Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Overcast Days

The sun attempts to break the heavy cloud cover caused by Hurricane Rosa
Rain happens for most people all the time.  But for those of us who live in the desert, it's a wondrous event full of heavy water droplets and epic scenery. 

a curious Greater White-fronted Goose
I stood out in my desert last night and let the wind blow through my hair.  It has been awhile since I had goosebumps from a cool night wind against my skin.  

This young kiddo was so happy feeding the ducks and geese.  Little does he realize how special two of those geese are
I watched the people around me breath of sigh of relief.  There was a lot of laughing and fun happening around the park.  These dark gray skies had every Tucsonan taking walks or jogs around our city neighborhoods.  During the hot times of the day, we stay locked up behind our windows away from the deadly rays of the sun.  Then at night, like vampires, we go out when it is less hot.  But autumn has arrived. Gone are the 90's, 100's and 110+ degree temps. 

The resident Snow Goose of Lakeside Park
The plants soak up the much needed rain and almost fluoresce a brilliant green.  It is during this time that rare birds fly through various spots around the state.  Birders search high and low to find some random gems. As Hurricane Rosa broke apart, we all kept our eyes towards the sky. Would we find a Magnificent Frigatebird or random sea bird flying around our desert skies?  These are the days birders love the most.  Finding something rare. 

I went to my go-to-spot during times like these and found a large gull.  At first I thought it had been a California Gull until I got closer and discovered how big this bird was!  I got a little more excited.  I posted the gull on the FB page and people were calling it a Lesser Black-backed Gull. That bird was not on my radar. Chris Benesh joined the fun and we went through all the "maybes" on this gull.  Could we rule out Western Gull?  And all the others in that size range?  The answer in short was yes.  It just took a little patience. 

a rare juvenile Herring Gull makes a stop in Tucson
I am not scared of gull ID at all anymore.  They are really fun birds. Chris had me raise my hands up in the air to get the bird to fly so that we could pinpoint the under wings and see that rump and tail! I learn new things from this man every time we run into each other.  By the end of our observation, he was leaning towards Herring Gull.  I went home and dug through my ID pics and the ones I took of the bird and found the gull was indeed a first winter Herring. 

one of the ponds of Agua Caliente Park
For the past several weeks, I've been on a role just goofing around nearby bird areas finding cool things for my birder peeps.  Now I'm not bragging but ok, I am a little:)  I found these rarities on my own and helped other birders add a tick to their Pima or Santa Cruz County lists.  It's the least I can do for all their amazing sightings. While the Herring Gull wasn't a state bird for me, it was a county tick.  It's been some time since there's been a Herring Gull here in Tucson. 

Two -striped Mermiria
 There are still a few butterflies around the area but now the grasshoppers, katydids, and mermirias have taken over as the most numerous insect:)

It'll be hard to go birding around here now that I've begun cooking like a monster.  I go get my 70 pounds a veggies religiously every Saturday morning.  Afterwards, I get super excited and begin to process the vegetables.  I can. I freeze.  And I bring vegetables to life!  I process all the squash, tomatoes and everything else right away. 

From top to bottom and left to right. Homemade spaghetti sauce, butternut squash soup, a yellow squash medley, and freezing the extra yellow squash left over for a later time.
A lot of time is spent on boiling tomatoes(to easily remove the skins), chopping up vegetables and sauteing onions and mushrooms
 For example, with butternut squash, I steamed it all up during the summer and then pureed it all for the freezer.  This weekend, I pulled out that frozen ziploc bag of goodies and began prepping a soup with it.  I don't follow any recipes, but I've eaten so much food in my life, I can tell which ingredients go where.  So I cooked up a storm.  I canned homemade spaghetti sauce, prepped a potato/veggie casserole and made my butternut squash soup.  It was a hit with my friends. I'm in love with my kitchen again and it feels so good. Creating healthy dishes feels absolutely wonderful! And there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh.  

Next week, I'm back on the road to try and find some lifers in Wisconsin.  But honestly, it's about being with family and friends......and the cool autumn air. Until next time.....


  1. Have a great time and wow those veggies are beautiful!

    1. Thanks Janice! Those veggies make me so happy. I wish I could have my own garden, but this isn't bad either:)

  2. We had more cool that we wanted.... too early. WE got a BIG dump of snow. Over 16 inches in our yard. The guy was supposed to blow out the sprinkler system for winter this week...acckkk!@# Now? ... I hope it melts so he can do that.

    And, I got reeeellly lucky with my back yard birding...and, managed to photograph a beautiful Blue Jay. Yeh...I know...sounds not too exciting...but, even though folks say they are cheeky and steal stuff and are a nuisance... they aren't in my yard. They never hang around long enough to get a picture of them. Got him this time!

    1. Ahhhh snow sounds wonderful!!! Ok now. The Blue Jay IS exciting. I know how hard they can be to get pics of so congrats! It's a bit early for snow:)

  3. Stunning photos. So glad to hear it has gone cooler for you! Food looks and sounds delicious :)


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