1. There are a lot of birds. So when I wasn't hiking, having friends over for a meal, or sharing time with Pat, I would try and sit down and read....in quiet. On our cabin porch, I discovered why Madera Canyon is a huge birder's paradise. Southwestern Tucson is a hotspot for birds and people come from all over the world to visit places like the Buenos Aires Bird Refuge, Carr Canyon near Sierra Vista, Madera Canyon in Green Valley, and of course, the Santa Catalina mountains. Now there are more places like this that I haven't mentioned, but these are the top 4 that birders come to visit. So I'm reading my book quietly in the rocking chair, occassionally being passed by hikers, when suddenly a hummer starts flying around me. The noise of a hummer's wings sounds like a rapid succession of a plane flying overhead while you are sitting in front of your fan at home. And just as quickly as it came; it will disappear. When the fear of human presence was gone, the forest erupted with bird sounds from all over the place. Several other birds noticed me and flew onto the porch and watched me read....or try to read. It was really really loud and there were A LOT of birds. The minute hikers passed by, the birds stopped chirping for several minutes. After the several minutes of quiet time passed, everyone would be back up flying around and having their bird party. Tap tap tap. Squeak squak. Gobble gobble gobble. Fluuuuum fluuuuumm. And other various sounds like those of parrots squaking in the tree tops. In the video below, you'll see what I'm writing about....I snapped quite a bit of video from some of the action. It was fun to see what birders get excited about.......and speaking of birders......
2. Birders are creepy... and kind of neat people. I can understand their frustrations with people who are loud and annoying in the woods as you need total quiet to see the action happen above and around you. But again, I tried reading my book, and out of nowhere there were several birders staring into the trees whispering like they were French people at a Paris cafe. Birders are cool people because they respect their noise levels and their surroundings extremely well. It is a rule that when you travel in any kind of natural setting to keep your volume levels down so that you can spot more wildlife. Had I been on a boat full of loud tourists in the Amazon, I would not have been able to spot my first Jaguar in the wild. It's just a bit freaky to think you are not alone in the woods. There was something else that was unique and I need to ask about this.....but, the birders proceeded to take money out of their wallets and put it in a can. Was this to support homeowners so that they keep putting the bird seed out to keep attracting birds to their cabins? Or a thank you for allowing them to look upon their bird haven? Anyhow...fascinating group of people:)
4. Sky Islands are amazing. They really are. In the desert, you'll find heat and the brutal sun during our summer months. These "sky islands" are contained mountains of cooler, shadier, and greener areas. Because of their higher altitudes, they will also have higher than average precipitation rates. A person is always reminded that they are on these islands when they look below or around them and can see the yellowish brown of the desert in the far distance. Tucson, and Southwestern Arizona, are much more diverse than other areas in Arizona because of several factors.....the desert, the subtropical currents that make the Sonoran desert what it is, and our Sky Islands.
|Sky Island view when above the treeline.|
We had a fantastic time and I'm thinking we may do this again next year. This week I have a house to clean and I'll also be working at the butterfly magic exhibit on Thursday morning at the gardens. It's hard to imagine that we are celebrating winter right now and that we've got a garden where butterflies thrive! Happy Holidays wherever you may be!!