Monthly Archives: February 2010

Catalina State park bird walk, Tucson, AZ

Howdee all,

Every Friday when camped at Catalina State Park we go on the morning bird walk led by a volunteer.

We started off our last bird walk with a pair of Coopers Hawks..

male with his back to us..bird walk catalina state park_002 Female on the opposite side of the path..

bird walk catalina state park_003Some of the birders are locals, snowbirds or campers..

bird walk catalina state park_006 Red-naped sapsucker

bird walk catalina state park_009 bird walk catalina state park_008Distant Western bluebird viewsbird walk catalina state park_015

bird walk catalina state park_020 Beautiful mountain views ..

bird walk catalina state park_022 I will miss our bird walks here..

bird walk catalina state park_026

A common bird in Catalina..


bird walk catalina state park_034We were so lucky to see this Western Screech owl warming up in the morning sunbird walk catalina state park_042

  Distant views of Loggerhead shrikebird walk catalina state park_048 My favorite bird of the day recently arrived from the south..

He is my spark bird..

Six years ago today, when in Catalina state park..

bird walk catalina state park_051

I saw this red beauty..

He sparked my interest in birding…


Mr. Vermillion Flycatcher

bird walk catalina state park_072


Florida Wash,AZ Rufous-capped warbler

Howdee all,

This past Wednesday, Jeff, Kathie from Sycamore Canyon blog, and I went in search of the Rufous-capped warbler.

A rare visitor to Arizona..from about the bird here

Jeff had GPS coordinates and a some brief directions..

The GPS coordinates took us to us to a work station off the Florida Wash.

Florida Wash _008

Jeff’s directions said we were to look for a dam..and a tree above the dam. I headed downstream to where we crossed a small bridge over the wash.

Was this where they meant?

It wasn’t a dam.Florida Wash _010

We decided this wasn’t the area and went back to the parking area and started following a trail that crossed the water filled wash.

Florida Wash _014  Luckily, while on the trail, we met a photographer on his way back to the parking area.

He was out trying to get photos of the bird..he wasn’t able to find it, he said he had been three times previously with no luck,

Florida Wash _018

He did give us detailed directions to follow to the dam. Also the time of day the warbler was previously spotted 11am and 3pm.Florida Wash _024It was around 9:30, so we thought we may have a chance… Florida Wash _028 So we thanked him and went on our way..gaining a bit in elevation..Florida Wash _034 Then to the dam…and the burnt sycamore above the dam.

Florida Wash _036 We looked around the wash for the bird…

We were told it would be down low in the reeds…Florida Wash _037…it was very quiet..…no birds..

Jeff went further up the wash…

Kathie and I stayed behind to hang out and wait …

Florida Wash _038 No birds ..

but always something of interest..

Cactus growing on rock… Florida Wash _040 Spiders…

Florida Wash _043

  Kathie and I then heard a bird calling..close to the Sycamore tree..

We located a Canyon wren..and since we saw no other birds..focused our attention on it..

It was around 11am…

I happened to turn to my right…Florida Wash _039And out pops this little critter…

I was so excited…

I called Kathie as softly as my excitement would allow me..tee hee..

She started clicking away with her Camera..

check out her photos here….

also check out this photo I found on flickr Florida Wash _052 (Large) (2) I took these photos after I calmed down..

and realized the bird was sticking around for a bit..  

There was another couple upstream looking for the bird as well and I motioned to them…

Still no Jeff….Florida Wash _053We had awesome looks!

…the warbler was working its way upstream..  Florida Wash _057 (Large)Luckily, Jeff was on his way back to the area..and he was able to see the warbler

We followed the bird further upstream until it was difficult to follow any further..     Florida Wash _060We were all thrilled… We saw our target bird..and it was beautiful!

A life bird for all three of us!

Florida Wash _116Happy and Hungry we headed back to the car..Florida Wash _117

Another great day of birding!

Cienega Creek, Tucson, Az

Howdee all,


Last week we met up with Kathie of Sycamore Canyon blog do some more birding..

This time Kathie took us to Cienega Creek Preserve.

Read Kathies Post of our Day…its so delightful..and she makes you feel like you are there with her..I know..because I was.

She makes an awesome German Pancake with apples..I am dreaming about it now.

After Kathies wonderful breakfast she takes us to the Preserve..

cienaga birding with Kathie_004   First to an overlook..for a glimpse into the creek area…See the tall trees..

