set aside a Summer Weekend for fun in SE Arizona and savor the best local cuisine and wine while you relax at the Casa ! The date has been set for Sunday, July 29, but the wines and food have not yet been chosen. A minimum two night stay is required top participate in this dinner.
Many guests who visit the Casa return often, become good friends, and do take the time to rate us on TripAdvisor or Bedandbreakfast.com. A sample of one that we received this morning:
Casa de San Pedro is tucked away beside public lands on the San Pedro River It is a quiet, idyllic and scenic location and is at the heart of a Mecca for birders. A walk along the river before breakfast will almost fill your list for the day. This is a birder-friendly B and B, but you definitely … read moredo not have to be a birder to enjoy it. Comfortable, well-equipped rooms are arranged around a delightful courtyard, with a great room and dining room at one end. The food is outstanding with creative and delicious breakfasts, different every morning. Not only that, but fresh pies appear every afternoon – the mixed berry and rhubarb/strawberry are stand-outs. Patrick and Karl are attentive, personable hosts who make you feel right at home, but respect your privacy, should you desire it. We have been coming to the Casa for many years and coming back again feels like being home. There are arrangements with excellent birding guides and there are wonderful restaurants in Bisbee. Free Internet and lots of books are available. Truly a place that reinvents the concept of B and B and always worth the trip from the Washington DC area. (Roger and Susan).
Every year the City of Sierra Vista conducts a poll of visitors to the area to find those uinque individuals in the community who go avove and beyond in serving the travelling public – The U-Rock hospitality awards recognize the best of the best in our commujnity who welcome guests, help them with thier travel needs, and who stand as ambassadors for the region in helping visitors enjoy thier stays, exceeding all expectaions. We are pleased that our assistant, Colleen Biely, is this year’s winner of the U-Rock award for lodging facilites. Colleen was selected from a large field of nominees serving hotels and bed and breakfasts and thier guests. We are exicted that Colleen had so many nominations and very warm endorsements from our guests. We know that Colleen is committed to making our guests comfortable and making sure that they optimize thier limited time in the area to see and do all the things that they have planned. In fact several of our employees and associated tour guides that serve our guests were nominated – thank you to everyone who recognized thier efforts on your behalf. We also note that Tom Woods and Sheri Williamson from the Southeast Arizona Bird Obervatory, who conduct the Monday and Friday San Pedro River Bird Walks and the Friaday afternoon hummingbird banding at Casa de San Pedro were also nominated – and both of them won the “runners up” award for tour guides this year. Congratualitons to the nominees and the winners of this year’s U-Rock Awards.
Yucca Chips with roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Shrimp Ceviche shooters
Mini short rib tacos with condiments like queso sauce, pickled onions, and green chile relish
Mini Salad in frico cups
Mini dessert surprise!
NOTE: This Cooking Class starts at 4:00 pm, and Dinner will be served at about 7:00 pm (when the cooks have worked their magic!)
RECOMMENDED Wines: Spanish Red
On this morning’s SABO River Walk at Casa de San Pedro there were many birds that indicate the start of the Spring Migration. Among the visitors: Gray Hawk, Golden Eagle !!!, Cooper’s Hawk, Sharp Shinned Hawk, Wilson’s Snipe !!!!, Broadbilled, Black-chinned, Rufous Humming birds, Cassins Kingbird, Gray Flycatcher, Lucy’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Common Yellowthorat, Green Tailed Towhee, and a Norther Beardless Tyrannulet as highlights. Others noted earlier this week: Mexican Mallards, Great Horned Owl, White-0winged Dove, Inca Dove, Gila Woodpecker, Vermilion Flycatchers (lots), Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Vesper Sparrow, Lesser Goldfinch, American Kestrels, White-throated Sparrow, Western Kingbird, Prairie Falcon, Swainson’s Hawk, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Lazuli Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Scott’s Oriole, Bullock’s Oriole.
So there are a lot of birds showing up at the Casa and in the area. So come on down and enjoy the show!
Tags: Arizona Bird Watching, San Pedro River, Southeast Arizona, spring migration
Saturday, April 21: Mexican Fiesta with Chef Donna Londot:
Shrimp Ceviche shooters and
Roasted Tomatillo and Mango Salsa with Chips
Sweet Corn Tomalito ( Steamed corn pudding)
Calabacitas ( Zucchini, black bean and pablano)
NOTE: The Cooking Class starts ar 4:00 pm, and Dinner will be served at about 7:00 pm (when the cooks have worked their magic!)
RECOMMENDED Wines: Bring your own wine – whatever you like – but a nice red wine to match the mole (chocolate and chilis) would be good, or a white wine with character.
We are noting the early arrival of some of the sentinel migrants (and the departure of some of our winter birds) somewhat early this year. Of course migrations can start and stop abruptly with changes in storm systems – but it is beginning to feel as though the birds are pushing northward a bit on the early side this year. Our Vermilion Flycatchers are back on the river, the Sandhill Cranes at Whitewater Draw seem to be filtering out a couple of weeks early this year. So will it be an early Spring Migration? Only the birds will tell us for sure!
