Tag Archives: birding

Photo Review: Hummingbirds and their Habitat

This morning I took a break from working remotely to go for a short walk in the desert.  I was hoping to find blooming cacti to photograph, but instead it seemed like hummingbirds were following me everywhere, so I got a chance to photograph them instead.

hummingbird on ocotillo

hummingbird on ocotillo

hummingbird on ocotillo

Photo Review: Phoenix, An Active Desert

Yesterday I went for a photo hike in the desert behind Jay’s parents house.  I was amazed at how active the desert was with so many birds chirping and lizards darting around.  Soon the desert will start blooming again with beautiful bright cactus flowers, but for now spring is through song.


barrel cactus and creosote

turkey vulture in flight

Birds in Southern Arizona

We spent about two weeks in southern Arizona, an area known for bird watching.  In addition to spotting birds at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum, San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area, and Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area, we also delighted at all the birds around our campsites.  Here are some pictures featuring the birds who were willing to stay still long enough to have their portrait taken.  If you can identify a bird, please do so in the comments.  Thanks!


1. Picture taken in Tucson Mountain Park

bird on yucca

2. Cactus Wren? - Picture taken in open area of Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

bird on cholla

3. picture taken at Tucson Mountain Park


4. Juniper Titmouse, Picture taken at Tucson Mountain Park

bird on cholla

5. Picture taken at Tucson Mountain Park


6. Picture taken at Tucson Mountain Park

cactus wren

7. Cactus wren, picture taken in open area at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

bird in aviary

8. Black headed grosbeak, Taken in aviary at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

Harris Hawk on Saguaro

9. Harris Hawk perched on a Saguaro during the raptors in flight program at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum


10. Photo taken in aviary at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum


11. Kestrel in captivity at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

red and black bird

12. Vermillion Flycatcher, Photo taken at Tumacacori Mission

Pinyon Jay

13. Mexican Jay, Photo taken in Coronado National Forest near Sonoita

heron in flight

14. Heron, Photo taken at San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area


15. Photo taken at San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area


16. White crowned sparrow, Photo taken at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

sandhill cranes in flight

17. Sandhill Cranes, Photo taken at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area


18. Shoveler, Photo taken at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

ducks in flight

19. Ducks, Photo taken at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area


20. Sandpiper, Photo taken at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area

wading bird

21. Killdeer, Photo taken at Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area


22. Ladder backed woodpecker, Photo taken at Cochise Stronghold


23. Hummingbird, Photo taken in aviary at Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

Photo Diary: Our First Bike Packing Adventure

This week we had an unexpected but marvelous adventure!  For awhile now we have been talking about wanting to try bike touring or bike packing, but we weren’t sure where we could try it out that would fit our criteria: A) an easy bike ride B) a safe place to leave our car and C) a nice place to camp.  Well, when we went to visit the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area, we got to talking to the staff at the San Pedro House and they let us know that there was a primitive campsite that was accessible by biking or hiking on an easy four mile dirt road.  It only costs $2 for a back country permit.  We were sold on the idea as soon as we learned that we could leave our car in a parking lot that would be locked up over night and watched by volunteer caretakers.  Perfect!  Our first bike pack would be to the Miller Camp along the San Pedro River.


Sharon's bike packed and ready to roll!

birds on tree in san pedro conservation area

This area is special for all of the birds. As we rode along we would spook the birds filling the trees and the would take off flying over the grasslands.

miller camp

After a little confusion over whether or not we were on the right road and getting used to biking with a load, we arrived safe and sound in our primitive camp complete with outhouse and safe food storage.

miller camp

We had the whole place to ourselves and were spoiled for choice of tent locations

We toasted this new milestone with tequila shots as the sun set

We had even remembered to pack a couple of very sour limes!

These tequila shots were gifts in our Christmas stockings from Morgan and Cindi. Thanks!!

The sunset just kept getting better and was one of the most beautiful we have seen lately

I got up at sunrise like usual to take some photos, but it was so cold (at least 25 degrees) that I just went back to the tent to hide out until the sun reached our tent.

The sun was finally melting the frost and we were safe to crawl out of our tent

Jay warmed up over the stove as he heated water for coffee - (another stocking stuffer, thanks mom for the Via!)

I broke out another stocking stuffer, our hand warmers! Boy was it icy that morning.

Our camelbak hoses froze overnight, but luckily we had kept some water in the tent and the camelbaks thawed after an hour in the sun

I invented a great morning snack, warm applesauce! (Without some warming it would have been apple slushy)

Our camp was right next to the San Pedro River and we enjoyed watching some birds here before heading back. We were also told there were mountain lion tracks by the bank, but I couldn't find them.

We were only a day's bicyle ride from the Mexican border. This blimp looked down on us (and the border) and we wondered what kind of data it was collecting.

As we rode back the sky was filled with birds, including this group of hawks circling the area

We took the trail next to the river on the way back and were able to stop at two ponds to check out more birds

Like this heron

Jay's brakes squeal and kept scaring off the birds!

Ok, one more heron photo, just cause I managed to get this one of it flying (we watched it circle the whole area before landing at the other pond)

Finally, the home stretch

Back to San Pedro House

Did I mention there were a lot of birds?

Overall, the overnight bike packing adventure was a success!  We might try it again soon.


48th Week in Review: A Fresh Start

This week we enjoyed celebrating New Years and my birthday.  We also had the chance to ride at McDowell Mountain Regional Park with Jay’s dad.  Today we leave Phoenix and head back to life in motion.  We will be spending the next two weeks (approximately), exploring southern Arizona.  We look forward to visiting Tucson, Bisbee, Sierra Vista, and Tubac.  If you know someone in southern Arizona we should meet up with, let us know.  We are also interested in recommendations for free camping and for volunteer opportunities.

Product of the Week:

Video of the Week:

Hours volunteered:  5 hours, Sharon is working on a project for Fresh Start Treasures

States: 1 – Arizona: Phoenix, Chandler, Tucson

Budget: Even with some expenses this week we managed to stay under thanks to Christmas money.

People Visited: No new visits

Nights under the stars: 1

tammie coe cake

My birthday cake

Best meal: Birthday dinner at Sushi on Shea and a Tammie Coe cake for dessert

Best beer: Alaskan Winter Ale – Jay and I were both pleasantly surprised by this seasonal beer that features spruce tips.

Photo Review: Royal Lake, Burke, VA

Growing up in Burke, I spent a lot of time at Royal Lake.  It was at the end of our street and was our closest place for recreation and nature.  I played soccer at the fields there, tried to fish with slices of cheese on a string at the dock and used the exercise loop in high school to get in shape.  Now that we are back home to attend my best friend Terri’s wedding, I went back to Royal Lake to try bird watching.  Who knew there were so many species of birds at our local lake!  I hope you enjoy these photos that I took along the way.
bird at royal lake

Gray Catbird

Pocohontas State Park, south of Richmond, VA