That is where we will hike to..cienaga birding with Kathie_002  To the trail headcienaga birding with Kathie_007 We hike toward the tree tops..

cienaga birding with Kathie_010  The trees are in a wash…cienaga birding with Kathie_012  Almost there…the tops of the trees and views of the wash..

cienaga birding with Kathie_015  Going into the wash..cienaga birding with Kathie_016It was very quiet as far as birds…

cienaga birding with Kathie_017 We find water…and I find a Rock Face…

Do you see the face?

cienaga birding with Kathie_018 Two big eyes and a nose..melting into the landscape..

The creek runs right in front of the face..

cienaga birding with Kathie_020

As we follow the creek we see lushness

cienaga birding with Kathie_023 Bright greens line the creek…

cienaga birding with Kathie_024 This weed looks like watercress to me..but i wasn’t sure..

cienaga birding with Kathie_025We hike as far as possible in this lush oasis..

We spy a few Lesser Goldfinch..but..where are the other birds?cienaga birding with Kathie_027

We decide to follow the creek in the opposite direction..hoping to find the source of the springs.

cienaga birding with Kathie_029  We see just a few birds here…Why no birds?

cienaga birding with Kathie_030 We find the area where the water starts flowing from underground..making this sweet little creek.cienaga birding with Kathie_035 Just beyond a Black Pheobe…chirpscienaga birding with Kathie_036


Onward we walk thru the wash…trees clinging to the water cut bank.

cienaga birding with Kathie_038 Finally we hear birds…lots of birds..hundreds of birds..Up high in these tall trees…

These trees are blooming…and the birds are finding food up high in them..

Flocks of Robins, Lesser Goldfinch, Yellowrump warblers, Gilded flickers, Gila Woodpeckers and more…most were hard to see as they flitted around the top of the tall tree.

Wcienaga birding with Kathie_040We spent some time looking at the birds..then hiked out and left Cienega springs…


Oasis in the Desertcienaga birding with Kathie_042After a nice lunch nearby..

Kathie took us to see this Great horned Owl nest…

See the hole in the bank off the side of the road?

We stayed in the car…cienaga birding with Kathie_044 So as not to disturb this beautiful bird…cienaga birding with Kathie_045 We had a wonderful time…

Thanks Kathie and Gus for your warm hospitality!

Lets go birding again.

Mt Wassen hike, Tucson,AZ

Howdee all,

Last week, while still camped at Gilbert Ray, we hiked to the top of Mt. Wassen.

We started at the Kings Canyon Trailhead, which is on the right, just beyond the Sonoran Desert Museum.

Distance Round Trip
7 miles

Trailhead Elevation
2850 feet

Elevation Gain
1785 feet

Avg Time Round Trip
5 – 6 hours

Mt. Wassen hike_001

   We didn’t intend to hike to the peak since we will be doing a sunset hike there this week.

So we started our hike thru the wash..listening for birds.Mt. Wassen hike_002


Wrens, Gila woodpeckers, Curve bill thrashers, Black throated sparrows were the predominate birds.

Mt. Wassen hike_003A spider web sparkling in the morning sun

Mt. Wassen hike_005

Hiking the wash..…Mt. Wassen hike_015Cactus nestled into a rock creviceMt. Wassen hike_016Saguaro Cactus forestMt. Wassen hike_017Barrel type Cactus growing out of Rock..

How the heck do they do that?Mt. Wassen hike_018As we approach this dryed up water fall area..we see small seeps of water..

where a lone Junco goes to sip..Mt. Wassen hike_023       We find Petroglyphs

Mt. Wassen hike_028Mt. Wassen hike_031

And this Jasmine scented plant in the same area.Mt. Wassen hike_032Mt. Wassen hike_034Another Cactus growing out of Petroglyph rockMt. Wassen hike_037A Costas hummingbird hangs out nearbyMt. Wassen hike_042     The view behind us…

Mt. Wassen hike_052

As we climb higherMt. Wassen hike_058And higher..Mt. Wassen hike_061

and finally in front of us the path looks as though its at a peak…maybe we will see Tucson views from there.Mt. Wassen hike_064And we do…

Tucson from the crest of the trailMt. Wassen hike_067   From here we decided to take a different trail back …and since it pasts the short trail to Wassen Peak.

We went to the Peak..

for more Tucson Views

Mt. Wassen hike_075And views to the WestMt. Wassen hike_076 We hike down another trail..Mt. Wassen hike_077passing lichen covered rock

We watch White throated swifts fly around us…Mt. Wassen hike_078As we take the trail back down…we see distant views of the Sonoran Desert museum.

