Two weeks in Tucson have allowed us to savor this marvelous city with all of its nearby natural wonders. Southeast Arizona is truly a naturalist's paradise. But, alas, even here trouble looms on the horizon.
The captions of our 47 photos will tell the story.
Jon and Lynn are two sixty-something, retired, PhD ecologists seeking the wisdom from the natural world that can only come from first-hand experience with things and events. Our current arrangement is to keep a house as a home-base near Ithaca New York, where we have lived for the past 35+ years, spend summers in our trailer around New England (where Lynn's extended family resides), return to Ithaca for the fall and early winter, and depart for warmer climes after the Christmas-New Years holidays. We travel with Moxie, a Bichon Frise, in an 28 ft. Airstream trailer pulled by a Ford F-250 dies... full info
Inca DoveThis species, along with the common ground dove, are year-round inhabitants of SE Arizona. The Inca dove prefers suburban habitats.
Gambel's quailFlocks of this bird are common in shrubby desert. Males have the elaborate head plumes.
Broad-billed hummingbirdThe eastern US has a very depauperate hummingbird fauna (one species) compared with the western US. This species is one of 16 commonly seen hummingbirds west of thee Mississippi.
Gila woodpeckerThis woodpecker, relative of our eastern Red-bellied woodpecker, regularly makes nest cavities in the saguaro cactus. These cavities can later be occupied by other species, such as the pygmy owl.
Sweetwater MarshesNo birding trip is complete without a visit to a waste water treatment facility. The Sweetwater marshes are a great example of wetland reconstruction.
Sweetwater MarshesNorthern shovelers were most common during our visit, but we also saw at least 12 additional species of waterfowl. Flocks of yellow-headed blackbirds (one of Jon's favorite birds) we also present.
Harris hawksThis trio of Harris hawks is probably a family group. The Harris hawk is one of only a few hawk species that hunts cooperatively.
Cienega Creek Nature PreserveVisiting this area required a permit from Pima County. It includes extensive riparian (stream-side) habitat. In desert areas, riparian areas are critical habitat for many birds. The large patch of cottonwoods in the distance shows the location of the creek.