Spring is in the air!

To all of our dear family & friends north of the 49th, this may seem hard to believe,  but the trees are “budding” and the birds are singing!

We stopped for 2 days in Quartzsite again to go to Cibola Wildlife Preserve – where we added a White-tailed Kite to our list!  What a gorgeous bird & one we saw & photographed many times last winter in TX!  Also added Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, though we didn’t get a photo to confirm.  It would be rare for this area, but had a great view & we played its call on the iPhone – a match!  We heard a chorus of meadowlarks singing – what a lovely sound – must be hundreds in the area.  It was such a nice day with low wind & temps around 20C.  There were Snow Geese here this time along with Ross’ & Greater White-Fronted.  Also lots of Sandhill Cranes.  Oh, they are so elegant & sound  wonderful!

crane fly-

crane stand-9938

The Ranger reported that birds are starting to move – spring is in the air!  Just look at these two:


Maybe it’s an omen because the cats settled in pretty close together the other day (which is unusual) so I photographed them with my iPhone (like my friend Sandy does!).


That’s Sasha on the left & old, blind, Tyrian on the right.  Sometimes even grumpy old Tyrian gets “in the mood” & turns over for a tummy rub (yup, spring!).


Feb. 2:  On to De Anza RV resort, located just south of Green Valley (which is south of Tucson about 45 minutes).  We needed to make a trip into a big city to do some shopping so integrated it with a visit to Saguaro National Park which is just on the west edge of town.  Just to prove we’re back in the land of the Saguaros:


We didn’t imagine we’d see anything different than we have already, but really enjoyed the drive and a few short walks.  Came upon a pair of Curve-billed Thrashers (yes, another of those many types of thrashers!!):


They were considering a nest site in a cholla cactus nearby & sat singing for us!  Oh and they really have a wonderful song – if anyone has the iBirdPro app on their phone, just listen and check it out!  Also saw Pyrrhuloxia,  several types of sparrows including Black-throated & Lark (2 beauties), & Gilded Flicker. Weather was great – what an enjoyable day!

Feb. 4:  After a day “in” for Bill to work & watch the Superbowl, we headed for Patagonia.  First walked the park at the lake where we again missed the trogon – but added many new birds – our favorite was a Canyon Wren, 2nd prettiest wren in NA, next to Cactus.  Then on to the town of Patagonia where we had lunch & visited the local people who have set up bird feeders which attract all types of hummingbirds – as well as others.  We saw all 3 towhees:  Aberta, Canyon & Green-tailed.  Here is the green tailed for your amusement:


Feb. 5:  Headed up to Madera Canyon to see the Rufous-capped Warbler (only place it is seen in NA.  We saw it last year but didn’t have a camera, so Bill lugged his huge 500 lens & camera up the dam & along the stream (several crossings) – but to no avail!  We unfortunately didn’t see it but added Black-chinned Sparrows to our list.  We will go again.  It was a lovely day for a hike anyway, so we certainly enjoyed it & got lots of exercise!

Feb. 6:  Came back to Madera, but went up the right-hand road to walk the entrance area hike & added Swainson’s Thrush.  Also stopped in the townsite to a feeding station where we saw a couple of birds we thought worth showing you.  The first is a Mexican Jay – especially for Veronica (although we sent her one last yr).  We figured everyone is sick of seeing black & brown birds!


Next is a lovely Hepatic Tanager in a green tree:


Also saw some “turkeys in the straw”:


Before heading home, we birded along the road & came upon a very exciting bird – a LIFER!  I have looked with longing at the picture of this bird in the bird book for years – Painted Redstart!  These 2 photos are merely a record – not anything Bill would publish on his DVD’s, but I just had to include them – a front view, showing a cherry red belly – and side view a little of the white flashes which show up even more when they fly.  Their little white under-eye half-ring make them look “bleary-eyed” (which they aren’t when you watch them flit madly about)!



So by now everyone knows how much we love birds.  That does not, however, prevent us from eating one every now & then:


Feb. 7:  Headed up to Mt. Lemmon – which is described as “like driving from Mexico to Canada”!  Sort of like the Palms to Pines Hwy in Calif – but we ascended to 8000 ft this time (Idyllwild is only 6000 ft).  We were assured by some ladies we saw at Madera Canyon that we would fine Yellow-eyed Juncos for sure – & we did!


And here is a scenery shot for your enjoyment.


On our way home, we stopped in east Tucson at the other half of the Saguaro Cactus National Park.  I have been looking for a “crested” saguaro, like my friend John saw & sure enough we found one (it was shown as “cristate saguaro” on the sign post).  To me it looks like a girl with curly hair waving “hi”!


Other beautiful cacti live her as well:  Barrel cactus & Prickly pear.



Feb. 8/9:  Forecast to be extremely windy – so staying in for laundry, cleaning, etc.  Also rain overnight, more wind, so 2 das “in”.  Unfortunately, the forecast is scheduled to be below zero for 4 nights in a row at -3, -3, -3, -1!!  We’re pretty close to Calgary temps – YUCK!  Oh well, we have warm clothes & once the wind dies down, the birds are still out there.

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