And we dream of the Ice tea we will get there when we finish the hike..Mt. Wassen hike_086Another Barrel type cactus..growing on rock..

Mt. Wassen hike_085We see many Ladderback woodpeckers on this trail..

this ones head glistens in the afternoon sun..Mt. Wassen hike_099The final approach to the car..

and refreshments..Mt. Wassen hike_107Another beautiful Hike in Sonoran National Park West..Mt. Wassen hike_105

Sonoran Desert Museum, Birds, Animals

Howdee all,

Jeff and I have spent allot of time at the Desert Museum lately.

And I take way to many photos..

Here are a few of the many..

Cactus wrenDesert museum_015 Cardinal…much brighter that the east coast cardinal

Desert museum_511

Someone told us once that the Cardinal was a PHD bird…because it was Brilliant..

yes it is…Desert museum_516Female Cardinal…much buffier in color than the east coast birdDesert museum_018   Curve bill thrasherDesert museum_074 Curve Bill Thrasher

Desert museum_084Cactus Wren making a nest Desert museum_323

People waiting for Raptor in flight eventDesert museum_092

Featuring this Great Horned Owl

Desert museum_102

I love this Owl…Desert museum_116

Very photogenic Desert museum_226    RoadrunnerDesert museum_140  awesome Harris Hawk..Desert museum_162

And The rugged  Ferruginous HawkDesert museum_185

Desert museum_195

The do have Coyotes there

Desert museum_061

And Bear

Desert museum_287Turkey Desert museum_282

And many other Animals..whose photos I will probably get in the future..


Jeff and I enjoy going into the Hummingbird Aviary

Desert museum_334To see the hummers fly over our heads…Desert museum_355 Rufus Desert museum_376 Broad billed Desert museum_363

This Barn Owl is usually greeting guests at the entrance… sweetwater wetlands_002

If you go to Arizona..this is a must see place….

My favorite museum!

Brown Mt. Trail, Tucson, AZ

Howdee all,

While camped at Gilbert  Ray we decided to hike the Brown Mountain Trail, which was just a short walk from our campsite to the trailhead.

We were just going to hike to the top of Brown mountain..but when we saw the sign ..Desert museum 2.9 miles…well..we just had to go there as a side trip…after all it is my favorite museum ever…

brown mt hike_003 The hike starts off on flat land in the valley…lots of

Cholla Cactus…pronounced choy ya

. Another name for Cholla is Jumping Cactus, because becomes unjointed easily. If you touch a spine it is enough to detach a joint, then when you move more joints become lodged in your skin. To make matters worse, the spines are barbed and therefore difficult to remove.

brown mt hike_004

  While taking a photo I backed into one…OUCH!

brown mt hike_005

It was one of these…


brown mt hike_006

We walked thru a forest of them..I stayed as far away as possible…

brown mt hike_009

  While in the Valley we had nice Views..this is looking  west toward Kitt Peak

brown mt hike_010

  Rocky..cactus lined pathways

brown mt hike_011

  As we climb one of three small mountains we have distant views of the Desert Museum

brown mt hike_015

Teddy bear cholla…

don’t think you would want to take this one to bed..

check out the distant Saguaros on the Valley floor…brown mt hike_017

  Barrel Cactus growing out of the rock

brown mt hike_021

  The trail from where we came…..

brown mt hike_022

   Getting closer to the Desert Museum

brown mt hike_026 and closer………

brown mt hike_028Views to the west…brown mt hike_029

And just as Jeff and I head to enter the Desert museum..

We see this fella headed out with three of his buddies..

Wow!..Cousin Mike ..visiting Tucson from Connecticut….

What a pleasant surprise.

desert museum_001 (Large)

Saguaro Love…

Howdee all.

I love these Desert Trees…

All so unique…

Gilbert ray camp_010

    They don’t provide shade Gilbert ray camp_014

They do provide homes..for woodpeckers and other birds

Gilbert ray camp_012

And…well..I just have some Saguaro Love…Gilbert ray camp_042I have fun imagining…

what they are saying…doing..who they might be…Gilbert ray camp_047  We saw a video at Saguaro National Park Gilbert ray camp_044Some native Americans felt the Saguaros were their dead ancestors.. Gilbert ray camp_016

Some of the Bark of the older ones have scars and different colorsDesert museum_502

    I imagine the Saguaro to be people…animals…etc..I have saved a few photos…Desert museum_536 To show you what I mean…but ..not in this post…Desert museum_533 I will just show how awesome they are in the landscape…Desert museum_520 A Forest of SaguaroDesert museum_522 This is our backyard at Gilbert Ray Campground…Gilbert ray camp_048

Evening among the Saguaro…

Cocktail hour with friends…Gilbert ray camp_064

As we say goodnight…

Desert museum_539To the Saguaro… Gilbert ray camp_061

Gilbert ray camp_063

Sweetwater Wetlands, Tucson

Howdee all,

A few days ago Jeff and I decided to check out the water treatment Tucson.

