We’re getting settled here at our spot for the season. We’re about 20 minutes from shopping and US 10 in one direction and 20 minutes from the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum in the other. Here’s a southeast view from our yard, taken one afternoon after a rain shower.
This is the view to the east, that same afternoon.
Another day, these thunderheads passes us to the north. This view is taken a short walk down the road beside the property. The other houses are mostly hidden by the vegetation.
We went for a short hike from the Signal Hill picnic site in the Saguaro National Park to some petroglyphs. The ridge on the left side in the background is the same one we look at from our patio. (That was also in the previous photos.)
This blooming barrel cactus was close to where the last photo was taken. The mountains in the background are east of the flat Avra Valley.
We visit the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum frequently. We bought an annual pass so we get our exercise walking on the trails in the early morning, before it gets too hot.
Here’s Doug on the Desert Loop, a gravel trail that’s a little under a kilometre long. (The rest of the park is paved.) We’ve worked our way up to briskly walking five “laps” with short pauses to look at coyotes or javelinas that are in enclosures along the trail. (And of course, birds)
One day it was raining hard enough to need an umbrella, but it was still warm enough for shorts.
After our walk, we usually spend some time at one or two of the exhibits. We’ve visited the cactus garden a number of times. These fuzzy cacti are called Woolly Jacket Prickly Pear.
The museum has a large hummingbird aviary. Here’s a photo of a Broad-billed hummingbird. The hummingbirds will nest and raise their family in the aviary. Once the young are independent, the museum will find them another home at a different zoo or botanical garden.
Here’s a male Costa’s hummingbird taken inside the aviary. The hummingbirds are conditioned to having people around and will allow you to get quite close. We also often see “wild” Costa’s hummingbirds in the gardens outside the aviary, but they tend to move quickly from bloom to bloom.
On one visit Doug took his camera with the long lens, and got a good photo of a Cactus wren on an Organ Pipe cactus.
There was a cute sparrow just below the same cactus. When we looked closely at the photo we realized it was a Rufous-winged sparrow. That small patch of red on its shoulder is one of its distinguishing features. The rufous-winged sparrow is only found in the northwest part of Mexico and in a small section of southern Arizona.
We also became members of another botanical garden about a half an hour east of us. Tohono Chul has been reviewed as one of the ten great botanical gardens of the world. Although you can sometimes hear the traffic noise of the busy intersection, it has a peaceful atmosphere.
There are statues throughout the park, as well as an art gallery.
There are large stands of trees and benches everywhere.
Here’s a blooming barrel cactus in one of their gardens.
They also sell plants. Here’s a view of their cactus greenhouse.
Tohono Chul advertises themselves with: Where nature, art and culture connect. We’re looking forward to attending their free Sunday afternoon concerts
This post describes the places that we are going to visit over and over again while we’re here in the Tucson area. Next post will be about our birding trip to Madera Canyon, likely the first of many.