Sunday, April 13, 2014

Arizona is Not Just for Snowbirds

This week we learned that a world-renowned birding area is just south of Tucson and is home to thousands of different kinds of birds as they begin their Spring migration.  We figured since we may never be here again, we should take advantage of the opportunity.  The area is called Madera Canyon and its located in the Santa Rita Mountains, close to the Mexican border.

We found a Groupon for the Sonoran Desert Museum, so we made a weekend of it.  The Desert Museum is located in Tucson and was worth the trip.  Not only does it showcase the many types of plants found in the desert on its 2 acre grounds, but it has a "cave" to explore and live animal exhibits.

The cave entrance

Museum Cave

My what big bat ears you have Anna!

Examples of the many minerals and gemstones
found in the Sonoran Desert

Petrified sloth poop, but to the untrained eye, it
looks more like Wooly Mammoth poop, right Jean? :)

Lots of cactus and desert plants are in bloom right now....




And the scenery was beautiful....It was VERY hot that day (the desert is hot! Who knew?), so they have free sunscreen dispensers in the bathrooms and stations to refill your water bottles!




We saw some live animals, some as part of the museum, and some just visiting.

Prairie dogs live in the desert too!

This guy is just a visitor

Look familiar?

A Harris Hawk

No, two Harris Hawks! Cool

Bye bye Harris Hawk!  Thanks for posing for pictures!

There were lots of hummingbirds!

I took 10 photos of this one before the red showed up in the sun.  
Otherwise he looks kind of dull

A baby in the nest - not even two inches tall and about
as big a round as a 50 cent piece!  Old eagle eye spotted this one!
Good eye Noel!


This lizard reminds me of Simba, overlooking his domain

I hope to see one of these in the wild before we leave Arizona

Trivia Question:  What song mentions the "White Winged Dove"?

We spent the night at a Comfort Inn in Tucson, and the next morning got up before 6 am to head to Madera Canyon to do some bird watching.  

Heading up the trail, water packs on.

It wasn't long before we stopped to drink!

We saw lots of birds and there dozens of other people on the trails that helped us identify some of the birds we were seeing.  I guess we were really lucky to see this Elegant Trogon!  Not only had we never seen it before, Noel had never even heard of it before (and he knows everything!).  It wasn't even in our North American Bird guide.


We also saw dozens of warblers and tiny, flitting birds!  Now before you go and think, wow, she is such a good photographer, most of my pictures were like this:

Out of focus....

See that tiny bird?  No?  That's because its already gone!  I have a
lot of these shots!  Those little suckers are fast!

Or lots of butt shots.  I swear they wouldn't turn around on purpose!

Someone told us this is a Red Start.  It doesn't look like the ones
in our book, so not sure what it is.

A thrush

Click on pics to make them bigger.  This is a pretty warbler of some type


I liked the Mexican Blue Jays.  They are big and practically posed while I tried to find them in the viewfinder, zoom in, focus and then shoot.



We saw people taking pictures of something on the ground.  It was a Gila Monster!  A big fat one!



After our morning hike, we drove to Tubac, Arizona for some lunch and some art browsing.  Tubac is a cute little historic mining town with a large artist community.  Because it is so close to the border with Mexico, there is a large influence of Mexican art as well, which is so colorful!


Now that's a bird I can photograph!

I bought some Chili Chocolate Honey Caramel.  OMG!  You must try it!

So colorful


Hey!  Who's THAT guy?


So today is laundry, rest, read and make jewelry day!  Enjoy your week!


4 comments:

Jeanine Hufford said...

Madera Canyon looked like a Don't Miss location outside of Tuscon. The birds were wonderful and of course there were a few I had never seen before. Thanks for you patience in snapping photos for those of us in Ohio who feel like winter will NEVER end. Snow expected again this week. Fortunately warm weather this weekend and sunshine has made it feel like spring this weekend. Keep the posts coming!!

Jeanine Hufford said...

Madera Canyon looked like a Don't Miss location outside of Tuscon. The birds were wonderful and of course there were a few I had never seen before. Thanks for you patience in snapping photos for those of us in Ohio who feel like winter will NEVER end. Snow expected again this week. Fortunately warm weather this weekend and sunshine has made it feel like spring this weekend. Keep the posts coming!!

Anonymous said...

Sue Smith was right. It's a painted redstart.

http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Painted_Redstart/id

You're lucky you saw one! Their range is really small.

Judith

b and bb cole said...

WOW... even though you have tons of photos that have nothing in them, you really do get some great shots. The birds are amazing! Y'all have seen such cool places I just love reading this. You look really cute with those ears too hahaaa.
Loved this blog post! XO