Thursday, November 23, 2017

Making a Move!

A new move from Blogger to Wordpress for our blog!  On Blogger posts were sorta bland.  There may have been a way to jazz things up, but being non-techy, I couldn't figure out how.  My niece recommended Wordpress from personal experience.  So, I just spent a few hours getting the blog up on Wordpress (I know, I should have taken 30 minutes!!) and I am pleased with the outcome.  It didn't go smoothly, and I may have published it three times instead of once, but hopefully the experience will go smoother with my next post!

Please go to Podding in Paradise at:  There you can sign up to follow the blog at its new address.

The next entry on the blog will be about our camping on Mt. Lemmon at Molino Basin Campground!

See you over at Wordpress!

Arizona in Bits and Pieces part 5

One way we spent time was to visit plant nurseries to see the many types of plants for home and garden that are available for the Tucson climate.  Couldn't help but take a slew of photos of unique cacti and other plants!

Love the diversity of desert plants and cacti!

Arizona in Bits and Pieces part 4

Mary Lou and Jim, our friends from the east coast, recommended that we go birding at Sweetwater Wetlands so Harriet, Michael and I set out one day to bird there.

American coot.

Michael and Harriet.

This was a fairly large wetland area and the trails did a figure-eight around the pools of water.  Good birds were seen (and heard): ruddy duck, Northern shoveler, male Northern Harrier known as a Gray Ghost due to its overall gray plumage, American coot, Abert's towhee and white-throated sparrow.  We heard what we believed was a clapper rail also. Not too birdy, but still a neat place to explore.

Next...part 5!

Arizona in Bits and Pieces part 3

We had a delightful surprise when I heard from a friend and former volunteer at Mass Audubon's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary where I was volunteer coordinator before retiring.  Mary Lou follows this blog (thanks Mary Lou!), and she and her husband were vacationing in Tucson for a week and wanted to get together.  So we met at the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area visitor center, part of the Coronado National Forest and Santa Catalina Mountains for a hike.  It was so great seeing Mary Lou and Jim!

In addition we did a hike with Harriet on another day.  This is a beautiful spot and we have only explored a small portion of it.  

This recreation area includes Sabino Canyon and Bear Canyon.  In addition to these deep canyons, the mountains soar high here. Diverse plants and wildlife call this area home, and have adapted to the desert environment and blend in with the landscape.  

There are numerous trails and we chose a flat trail leading to Sabino Dam.  Birds seen: Swainson's hawk, American kestrel, mourning dove, greater roadrunner, gila woodpecker, verdin, bushtit, cactus wren, rock wren, blue-gray gnatcatcher, Northern mockingbird, curve-billed thrasher, phainopepla, yellow-rumpled warbler, house finch, lesser goldfinch, song sparrow and house sparrow.

Our purchase!  A Guatemalan woven wall hanging!

On to part 4!


Arizona in Bits and Pieces part 2

One of the most beautiful places in Tucson is the Saguaro National Park.  Offering desert plains, mountains and foothills, one of the most interesting and unusual ecosystems in the US is Saguaro National Park. The saguaro is referred to as the "monarch of the Sonoran Desert", and is renowned as a symbol of the southwest.  Since 1933 this extraordinary giant cactus has been protected within the national park, along with other cacti, desert trees and shrubs, and animals.  It is one of the hottest and driest regions on the continent with summer temperatures over 100 degrees and less than 12" of rain in a typical year  It has an eight mile loop for driving.
My sister Harriet and I did the drive one beautiful day and it was awesome to see so many saguaro, plus other cacti species.

Cholla.  There are several species in the desert and this is either teddy bear or jumping cholla.

Ocotillo.  In spring it is covered with small red flowers.

These stately giants (saguaro) have arms reaching up, down, and sideways.

Onward to part 3! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Arizona in Bits and Pieces part 1

Today is Saturday, November 18th and we have been in Tucson, Arizona for about three weeks. We have done a lot in this time span, so instead of one Arizona epic story, I am posting several smaller stories.  Beware!  Lots of photos included.

When we arrived, we stayed in a parking lot in my sister Harriet's neighborhood.  We spent much time with Harriet and she took us around to many beautiful places.  Weather was comfortably warm with cooler nights.  Apparently, it was warm enough to set a record or two for highest November temps!  But after hot and humid Texas, the warm and dry weather here can't be beat!

We visited Agua Caliente Park in Tucson twice.  This park is 101 acres of aquatic/riparian habitat surrounded by the Sonoran Desert.  The park is thought of an oasis in the desert!  The park has a long history going back to 5500 years ago where archaic projectile points found within the park boundaries suggest the site was used by hunters and gatherers.  At times it was a Native American village as early as AD 1150 - 1250, an army encampment in the mid 1800's, an orchard and cattle ranch in the late 1800's, a hot spring resort in established in1881, various owners operated the ranch as both a cattle ranch and resort until the 1920's, and in the years that followed assorted plans and uses for this land came and went.  In 1984, a local businessman donated money toward the purchase of Agua Caliente and the county used this money to create the park which was opened in 1985.  Two buildings on the site were renovated, the Ranch House and the Rose Cottage.  In 2009, Agua Caliente Ranch Rural Historic Landscape was listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the US Department of Interior.

There are two ponds that support a variety of waterfowl and birds.  While visiting the park we saw the following birds at the pond: American wigeon, mallard, ring-necked duck and American coot.

Saguaro and prickly pear cacti.

Barrel cactus.

Odd to see tropical palms in Arizona, and this one was old!  The trunk was huge!

Prickly pear.

This was our first of two visits to Aqua Caliente, and birding was slow on our first visit.  However, on our second visit, we had quite a few good birds, including Bewick's wren, gila woodpecker, verdin, red-tailed hawk, Cooper's hawk, killdeer, white-winged and mourning doves, Anna's hummingbird, belted kingfisher, Chihuahuan and common Ravens, phainopepla, yellow-rump warbler (Audubon's), white-crowned sparrow, house finch, lesser goldfinch, house sparrow and northern flicker (red-shafted). 

Next stop (part 2), is Saguaro National Park.

Monday, October 30, 2017

New Mexico & Arizona

We reached New Mexico the other day and stayed overnight at another nice rest area.  We've been impressed with the cleanliness and atmosphere of these areas since central Texas!

Chaparral in New Mexico.

Beautiful grassland!

Roadrunner!  Large metal sculpture.

Lots of rock!

Picnic area.

Happy travelers!

Arrival in Arizona!

We love Arizona for many reasons, primarily because one of my sisters lives here. But birding and nature trails and the beauty of the scenery means a lot too. 

Right over the AZ border we settled in at the first rest stop.  Love the signage that warns of scorpions and snakes!

Rest stop surroundings.

As we continued on I 10, there was much to see in rock formations.

From a distance you can see the dust in the distance.  There are many highway signs warning about dust storms and what you should do: get off the road, turn your lights off, and foot off the brake.  We are assuming that the reason for no lights has to do with the avoidance of an accident.  If a car behind you sees lights, the driver might mistake it for a moving vehicle that they can follow.  Then the real possibility of a crash exists.

We headed into Tucson where my sister lives and before visiting Harriet, we stopped at a beautiful park called Agua Calientes.  We walked for a bit with Nevelle, but after about 5 minutes he began plopping down where ever he wanted, so we didn't make much headway!

Lots of cacti and palms.

Michael and Nevelle.

Nevelle decides it's time to rest!

Really large palms!

Prickly pear cactus.

We will be in AZ for a month or so, not only visiting with Harriet, but birding around the state.  For now, our visit has just begun and we're excited.  Will continue to share with you!