Saturday, September 10, 2022

Birds, Brunch, and Begonias

Corona de Tucson

September 10, 2022 

Friday afternoon clouds...we could smell the rain !

Yesterday morning, we found ourselves heading back to Tucson.  Joe had an appointment with the eye doctor at 8:00 am.  We skipped walking, had a cup of coffee while the puppies had breakfast and were out the door by 7:00.  It is a common answer when either of us asks, "How far is it?" to always reply 26-28 miles. So far, the miles/time to get any where in Tucson is the only downside to living southwest of the city.  By no means is it a complaint...we love it here!  Traffic can be a little on the heavy side that early in the morning (some folks do have to go to work) so we allowed ourselves a good 45 minutes.  We prefer these early appointments.  There are usually other stops to make and Friday was no exception.  After getting a great report on Joe's eye, we were off to Wild Birds Unlimited...I love that store.  We bought a goldfinch feeder and Nyjer Thistle seed.  Lesser Goldfinch live in this part of the country year round.  They often stop by for a drink, but never visit any of the other feeders. 

The ladies at Wild Birds Unlimited (WBU) are awesome. Not only are they friendly and glad to answer all my questions, they are a wealth of knowledge.  We learned a lot about Lesser Goldfinch.  First off, these sweet little songbirds prefer to eat away from the large birds so as not to be intimidated or harassed.  And second, the Nyjer seed should be kept fresh and dry.  We had no idea that these picky little acrobats prefer a high oil content seed and once the seed dries out will turn up their beaks and look for fresher food.  

We also learned they will eat at the patio (a less chance of the seeds getting rained on) and have no problems sharing their space with the hummingbirds.  So, we hung the feeder this morning and fingers crossed we have takers. 

Our next stop was almost as exciting as the bird store.  It has been awhile since we treated ourselves to brunch.  Brunch is my favorite meal to eat out and being so close, I couldn't resist a second visit to Cafe a la C'Art.  I love this old historic part of downtown Tucson. 

We arrived about 10 minutes early...they open at 10:00 am during the week...along with a couple of other folks.     



We chose to eat inside this time even though the patio is very inviting...but then so are all the other spaces.

Both of us ordered the exact same thing we had last time.  Joe had the Cafe Skillet and after tasting his roasted potatoes with bacon, tomatoes and rosemary, I might have to make a change next time.  I ordered the Salmon Benedict...a yummy combo of poached eggs, salmon cakes and sautéed spinach all smothered in a dill dijon creamy sauce.

Back at the oasis, we welcomed dark clouds and patches of blue.  We could smell the rain and hear the thunder.    

It was a nice surprise to wake up this morning and see that we did get rain sometime during the night.  

I planted a small pot of begonias this past spring.  I always had pots and beds of begonias in Georgia and thought why not.  To my astonishment, the one little pot I planted is quite huge and very pretty.  It has to be watered everyday, so who ever rinses out the bird bath (which we do every morning) also has to water my begonias.  This was one small tray with six tiny plants.

After the rain...

This morning, we had a rather historic visit.  I counted at least 35 Gamble's Quail in the yard all at the same time.  They arrived in hordes thru the fence over the fence and even over the concrete wall.  They just kept coming and coming !

They ate, they scratched, they fussed, they had water, and they chased each other in circles.  

And then they left...just like they came...over the wall, over the fence, and thru the fence until there were only a couple remaining that didn't linger long.

When it was all quiet again, I happened to notice a new hummingbird at the feeder.  I spent time trying to identify it and found a close match (White-eared Hummingbird) but there were differences so I don't think that is it.  Do you know this hummingbird?  I don't remember ever seeing a hummingbird with a white stripe over his eye.

Last spring, we planted a small torch cactus.  It has bloomed three times this summer and grown a lot fatter and taller.  

This morning I noticed it had two new on each side. 

He knows better...

Breakfast, one peck at a time...

When I sat down to look at photos on the computer, I had no intention of blogging...and voila ! Until next time...



  1. I love how the quail come all together and then leave all together. Our next door neighbor throws seed out on to the bank out back. The quail come up and over the hill from each side. They make a wonderful sound announcing their arrival. We have well over 40 on a good day. They are so entertaining. Gay, you breakfast sounds and looks SO good! There isn't any item I don't love. I may have to try making this. Glad Joe's eye appointment went well.

    1. Good morning Pam…I find myself laughing out loud at the birds sometimes. What funny and yes, entertaining little creatures they are. Please let me know if you make the Salmon Benedict. The only change I would make is serving it on a piece of sourdough toast instead of the English muffin.

  2. Good news on the eye appointment. That restaurant is on my "go to" list for when we return. You had an invasion of quail! Hope the gold finches find your new feeder--how fun!!

    1. Hi Janna…I’m loving your “go to” list. The “bird ladies” at WBU said to be patient, but that’s not one of my strong traits…😬!

  3. I'm with Janna, the bright little cafe is on my list! The three of us should meet there for brunch this winter :-)) We usually have a single male who sits on the post and calls in all the other quail - up to 25 for about 10 minutes and then they're gong. I agree they're so entertaining! That begonia is crazy huge - I would never have thought they could thrive in the desert.

    1. Hi Jodee…let’s do it! The more quail that gather, the funnier they are. Love to watch them chasing each other in circles! The begonia has been a very big surprise to me too. Might have to add a few more pots next spring!

  4. I wish we had one of those Wild Bird Stores around here! But then again, it is probably good that we don't. Love all those quail!

    1. Good morning guys…Wild Birds has a great website and online ordering if you want to check them out. No takers at the thistle feeder yet…🤞still crossed!

  5. So fun having all the quail visit at once, they know where the good food is! Keeping the bird bath clean is a daily task, I have to take ours and the feeders down when we travel.
    Nice having such a great and knowledge bird shop near by.

    1. Hi Jeff, I’m not a “shopper”, but I do love their little store here. Wild Birds are located all over the country and have a great website with online ordering. Last year when we came to SD, we left a huge seed block and a couple of small suet blocks out which were mostly gone when we returned home.