Saturday, April 16, 2011

Birdwalking at Tohono Chul Park

No, there aren't any pictures this week. I know I promised. I even charged up the battery for my camera and remembered to take it this morning. But I never took the camera out of my fanny-pack. Do they still call them fanny-packs? I suppose it doesn't matter.

I did get up out of bed this morning, eat breakfast, shower and dress so I could make the 8:30 start time for the docent-led bird walk. It wasn't as hard as I'd thought it would be. I guess getting up at 5:30 every morning during the week leads to a habit.

I thought I'd be late, but I made it with ten minutes to spare. As I rushed up to the ramada, where all the walks through Tohono Chul Park start, a male docent asked hopefully, "Are you interested in the bird walk?" Since there were two of them and only one person there for the scheduled walk (me), I understood the "hopefully" all too well. It was a beautiful morning in Tucson, warm, sunny with the air fresh and clean. I was surprised that no one else had shown up yet, but not too surprised, since Saturday mornings are made for sleeping in and running errands. If most people are like me, it's a struggle to get going after the work week.

We were just about to start out because the expected docent hadn't arrived either when a woman docent rushed up and apologized for being late. It was her first time to lead the birdwalking tour and I think she was relieved that I wasn't an avid birder who would ask difficult questions or contradict her if she said something wrong.

I can't say I learned a lot about the birds. We only saw a couple of species that I hadn't seen before. There was a Cooper's hawk perched in a tree near a nest that apparently is one of a pair that have lived in the park for the past four or five years. We saw a phainopepla, which has a crest like a cardinal but is black instead of red. The others I'd seen before. Lots of house finches and lesser goldfinches. A few hummingbirds and a gila woodpecker or two.

But it really wasn't about the birding for me. It was about walking outside in the park instead of being cooped up in a house or office or battling the weeds in my yard. The bonus was that the docent and I had a wonderful chat as we roamed the park looking for birds. She was originally from Atlanta and, since my son went to Georgia Tech, we had an immediate connection. I was almost sorry the walk had to end after an hour. No pictures, not many birds, and I'd already seen the gardens and paths we walked through this morning, but very satisfying nevertheless.
Post a Comment