Sweetwater Wetlands..

We have been doing some birding around Tucson…we see birds..but..Wow..

this place was hoppin with birds…

Upon entering the area there is the little waterway below…

There were birds flying all around the area ….

sweetwater wetlands_006We were excited..

Black Pheobesweetwater wetlands_004 The areas we have been birding were much slower

sweetwater wetlands_007

Because of year round water here…More birds…

Orange crowned warblersweetwater wetlands_012 The water was still and reflective…

sweetwater wetlands_035

So i had fun playing around with the reflections..sweetwater wetlands_062 Verdin..notice the orangey bit on the wing

sweetwater wetlands_041Cinnamon Tealsweetwater wetlands_044Here’s my fun with Reflections…sweetwater wetlands_065

sweetwater wetlands_066

sweetwater wetlands_069I love this one….with the cool swirls of color… 

Northern Shovelersweetwater wetlands_071Common moorhen sweetwater wetlands_096

We weren’t here long, as we had other commitments..sweetwater wetlands_101We enjoyed every minute here..

American Coot..sweetwater wetlands_111 This bridge leads to a viewing area…

sweetwater wetlands_113Pie-billed Grebesweetwater wetlands_115Black throated Gray Warbler..a real treat!sweetwater wetlands_132 Ducks flying in the distance…

sweetwater wetlands_177

Harris of two we saw here..sweetwater wetlands_182Eurasian collared dovesweetwater wetlands_183Least Sandpipersweetwater wetlands_198Yellow Warblersweetwater wetlands_194

Yellow warbler…off catching bugs…sweetwater wetlands_195

We will be back…and spend more time…

Great Place to Bird

Sonoran Desert Museum..more Birds

Howdee all,

Jeff and I go to the Desert Museum most every day now that we are camped close by..

We became members…We arrive when the Museum opens at eight thirty and go on the Bird walk..we always grab our free coffee to warm us up..

Thought i would show you a few more birds..

Spotted Towhee..a pleasant surprise.

spotted towhee Cactus Wren..a very common bird at the museum


  Gila is home..also very common hereDESERT MUSEum_013

Morning Dove…yes plenty of these here.


Isn’t it lovely…nice dots.. DESERT MUSEum_007 Black throated sparrow..less common..but seen quite a bit here…

DESERT MUSEum_015one of my favorites here.. DESERT MUSEum_016  Ferruginous Hawk at Raptor free flight DESERT MUSEum_033 Barn Owl at Raptor Free flight

DESERT MUSEum_087 And a Lilac crowned Parrot..from the Mexican Sonoran captivity here at the museum.


Today Jeff and I are going for a hike to Brown Mountain..

We hear the rattlesnakes are out..

Yikes..I will be looking at the ground allot.

Birding with Kathie from Sycamore Canyon

Howdee all,

Last week while still at Catalina State park..

Jeff and I had the pleasure of birding with Kathie…from Sycamore Canyon Blog.

Kathie has contagious enthusiasm and a great knowledge of birds..Catalina and birding with Kathie_056

   And a fantastic blog…

  You must go to her blog and read her account of the day..Catalina and birding with Kathie_044

Do you see Kathie’s lens on her camera?

She can get awesome close ups of birds..

Catalina and birding with Kathie_050

This one is ok from my big Canon..non DSLR.. not the same quality Catalina and birding with Kathie_046

So you must go see her Birdie photos..

oh..and yours truly and Jeff are in photos too…Catalina and birding with Kathie_039I had a very hard time chasing the birds to get photos..

So..hee hee..I found a few birds at the feeders on our way back..


Catalina and birding with Kathie_019Green tailed towhee..fuzzy wuzzy..Catalina and birding with Kathie_015Canyon Towhee…Catalina and birding with Kathie_012Anyway…you must go to Kathie’s blog and see the list of birds for the day..

She is very detail oriented….which is something i am not…

She uses ebird…after each bird outing..which is something we should all do…me I am hoping a bit of her attention to detail has rubbed of on me..

So far it hasn’t…I am still lazy when it comes to counting the birds…

I think we need another bird outing together Kathie..what ya say?