Monday, August 5, 2019

Blog Backlog Catch-up: Tucson in April–May 2018

So these 19 days were the longest period I had in Tucson in 2018, though I actually had over five weeks before my next tour. See the next blog for what I did with my remaining time.

I got used to enjoying mornings in the yard and watching my garden grow. You can see that things are going nicely here. These photos are from April 23 and May 6, just 13 days apart.

The Curve-billed Thrashers were raising two young in Chain-fruit Cholla (“jumping cholla”) next to Paul and Irene’s house.
Curve-billed Thrasher

You can see how the parents made the home around the nest friendlier to the chicks by breaking off the spines.

This California Digger Bee, Anthophora californica, was gathering pollen from the native Senna covesii that volunteers in the yard.
California Digger Bee, Anthophora californica

The Desert Spiny Lizards, Sceloporus magister, are super colorful this time of year.
Desert Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus magister

One day I joined my friends Keith and Doug for a birding trip up to the agricultural wastelands of west-central Pinal County, an area that has turned up a few good vagrants.

We didn’t find anything rarer than a Cattle Egret, but it was fun looking through flocks of Western and Least Sandpipers.
Western Sandpiper and Least Sandpiper

Finally, I spent a very full morning on my own in Pima Canyon. Biking up there super early and hiking fast for the first mile or so makes for a good workout, and it’s just a few miles from where I live.

The most interesting sighting was what appeared to be Lazuli x Indigo Bunting hybrid. The odd thing was that its song sounded more like a poor attempt at a Blue Grosbeak song.
Lazuli x Indigo Bunting hybrid

I enjoyed watching a pair of Golden Eagles flying over the canyon, and they made a feigned pass at an animal on the high rocky slopes, alerting me to this Desert Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis ssp. nelsoni, part of a reintroduction program.
Desert Bighorn Sheep, Ovis canadensis ssp. nelsoni

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