Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More Tucson Area Wildlife Watching

We are enjoying the warm days and cool nights of the Arizona desert to end last year's birding and begin this year's.  Our total for 2013 was 486 - it's a lot harder to reach 500 than we had hoped. Today is day 985 of our travels and we have seen 645 bird species for our retirement list.

Pictured are the Santa Rita Mountains about 40 miles south of Tucson with Madera Canyon nestled between the rugged peaks.  This area overwinters some very interesting birds:

Hepatic Tanager at Santa Rita Lodge

Painted Redstart at the Gift Shop feeders

Bridled Titmouse

One of the local Tucson birding areas is Reid Park with ponds and great cover for many wintering birds and the local ground squirrels.

Ring-necked Duck

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Vermilion Flycatcher

The very rare Lewis Woodpecker

Coyote calling for a photo

Fortunately, directly behind our RV Park is the Pantano Wash, an urban riparian area that serves as a wildlife corridor.  Our daily walks have produced some good finds:
Prairie Falcon - note full crop

Sage Thrasher

Anna's Hummingbirds - territorial dispute

We took a drive north to the Santa Cruz Flats - an area dominated by agricultural fields, cotton and sod farms.  We saw 42 Mountain Plovers, Mountain Bluebirds, many Crested Caracaras and raptors, Bendire's Thrasher and 5 Great Horned Owls perched in Tamarisk Trees.

As our Tucson visit winds down we have enjoyed quality time with our dear friend Patti Hancock, joining her for church, Bible study and entertaining at an Assisted Living Home.  We also watched the NFL Playoffs and dined at Tucson's favorite eateries. This was also time to take care of RV maintenance and taxes.

We watch the winter weather reports from up north on TV and don't miss it at all!
Sending you warmth, love & prayers.
Ty & Ida Baumann

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Tucson is situated in the flat desert area of Southern Arizona nestled between 4 mountain ranges ( Santa Catalinas, Tucson Mts. Santa Ritas, and the Rincons).  This is the ideal habitat for the Saguaro Cactus found in no other area of the world.

We are enjoying our 6 week visit in this desert/mountain environment visiting several local birding areas.  We found Cactus Wrens at Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon.

This Greater Pewee is a rare winter visitor finding shelter and food at the Evergreen Cemetery.  This bird had other flycatchers for company - Says Phoebe and Vermilion Flycatcher.

Cinnamon Teal
On the northwest side of Tucson is the Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve - a sewage reclamation project that is a magnet for waterfowl, shorebirds and passerines.
Eared Grebe

Northern Shoveler

Northern Pintail

Abert's Squittel

Mt. Lemmon is the highest point with a commanding view of the desert. We drove a 26 mile scenic byway to Summerhaven, from the desert floor through 5 life zones to the pine/fir forest with snow at the 9,000 foot level.

Here are some of the specialties of the area.
Canyon Wren

Pygmy Nuthatch

Stellar's Jay

Yellow-eyed Junco

Gamble's Quail make their home scurrying through the underbrush and cacti of urban backyards.

A common sight and sound in the lower mesquite is the Phainopepla.

We are staying at Far Horizons RV Park and this Verdin quickly found our hummingbird feeder.  He shares it daily with Anna's Hummingbirds, House Finches and Gila Woodpeckers.

God Bless you in the new year.
Ty & Ida Baumann