Many people have asked whether the Monument Fire last June will significantly affect the number of birds in SE Arizona this year. Of course some specific locations that suffered the worst of the fires and ensuing mud slides have been negatively impacted by the fires – as their unique habitats were decimated. But those are very localized impacts. For instance, Mary Jo Ballitor’s yard was in the middle of significant fire damage all around her – but her own yard survived essentially intact resulting in a haven of habitat for the birds and other wildlife. Meanwhile, the Beatty’s Ranch in Miller Canyon was decimated by both fire and mud slides – taking out valuable habitat. One site may then become a haven for wildlife and the other needs to be rehabilitated. But it is amazing how fast the habitats recover and how fast the birds return to locations that humans would consider to be decimated. Rumors of the destruction of the Huachuca Mountain wildlife habitats have been wildly overstated. A few locations still have years of recovery in front of them. Others were skipped over or never touched by the fires and floods. Ramsey Canyon, Garden Canyon, Huachuca Canyon all were spared as the fires were confined mostly to the south of Carr Canyon. While the road up Carr Canyon is still closed (for the winter) the picnic ground at the top of the road is still intact as are the pines and overall habitat.
And just as noteworthy, the San Pedro River was not touched by the fires so our critical habitat for birds and other wildlife is now supporting a wider array of species and unprecedented numbers of birds. When one considers the overall habitat of the San Pedro River and the surrounding mountain canyons you will find seven distinct environmental zones, each with its own unique habitat and unique species of birds and other wildlife. Most of these environmental zones were not touched by the fires and they provide ample opportunities for wildlife from the affected zones/locations to relocate and to thrive.
Did we lose important sites and were some of the birding sites negatively affected? Yes. But those sites are limited, and the birds (who can fly over those sites) just go on to the areas that were not affected. So the bottom line is that SE Arizona, the San Pedro River Valley, and all the environmental zones from the river to the top of the Huachucas still provide habitat for our normal mix of species of wildlife and birds. And birdwatchers and naturalists may still find ample opportunities to view incredible and unique species throughout the area.
Spring is Springing and we are looking forward to another excellent year of some of the best birding and nature experiences in the US.
Chef Donna Londot will join us again for a fabulous Italian Cooking Class and Dinner on Saturday, March 24. Be sure to join us for another fun filled gourmet event.
Crostoni ai funghi (Mushrooms crostini)
Lasagne di magro (vegetarian lasagne)
Filetto di maiale in crosta (Pork tenderloin in bread case)
Fagiolini in bandiera (Three-coloured green beans)
Delizia al cioccolato (Chocolate delight)
Notes: The Cooking Class will start at 4:00 pm and Dinner will be served at about 7:00 pm.
RECOMMENDED WINES: Bring your own wine: Sauvignon Blanc, Pino Grigio or a light red such as an Oregon Pinot Noir or Italian Valpolicella
Chef Donna Londot will conduct this edition of the Casa de San Pedro cooking classes on Saturday, February 25. Donna has just returned from Italy where she was able to study with Italian chefs, and thus this memorable Italian menu:
Saturday, February 25: Italian Dinner with Chef Donna Londot:
Pere al formagio (Pear Stuffed with Cheese)
Risotto alla Milanese (Arborio Rice with Mushrooms)
Piselli all lattuga (Peas and Lettuce)
Call now for reservations for the cooking class or just to join this fun and festive evening’s dinner at the Casa!
The San Pedro River, a narrow green oasis rippling through desert grassland, is one of the last wild rivers in the Southwest and one of the most endangered. These 3-hour guided walks, guided by the Southeast Arizona Bird Observatory, through desert grassland and among towering cottonwood trees will introduce you to the birds and other wildlife that make their homes in the sanctuary of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. River Walks depart from our back gate.
- Tuesday Walks: March 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15 and 22.
- Friday Walks: March 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, and 18.
We will celebrate Valentine’s Day weekend with a Romantic Dinner on Saturday, February 11. Our French/Swiss chef, Gratien Torrione will prepare a special romantic dinner to help you fete your Valentine to a great weekend and romantic dinner at the Casa. A minimum two night stay is required. ($45 per person including tax and gratuity). Bring your own wine (recommended wines include a nice Champaigne, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir). The menu:
- Avocat aux crevettes Calypso (Avocado filled with boiled shelled prawns in mayonnaise, tomato, Brandy and lemon sauce, heart-shaped beets in olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
- Filet mignon de porc en croûte (Puff pastry and bacon wrapped pork tenderloin)
- with a Cognac marinated fig, apricot and raisin sauce
- Red Potatoes Gratin Savoyard
- Olive oil sautéed Brussels sprouts
- Fantaisie de framboises au chocolat noir (Raspberry jelly on dark chocolate, Rasperry chips, Blackberry, Blueberries, Strawberry and white chocolate mousse)
Join Casa de San Pedro’s French/Swiss chef, Gratien Torrione for a fun filled hands on cullinary experience with a gourmet cooking class. Cooking classes will be held on Saturday evenings at Casa de San Pedro on the following dates:
Also a special Valentine’s Day Romantic Dinner (without the cooking class) will be held on February 11.
The cooking classes are a great opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of the Casa, savor a great dinner (you don’t have to do the cooking class part), and even have fun helping to reare the dinner while learning new techniques and recipes.
We wish you a happy and prosperous New Year! Join Casa de San Pedro for a getaway during 2012 – for world class bird watching, hiking, biking, family reunions, or just for a romantic and relaxing escape ! Enjoy the beauty of our San Pedro River hideaway – get back to nature and let the peace and tranquility of this unique and comfortable Inn surround and soothe your psyche. Of course our wonderful breakfasts and afternoon pies are the perfect way to satisfy your palate, while we afford you the luxury of warm and friendly hospality. Enjoy adventure at the level that you want to experience it – tour old west heritage sites, visit the many art galleries and museums in the area, hike through stunning trails that are seldom frequented by others, and find the elusive bird that you have sought to enjoy.