Monday, April 30, 2012

Oasis

Neotropic Cormorants
On a tip from several birders, I discovered that near the Sweetwater Wetlands, there is a park with a lake and an island!  And it was here that I discovered my best views of Herons, Egrets, and Neotropic Cormorants!  They had been flying into the wetlands but not sticking around......Where were they going?
Thanks to a tip off from my friend, I was able to visit this park for the first time and find the Great Blue Heron rookery located on the "island" in the middle of the lake. Granted it's not Lake Michigan big, but it was a larger lake stocked with fish and that's were I found all my larger water birds. 
It was fun to stop here.  How long have I lived in Tucson and never been to this area?  It makes me think that there are more of these little gems hidden around town.   We arrived at the park and quickly identified the island in the lake.  It was far away from humans for the herons to build their nesting area.
The Neotropic Cormorants are strange birds but they all hang together in a group.  The eye color, long neck, and slinky water movements sometimes remind me of a snake, a seal, or the lockness monster.
While the Neotropic Cormorant freaks me out a bit, the opposite can be said of the graceful Great Egret.  These birds weren't with the Cormorants or Herons but off to the side of another lake.  Absolutely gorgeous birds.....
It is always bizarre for me to see water in the desert. But stranger still are the birds that hang around these water holes....
The Christopher Columbus Park is located off of Silverbell road and is near Pima Animal Control.  It is also one of the few lakes stocked with fish in the city.
I had a lot of bird sightings which included a variety of smaller birds like the Vermillian Flycatcher, House Sparrow, etc.   There were also a lot of butterflies in the area.
During this day, I met up again with Sally and Robert and they were such a wonderful couple.  I laughed a lot because they both were very similiar to other birding couples I've met.  One is the extreme birder while the other enjoys hanging out with the other person and is the camera support.  That's my relationship with Pat as well.  We laughed a lot because they had some wonderful couple sparring going on.....and it was good for Pat to see because we have the same discussions/playful fights.  "You said you'd only be 15 minutes!!!  It's now a half hour later!":)  What is love if it wasn't for this kind of stuff?  And to be honest, I would miss that joking/serious poking at one another.  It's nice to know that we aren't the only ones who have these "discussions". 
So in the middle of this desert city, you will find an oasis here and there.  You just have to keep your eyes and ears open for them. Or ask other birders:)
And speaking of Oasis...check out El Presidio Gardens own little Oasis!!!  Two hummingbird nests!!!!  Here's Mom on her eggs:)

13 comments:

  1. Nice work Chris. Those serpentine Cormorants are neat birds. I always enjoy observing their little colonies around ponds and lakes.

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  2. A nice place, to see birds, and to be a birder. Great photos.

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  3. Each one of your pictures evokes such good souvenirs...

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  4. Great photos Chris. Its wonderful isn't it when you find places on your doorstep that you didn't know about that turn out to be good places for wildlife :)

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  5. You took the words out of my mouth Chris or more correctly the thoughts out of my head! My immediate thought was how odd it seems to see water in a desert area!! And isn't it a thrill to find somewhere near to you which you didn't realise existed? Lovely to see the water birds, the Great Egret is lovely. I have only ever seen Little Egrets.

    Our weather got even wilder yesterday and culminated with my lovely old Lilac tree crashing down and just to round off a miserable day...a power cut last night :-(

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  6. this looks like a great place to spend too much time. :)

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  7. Your wonderful narrative and photographs are a delight! Looks like a beautiful area to bird. You captured so many stunning scenes. Oh how lucky you were to see a gorgeous Vermillian Flycatcher and then to end it all with the sweet little hummingbird sitting on her downy nest. Glorious!

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  8. There are lots of fun little places to discover in Tucson! As we were watching a Nashville and a Wilson's warbler at the desert museum on Friday, a visitor kept asking me about the neotropic cormorants. Now I know where they are!

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  9. Always nice to find new places to explore in your own back yard.

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  10. Oh, wetlands with no fence to keep people out. What a novel idea! :-)

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  11. A great series of photos. Cool to see the hummingbird nest!

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  12. Beautiful place and full of life.

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  13. taking all these great shots must require a lot of patience and dedication, and i can imagine how pleased with yourself you must be when you put them online! Thanks for these, another great series!

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