Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saguaro National Park-East

We took a ride out to Saguaro National Park on the east side of Tucson to do a little hiking and of course picture taking. The snow in the background is in the Santa Catalina Mountains where we spend many a hot summer day as it is usually a great deal cooler there than it is in the valley.
The iconic saguaro is what attracts most visitors but there is so much more to see here. There are many hiking trails and picnic areas to help you enjoy your visit.

An unusually wet winter has turned many dry washes into streams. In 4+ years here I have never seen water running like it is today at Saguaro.
Saguaro Forest.

We encountered quite a few Black Throated Sparrows at one of the picnic areas.

The Arizona state bird is the Cactus Wren which is quite entertaining to watch.
Northern Cardinal

Canyon Towhees are everywhere we go lately. I had never seen one before this year.

This Curved Billed Thrasher was quite comical.
Phainopepla's are extremely hard to get a good picture of so I am very happy with this shot. They are more abundant here than the Cardinal.
Melted snow coming down the mountain and all the recent rain is really greening the desert up quite a bit.
This Red Tailed Hawk met up with it's mate who seemed to have an injured leg which did not prevent the mating behavior seen below. They were very vocal and touched in mid air as you can see. Red Tails are also known to grab onto each other and fall spiraling downward up to 2000 feet during their mating ritual, letting go only when they get too close to the ground.

1 comment:

  1. Howdee,
    havent been to Saguaro east yet this visit..we are now on the west side..
    Think we might go out there today.
    Great photos..and the Phainopepla's photo is great..I have been trying to get a picture and it always looks solid black..yours came out great..I will keep trying! Hope to meet you in Patagonia or sooner.