Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tucson Desert Museum, AZ (2/14/2017)

One of my favorite places in Tucson is the Sonoran Desert Museum, in reality a combination zoo, botanical garden, aviary, art gallery and museum.  What a treasure for the city, both for tourists and locals.  School kids make field trips here frequently and there's no better way to educate them with respect to nature's miracles.  It's a great place for photographers, too, with such a diversity of subjects near to hand and happy to pose.

I didn't spend much time with the mammals, but did want to see the black bear and mountain lion, both added since my last visit.

The raptor demonstration was conducted while I was there, with the great horned owl winning the prize as "most photogenic".

The cactus gardens always interest me.  They put so many different species into a small space, so one can see a lot with a minimum of walking.

There are two aviaries, one strictly for hummingbirds and one for everything else.  Naturally, I spent a lot of time in both of them.

The male phainopepla (black) is joined by his mate (gray).  I really like these birds with their red eyes.

The family of Montezuma quail stayed hidden in the bushes, obviously camera shy.  Dad finally ventured out, but never let me see his face.
The western tanager and black-headed grosbeak were much more cooperative.
 It was especially fun to watch a pair of cactus wrens building a nest.  I first noticed them running around with materials in their beaks, approaching me then backing away.  It was clear they wanted to get to the large cholla next to where I was standing.  I moved away and readied the camera.  When they started taking material into their nest construction site, I was able to get photos.  You'll see how completely hidden their nest is, protected by the spines of the cholla.

 I would definitely recommend the Sonoran Desert Museum to anyone visiting the Tucson area.


  1. Great bird shots Stan... we enjoyed the hummingbird aviary so much on our visits to Tucson.

    1. Thanks, Dave. Glad you have been to the Desert Museum, it's your kind of place.