Last Friday we gave the bikes a well-earned day off and made plans to do some birding instead. I had read about Agua Caliente Park at the far northeast side of Tucson, and it sounded like the perfect spot. "An oasis of green in the desert" was a common thread. Unfortunately, due to the severe drought in this part of the country, most of the water that used to be there in multiple spring-fed pools has dried up, said the latest reviews on Tripadvisor. Still, it seemed worth a visit, particularly since it's not that far from the condo where we're staying.
The reviews were right. It is an oasis even now, with huge palm trees, lots of green everywhere, and plenty of birds. But the reviewers also got it right when they said that the pools have dried up -- all but the main pool were completely dry, and the water level in the remaining pool was low. Apparently the spring that used to feed these pond has stopped flowing and the current pond is fed by a well. I hope it doesn't dry up completely before the rains come again, but the climate, she is a-changing, and it may never be what it used to be. What a shame.
The site of the park was originally a ranch, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The restored ranch house on site is now part of the park. It houses a art gallery and nature shop.
There are paths, paved and unpaved, throughout the park boundaries. This one is going to be gorgeous once all these trees have leafed out. It would be a nice shady place to retreat to in Tucson's hot summer.
Here's one of the ponds that has completely dried up. Sad to see.
Here are some of the birds we saw in the park. We both nabbed a few new ones for our life lists, including the Western Bluebird. They were especially plentiful in the park on this day and were a delight to see!
While we were walking around the park, we realized we could see part of the Catalina Highway going up-up-up to Mount Lemmon. Although we hadn't planned it, we thought, "Hey, why don't we drive up there?!" So, leaving the park, that's exactly what we did. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our fun-tastic Friday!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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