2023-03-18 Sweetwater Wetlands-Tucson

Red-Winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus
I spent only a little more than an hour for my first visit to the Sweetwater Wetlands a little west of Tucson. I found it lovely, and I expect to visit it again, and again.

I rely on an internet connection while I roam North America in my RV. My most reliable method has been through the use of cell phone service. As I explore remote locations, the cell service sometimes fails to deliver a useful connection, and I either have to delay the work I use it for, or find a different location to camp. Even with devices from two carriers (AT&T and Verizon), I fall short of meeting my communications requirements. Often, those pristine locations where I long to linger, fail to deliver a cell signal strong enough for my needs.

Until last year, mobile satellite internet was only a dream. A few years ago, satellite internet was abysmally slow, and only provided stationary service. Then the Space-X team began launching tiny low orbiting satellites that transmit internet connections back to earth for fast, reliable, though stationary wireless service. They called the system “Starlink”. While very cool, these systems were not for me. But about a year ago, Space-X came up with a truly mobile version of this technology. It has been maturing over this past year, and I decided it was time for me to invest.

Delivery can take up to two weeks, and rather than delay my departure from southern California, I opted to look for a supplier in Tucson. When I reached Marana, just west of town, I found a service company through which I placed an order, and who will complete the installation process. 

When I finished my arrangements with the installation team, I stopped by a nearby Home Depot and bought some hardware to begin fabricating the mounting system for the satellite receiver. I worked out a practical location for the device and started the foundation. I didn’t finish, but I got enough done to assure I had enough stock on hand to finish the job when we schedule the installation.

It was early afternoon when I finished at Home Depot, and there was just enough time left in the day to get acquainted with nearby Sweetwater Wetlands Park. I had heard reports for years of this place, but until now, I had never visited. I found the park a delight. My time there was brief. I spent perhaps an hour, and in that time, I enjoyed the company of Abert’s Towhees, Black-Throated Gray Warblers, Cinnamon Teal, Mallards, Pied-Billed Grebes, Red-Winged Blackbirds, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. 

I was as much interested in meeting the birds at Sweetwater as I was in experimenting with my new camera (Nikon Z9, mirrorless). I’m still getting familiar with its features, and trying out different options. Hopefully, as I progress on my expedition, I will improve my competence with the camera.

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