Monday, April 22, 2013

Mysteries and Marvels at two Parks

Yesterday, my buddy Sue and I went birding at Catalina State Park, a nearby mountain Park with a lovely, short birding trail.

CSP Vista 4-21-2013 8-55-41 AM 3616x2712

We saw (and heard) lots of birds, though couldn’t identify all of them. The biggest mystery was the almost frantic, constant song of either a mockingbird or a curve-billed thrasher. It sounded much like the thrasher I wrote about in an earlier post. We never did see the bird that was singing, though saw a thrasher fairly nearby.

We solved two other mysteries involving birdsong through judicious use of the iBird app, which I intend to write about in the future. It helped us identify a brown-crested flycatcher and helped confirm the song of the yelllow-rumped warbler.

Here are two of the beautiful wildflowers we saw at the state park, desert dandelion and Mariposa lily:

Desert Dandelions 4-21-2013 9-36-45 AM 1951x2671Mariposa Lily 4-21-2013 8-53-17 AM 1502x2134

Today Sue and I roved at Tohono Chul Park. It was hot—mid-eighties going up to low nineties, but it was a fabulous day. In addition to the marvels of the year’s first trichocereus blooms:

Yellow tricho 4-22-2013 9-16-49 AM 1318x1453 Pink tricho 4-22-2013 9-05-32 AM 3616x2712

The passionflowers Passion flower vine 4-22-2013 10-05-32 AM 1623x1643 were also beginning to open, and while squiring a bunch of preschoolers through the riparian area we saw a beautiful kingsnake:

wild kingsnake 4-22-2013 10-29-42 AM 3616x2712

(The preschoolers were awed.)

Finally, perhaps the highlight of a wonderful day, we saw another Bell’s Vireo nest, this one in an olive tree near the center of the Park. I believe the bird I photographed is adding some finishing touches to the inside before moving in:

Bell's vireo nest in olive tree 4-22-2013 9-55-32 AM 3616x2712


  1. Extra cool. Maybe the vireo is feeding a baby bird.

    1. I think the nest is too new for babies, and I saw fluff in her beak, but maybe!

  2. Anonymous8:05 AM

    Very nice shots of the vireo and the king snake. It is a special time to be in the desert. Sue

    1. Thank you. I am pleased with the way they came out.