But speaking of birdsong…. Our first morning in
One condo had several hummingbird feeders and we were able to watch many Anna’s Hummingbirds—that prompted us to head out and buy a feeder of our own to hang. (Recipe for hummer juice: 1 part sugar to 4 parts water...and do NOT add any food coloring, which is detrimental to their health--the birds will find it without that.) We had Broad-billed, Anna’s and even Costa’s visiting, and the tiny Verdins were also attracted to the hum-juice. And we bought a cheap $5 plastic feeder for the seed-eaters: House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches, Cactus Wrens, Gila Woodpeckers, to name a few.
One thing I learned in my travels is that if you want to find birds, but aren’t a very good birder (that’s me!), hook up with the local chapter of the Audubon Society and sign onto the state online birding email list. A few months before our trip, I joined the Arizona-New Mexico birding list, Birdwg05. By reading their discussions, rare bird alerts, field trip reports and locations, I had a leg up on planning our birding excursions. And we connected with the Tucson Audubon Society and attended many of their field trips. Their trip leaders are wonderful birders and all were eager to share their knowledge of the birds.
Our first field trip with TAS was at Sweetwater Wetlands in
Santa Rita Mountains and Elephant Head
from Madera Canyon entrance
A few days later we were on our own for our first visit to
The next day we headed to
And we continued our nature observations later at Saguaro National Park East: Gilded Flickers were a delight to see as they flashed from one cactus to another. The "forest" of cacti was an astonishing sight.
Not only the saguaros, but also fishhook barrels, Opuntias, chollas and more.
Fishhook Barrel amidst Opuntis
On Thursday, January 8th, we drove south to Kino Springs, a golf course with a catch-water pond where we found our first Vermilion Flycatchersand Say’s Phoebes. At the pond we found another Cinnamon Teal sparkling in the morning sunlight.
we returned to Saguaro National Park East for a field trip led by park volunteers.
That leads us to Saturday, January 10th, and the TAS field trip to
On to the subject of Pennsylvania Wildflowers! Charlie and I went up to the Tanbark Trail in the