Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Tucson/Lazydays KOA
Tucson, AZ
March 18, 2015

One of our most favorite places in Tucson is Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. We were up early and out the door by 8:00 am and hoping that the cloudy skies would deter other would be hikers. Our plan was to hike/walk for as long as we were enjoying ourselves and having fun. Hiking is not always about the exercise, it is also a time to connect with nature and all things beautiful...a time to relax the mind, heart, and soul. When we left Sabino Canyon, all was better than good!

It was not a first photographing a Gamble's Quail, but it was a first photographing one in a tree. I wish I could share the beautiful sound this fellow was making. The male's song is a single note caaw which we heard before we saw him.They belong to the "callipepla" family which comes from the Greek kalli (beautiful) and peplos (robe). 

A juvenile Phainopepla will gradually acquire black feathers throughout it's 1st year. 

Arizona Foldwing

Miniature Wollystar

Longflower Tube Tongue

Sasguaro Cactus bloom...first for the season.

Distant Phacelia

Wild Dwarf Morning-glory

Desert Rosemallow
Slender Janusia
From a picnic area where we stopped for water and a snack, we could see Sabino Dam. We decided to head that way...
I am so glad we did...
A Cooper's Hawk...I think...that we saw fly over the creek.

 And a mama duck playing in Sabino Creek...

 ...perfectly camouflaged.

Last, we were excited to see our first Gila Monster...not one, but 2 in one hike! Since they spend 95% of their time in underground burrows, we felt like we had hit the jackpot! Because of human encroachment, they are considered a threatened species.

 The first one was out in the open right next to the trail and not moving very much. 

I clicked away trying to get a picture of his forked tongue... 

 The second one we saw was under a tree and brush...he was moving a bit faster...

Our time meandering through the desert was about 5 hours...mostly very peaceful and quiet. Life is good!

Until next time, take care and...

happy trails!


  1. What a fantastic day!! I wish you had been along yesterday, Gay, to tell me the name of all the flowers. I couldn't believe all the different flowers we saw. You certainly hit the jackpot with the wildflowers. So pretty:) Super bird photos, as well:) Love that duck playing in the stream! Two Gila Monsters!! Wahoo!! We had no idea they were venomous until we saw the one that John almost stepped on and he was researching it. They are very cool looking. I searched all day yesterday but didn't see any:( It takes us so forever to hike any trail since we have stop all the time to look around and enjoy our views and take photos. After all it is about the journey, it's not a race:) How nice that you are in the area for the saguaro blooming. It must be that you are further south. I can't find a bud anywhere. Darn!

    1. You have certainly made up for the lack of Saguaro buds/blooms with your crested Saguaro finds...we never see any of them! This is a beautiful time of year to visit the desert, isn't it Pam?

  2. Seems like you're giving that new lens a good workout.

    1. Wellll, actually I haven't used it but the one time Judy. It's way to heavy to carry around for a 3 to 4 hour walk. I'm thinking I will have to find a sit down spot and wait for the birds to come to me!

  3. What a great day and love the pics, especially the Gila Monster.

  4. I'm finally getting caught up on all the posts I've missed. I certainly enjoyed taking this hike along with you & Joe. A lovely area & lucky you, capturing not one but two Gila's on film.

    1. It was our lucky day! Hope you are feeling better Gayle!

  5. WOW! TWO gila monsters in one hike! What fantastic luck!

    I am thrilled to see how flowery the desert is this year, living vicariously through your lovely photos. Even a saguaro has been hot early, I guess hot enough for saguaros!

    1. We have enjoyed our desert time very much this year Lisa. I had a lot of fun researching names of the flowers and learning all about the Gila Monster.

  6. Whoa, your header is the bomb! I have never seen a Gila monster and you found two.
    I agree with meandering while hiking, but sometimes my partner consider it as an exercise so I have to hurry up to !
    Lovely photos of the now awaken desert floor and of course the birds!
    And oh I love and missed the sound of Gambel's Quail.

    1. What a very nice compliment MonaLisa...thank you!
      Joe and I sorta have an understanding...I can stop and take pictures a lot at the beginning of the hike, but when he gets tired and wants to get home, I better keep up!

  7. Wow too!! What gorgeous pictures you posted. It looks like photographers dream place to be.

    1. It certainly was for me that day Jeri! Thank you...

  8. Wonderful photos! I enjoyed them, even the gila monster.