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