Monday, December 23, 2013

Pre-Christmas Rove with Diamonds and Birds

I have written frequently about Roving, which is among my favorite things to do as a Tohono Chul Park docent. Now that it’s winter, we have very chilly mornings, warming quickly to lovely cool and clear sunny days.

Good morning, pre-Christmas 4-22-2013 12-00-09 PM 4596x2547

This morning it was actually cold—in the high thirties when we started--so my roving buddy and I went for a brisk walk on the Desert View Trail to warm up. It was so incredibly beautiful, I wish everyone reading this could have been with us. The air was so crisp and fresh! And all the plants, especially the creosote, held droplets of dew that sparkled like diamonds. These photos will only give you a pale inkling of how beautiful it was in real life.

Sparkles 2 4-27-2013 1-13-53 PM 1102x1509Sparkles 3 4-27-2013 1-13-16 PM 1355x2194

Along the trail, and later in the Park we saw lots and lots of birds, all of whom seemed to be enjoying the beautiful morning too as they warmed themselves by basking or chasing each other. We saw a few rarities, and got great looks at some of the more common birds, like this Abert’s Towhee, which was hanging out by a finch feeder.

Abert's Towhee cold day 4-27-2013 2-11-16 PM 2705x2135

Here is a list of the 21 species of birds we saw either in the Park or over it: Harris’ hawk; red-tailed hawk; lesser goldfinch; house finch; phainopepla, verdin, Costa’s hummingbird; cactus wren; Gila woodpecker; northern mockingbird; cardinal; curve-billed thrasher; Gambel’s quail; Abert’s towhee; rock wren; house sparrow; hermit thrush; spotted towhee; and Anna’s hummingbird. There are many other birds that are usually in the Park that we didn’t see.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Palm Canyon in the Park

It has been a long time since I’ve blogged here; I’ve been busy with docent class at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. I’ve also continued my docent activities at Tohono Chul Park. In the future I will be blogging about both places, as well as local and far-flung birding venues.

It is winter in the desert now. We have had two light freezes, but for the most part the temperatures have been warm during the day—in the sixties and seventies. The weather service is predicting the possibility of record-breaking temps next week in the eighties! At night it’s usually in the forties but warms up quickly when the sun comes up.

I mentioned in an earlier post that Tohono Chul is changing the entrance to feature plantings from a Palm Canyon, a habitat in the Baja portion of the Sonoran Desert. They have finished and it looks great.

Palm Path 3-2-2013 2-58-34 PM 4608x3456

Palms Euc Lomaki 3-2-2013 2-59-49 PM 4608x3456

Palm stream W 3-2-2013 3-00-17 PM 4608x3456

Palms from Lomaki 3-2-2013 3-01-36 PM 4608x3456

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