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2017-04-24 Agua Caliente Park

Vermilion Flycatcher Juveniles

I spent the entire day yesterday at Agua Caliente Park in northeast Tucson. I visited this place in years past and found it to be very productive for getting bird pictures. I arrived early in the morning and found some birds very shy and difficult to photograph. But my luck changed after speaking with a local couple who pointed out a Lucy’s Warbler. I had met this bird only once before, when last February I was on a science expedition to Isla Socorro, Mexico (see synopsis here). There were many time restrictions in February and I was unhappy with the images I collected. Agua Caliente Park has an abundance of these birds and I could play to my heart’s content.

I spent the midday relaxing and processing images in the confines of my small RV. When the sun progressed to a more favorable afternoon angle, I made another run at the park’s birds. Happily some of the birds that resisted my attempts to gather images earlier, were more cooperative.

I’m a fourth generation native San Diegan and we get some remarkable birds there, but many of the birds are migrants. I feel you don’t really get to know a bird until you meet it on its breeding grounds. I don’t know a more satisfying means of meeting birds in their own homes than by travelling in my little RV.

Another aspect of travel is that “first encounter” feeling you get when initially meeting a bird. After getting to know birds in my neighborhood I have a tendency to dismiss the “ordinary” bird without the same attention that a “new” bird will garner. Travel helps me from falling victim to this phenomenon so often.

My compliments to the visionary citizens of Tucson who’ve had the good sense to maintain as much habitat as possible. Given the pressure that all the “cool” communities around the west have to sacrifice their grounds to the blade of the bulldozer, such protections are lacking in many places. May we always treasure wild places!

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