Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tucson, AZ (2/10/2017)

In all my previous visits to Tucson, I stayed in campgrounds outside of town, which is to say in the desert.  This time, with plans to go to attractions both east and west of town, I decided to try an RV park located in a more central area.  This has been a good move, despite the traffic noise and sirens that can be heard at night.  When I had a chance to meet up with friends Bob and Susan, who were passing through town toward the area where I had been several weeks ago, it was a convenient location.  A nearby mall, right on their intended route, was close by for me and afforded them easy parking for their travel trailer, as well as a Cheesecake Factory we all enjoyed.  It's always fun and interesting to get together with friends while traveling, and it happens more than you might think.

One of the first things I did upon arrival in Tucson was use Google to search for good birding locations.  One that proved to be excellent is called Sweetwater Wetlands Park, where several large ponds serve as the final stage of re-claiming water for use in irrigation systems.  Such places have been created all over south Florida and always attract many birds.  Sweetwater also turned out to be really good, although the ponds were mostly filled with reeds, such as cattails.  This obviously provides a great environment for the birds and water fowl, but makes it more difficult to spot them.  I could often hear them in the reeds, but not be able to see them.  In the end, I decided it was better to protect the birds, so I accepted the challenge presented by the plant life and managed to get some good sightings and photos.
Cinnamon Teal

Pied-bill Grebe

Gila Woodpecker
Song Sparrow
Red-naped Sapsucker
Marsh Wren
Northern Shoveler
Gambel Quail (male and female)
Ruddy Duck (male)
Ruddy Duck (female)
Later I happened upon another, more conventional park with open water and not nearly so many birds.  A mother and daughter were feeding the mallards, and the mother was kind enough to allow me to photograph her young daughter.  I thought her expression combined a bit of interest with a certain amount of healthy suspicion.
Most of the water fowl at this park were similar to what I had seen earlier, but I did spot a great blue heron, safely perched on an island in the lake.

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