2023-03-27 Agua Caliente Park – Tucson

Cassin's Vireo - Vireo cassinii
Having enjoyed past visits to Agua Caliente Park in northeast Tucson, I was eager to return during my 2023 Expedition. It did not disappoint!

Having enjoyed past visits to Agua Caliente Park in northeast Tucson, I was eager to return during my 2023 Expedition. It did not disappoint! For those folks unfamiliar with this location, it rests on the south side of Agua Caliente Wash at the northeast corner of Tucson, in Pima County, Arizona. The park covers over 100 acres and is the site of warm springs and an old ranch and health resort. There is evidence these springs have been enjoyed by humans for over 5500 years.

Tall Date Palms populate much of the park. A recent fire decimated a patch of these giants, but despite the blackened trunks, fresh fronds sprouted from the crowns to provide testimony of their resilience. 

I arrived mid-day, when the light for photos was not ideal. Having spent the morning attending business related to my mobile satellite internet equipment, I opted to take a brief horizontal vacation under the cool air from my AC as it ran from the energy of my batteries. Later, when I emerged from my cocoon, the sun was still higher in the sky than I might have liked, but I used the time to reconnoiter the grounds.

When I began roaming the continent in search of bird meetings, I never considered myself a social being. I preferred the company of winged creatures to that of the two-legged variety, isolating and immersing myself in my photography. About three years ago, I began to transition to a new mental state, where I enjoyed engaging in interactions with the folks I met in the amazing places I found myself. This afternoon at Agua Caliente was one such day.

The RV that carries me to all these amazing destinations is decorated with a litany of contraptions that I’ve built. It is an attention-getter, and is bound to attract the curious. Rather than shy away from interested folks, I have learned to embrace the attention and the conversations that precipitated. As I waited for light better suited to photography, what better way to enjoy my time than friendly conversation and sharing past experiences with others? By the time today’s meetings with these new friends had run their course, it was time to immerse myself in the activities I came here for, and meet the local birds.

The subjects I found were a blend of local specialties. Some were residents, some were summer visitors just arriving, while others were winter visitors preparing for their migration north to their breeding grounds. The list of birds that cooperated with me sufficiently to capture images were Anna’s Hummingbirds, Bewick’s Wrens, Broad-Billed Hummingbirds, Cassin’s Vireos, Greater Roadrunners, Hooded Orioles, Lesser Goldfinches, Lucy’s Warblers, Townsend’s Solitaires, Vermilion Flycatchers, and Yellow-Rumped Warblers. One bird that teased me with a fleeting glimpse was a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet.

If I resided in this region on a long-term basis, Agua Caliente Park is a place where I would love to pay regular visits.

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