Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Signs of Spring in the Canyon

For those of you who are wondering how long this cold weather will last there are clear signs that spring is here in Sabino Canyon. The creek is flowing moderately well from snow melt on Mt Lemmon and the trees are turning that pale green that I look for as a sure sign that the worst of winter is behind us. I saw a few butterflies, mostly the tiny blue ones and although it was chilly when we started our walk from the last shuttle stop it soon became warm enough to shed our coats for our trek out of the canyon.

March will be the beginning of the hummingbird annual push northward. Black-chinned Hummingbirds show up in Arizona in March thru May and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are likely to be seen in March or early April. Here in Tucson I have had Costa's and Black-chinned all winter and have even seen a Magnificent at my feeder a couple of times this year. There are over a dozen different hummingbirds that can be seen in this area so if you are a serious fan of the little guys it's a great place to be in springtime. At the tail end of the fall migration I was visited by a pair of Rufous Hummers and hopefully I will get to see them on their way up the California coast.
This is a great time to do a little birding here in southern Arizona as some of the winter birds are still here and migrating species are about to pass through and nest builders  are starting to return. What could be better. The hardest part at this point is deciding where to go when. There are so many great places like Sierra Vista which is the hummingbird capital of the USA and has such great spots as San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and Ramsey Canyon to name a couple. A little further down the road is Whitewater Draw Conservation Area which is famous for it's annual visits by thousands of Sandhill Cranes. Arivaca is another great wildlife location and is one of the quietest places during the week at either Arivaca Cienega or  Arivaca Creek.

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