You just might get tired of pictures of saguaro cactus by the time I'm done with series. I don't care.
I think we spent more time chatting than birding but we did get so see some really cool things, like this roadrunner with a lizard. The backlighting was intense but I got a few shots off before it moved behind a shrub and fed the lizard to its little one. I missed the exchange thanks to said shrub but Jennie got to watch it. Then another baby popped out into the open a bit farther away and I got a few more shots. Turns out this would be the only roadrunner I saw the whole trip but I've got some good material for a new piece here.
|Roadrunner with breakfast for junior.
There were many cactus wren about and we found one gathering insects, indicating it too had young to feed.
|Cactus wren with juicy bits.
We watched where it went and found its nest in a cholla right next to the trail.
|Cactus wren nest in a cholla. The dark spot in the center is the entrance hole.
After an hour or so we went back to the parking lot and met David Amamoto, a Michigan birder whom I had met last year during my Michigan Big Year, who happened to be in Arizona birding many of the same places I was headed. He and Jennie had gone to the same Pittsburg-area school, but about 15 years apart.
We walked down to the dam, which is little more than a rock wall where Sabino Creek (the same creek that flows through Summerhaven in the Santa Catalina Mountains) flows over into a couple of shallow basins. On the way we crossed paths with a family of black-throated sparrows.
It wasn't particularly hot this day (highs forecast around 80°) but the sun was hot and I was, by now, somewhat overdressed. I got down on one knee and splashed cool mountain water on my face and wet down my hair.
|Pools along Sabino Creek
On the way back we found a few cactus in bloom.
|Pinkflower hedgehog cactus, about 8" tall and growing in the shade of another cactus
We took the obligatory selfie to commemorate the day.
I drove back to Marcy's to pick up the girls so we could head to Saguaro NP to meet our friend Martha who was driving down from Phoenix to meet us. I had time to chase a couple birds around her back yard, including lesser goldfinch, a bird I had seen previously but never photographed...
|Phainopepla. Still not great images as back-lit black
birds are super hard to shoot.
We packed a picnic lunch and made the short drive to Saguaro NP. It was a glorious day, warm but not hot, with a stiff breeze and, for the first time since arriving in Arizona, clouds.
|The inner structure of a long-dead prickly pear cactus
|Canyon Towhee, life bird #582
|Another cactus wren nest tucked into a saguaro.