Sunday, November 16, 2014

Madera in the Morning

For the bird watchers out there this is an excellent time to head to Madera Canyon. There is strong stream flow and lots of fall colors as well lots of song birds flitting in the trees along the stream. We spotted a Painted Redstart, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and a Townsend's Warbler all at different locations along the stream. We came to walk and I in particular came to take some landscape photographs. Even though I wasn't expecting much for color I was pleasantly surprised. We stayed in the lower canyon during our visit hoping to get a look at a few deer or maybe Javelina which we have seen on many visits but it was not to be on this day. The weather however was perfect, the air was refreshing and we had arrived early enough that the canyon was not yet over crowded as it sometimes can get when it's this nice on a week-end day.

Read about the Painted Redstart here:
                         Ruby-crowned Kinglet here:
                         Townsend's Warbler Here:

I have always been fascinated by riparian areas and especially the magnificent trees that manage to grow to incredible size like the Arizona Sycamore. Madera Creek does not flow year round and is dependent on snow melt, monsoon and winter rains that all vary from year to year. We have visited when the creek bed was completely dry and when it was flowing quite strongly. Here is information put together by The Friends of Madera Canyon that you will find very helpful. 

   Madera Creek

 Sycamore Leaves

Learn about bats and bat houses here:

Bat Houses by Friends of Madera Canyon

I never tire of visiting Madera but I especially like to go very early in the morning because I only have to share it with one or two others and frankly I tend to see more wildlife. It's also very quiet at that time and while I have had some very interesting conversations with visitors over the years a little solitude once in a while is good for the spirit.
Learn more about the Arizona Sycamore here:

View out towards Baboquivari and the Quinlan Mountains

Elephant Rock

We saw a flock of a dozen Wild Turkey once on the way in and again on the way back out. Read about the Wild Turkey here:

Wild Turkey

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tucson Mountain Park

Golden Gate Mountain

The other day I was returning from the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum's Ironwood Gallery which is located within the confines of Tucson Mountain Park and I decided to stop along the way and take a few photos of the mountains. It was around 4:30 in the afternoon and the light had a nice golden color and was already fairly low in the sky producing some very nice long shadows. Golden Gate is in the Tucson Mountain Range and is part of the 20,000 acres that make up TMP which includes 62 miles of trails open to hikers, horseback riders and mountain bike riders. TMP is the largest natural resource area owned and managed by a local government in the United States.

I live just outside the park boundary and have a nice view of Golden Gate from the house and I often marvel at how different the mountain looks from my side. There is a trail that leads from my house through the saddle to Gates Pass that is a good hike with some pretty fantastic views back towards Tucson and once you get the Gates Pass you can see expansive views of TMP. Trail maps can be found on Kinney Road and at Gates Pass overlook. Great place to hike this time of year.