A Little Southwest of Columbus, part 3 of 3.

The first stop on our recent trip to the American southwest was Tucson. The weather, when compared to Columbus Ohio in February, was perfect, 40’s during the night and mid 70’s during the day. Great for hiking and exploring nature.  Our friends David and Joyce were gracious enough to let us stay with them while there, so no camping.


It take two and a half days of deliberate driving to get to Tucson from Columbus. Much of it is not that exciting so we tried books on tape but our selections weren’t any better than some of the scenery so we resorted to taking an informal survey of the birds of prey perched along the highway.  One day we counted over 60, mostly Red tails.


Below is a photo collage of some of the things seen while we were in Tucson. Highlights were visits to Saguaro National Park, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Sabino Canyon, and Madera Canyon. If you enjoy the desert and biodiversity this is a great area with a greater variety of cactus than just about anywhere in the US.


trail P1000652

Catalina State Park Landscape


For us the birds always seem to be the most exciting part of the adventure.

birds IMG_5004-2

Verdin, Sabino Canyon. Now if I could just arrange for the light to be on the right side of the bird!

birds IMG_4979-2

Curved Billed Thrasher, Saguaro Natl Park

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Ladder Backed Woodpecker, Sabino Canyon

birds Gila Woodpecker 020514 Desert Museum cp1

Gila Woodpecker, Desert Museum, (Donna)

birds Cassin's Vireo 2 020715

Cassin’s Vireo, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

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Cassin’s Vireo with bug, Madera Canyon

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Cassin’s Vireo, Sabino Canyon

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Black-throated Sparrow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

birds Black-Throated Sparrow with bug at Sabino Canyon

Black-throated Sparrow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

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Painted Redstart, Madara Canyon, (Donna)

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Mexican Jay, Sabino Canyon

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Phainopepla, Sabino Canyon


Black-chinned Hummingbird, Tucson

birds P1000587

Anna’s Hummingbird, Desert Museum

birds P1000568

Anna’s Hummingbird, Desert Museum

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Anna’s Hummingbird, Desert Museum, (Donna)

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Cactus Wren, Sabino Canyon

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Cactus Wren and nest, Sabino Canyon

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Bob and Donna, Madera Canyon


But we were pleasantly surprised by the flowers. A recent rain may have been responsible.

flower P1010346

Unknown wildflower, Sabino Canyon

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Unknown wildflower, Sabino Canyon

New Mexico Groundsel,  Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

New Mexico Groundsel, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

Desert Globe Mallow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

Desert Globe Mallow, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

trail IMG_5003

Donna along the trail, Sabino Canyon


Of the plants, the cactus was by far the most interesting. Walking through the natural areas around Tucson was like walking through an arboretum.

cactus P1000794

Saguaro Cactus, Catalina State Park

cactus P1000702

Saguaro Cactus mutation, Sabino Canyon

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Eagle claws Cactus, Desert Museum

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Organ Pipe Cactus, Desert Museum

cactus IMG_4987

Santa Cruz beehive cactus, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4977

Saguaro skeleton, Saguaro National Park

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Arizona Barrel Cactus, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4959crop

Silver cholla, Saguaro National Park

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Young Saguaro under the shelter of a tree, Saguaro National Park.

cactus IMG_4945

Christmas Cactus, Saguaro National Park

cactus IMG_4916

Teddy bear cholla, Saguaro National Park.

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Bob and David, Sabino Canyon.


When we don’t see a bird we might just see a butterfly.

But American Snout and Fairy Duster at Sabino Canyon

American Snout and Fairy Duster, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

But Grey Hairstreak and Fairy Duster 2 at Sabino Canyon

Grey Hairstreak and Fairy Duster, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

But P1010865

Painted Lady, Sabino Canyon

But P1010849

Black Swallowtail, Sabino Canyon

But P1010690

Texan Crescent, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

But P1010567

Gulf Fritillary, Sabino Canyon

But P1000548

Queen, Sabino Canyon

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Sabino Canyon trail.


Then there were a few other living things/critters that grabbed our attention.

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Sonoran Desert Tortoise, Desert Museum

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Century Plant, young and old, Desert Museum

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Desert Landscape, Saguaro National Park

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Common Side-blotched Lizard, Sabino Canyon, (Donna)

misc IMG_4992

Rock Squirrel, Saguaro National Park

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Jack Rabbit, Saguaro National Park

Bob and Cacti landscape at Sabino Canyon

Along the trail, Saguaro National Park, (Donna)

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Sabino Canyon Landscape


Thanks for looking in.

12 Comments on “A Little Southwest of Columbus, part 3 of 3.

    • The Painted Redstart was a real treat! From: Central Ohio Nature To: motobobp@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, March 7, 2015 12:56 PM Subject: [Central Ohio Nature] Comment: “A Little Southwest of Columbus, part 3 of 3.” #yiv5803518542 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5803518542 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5803518542 a.yiv5803518542primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5803518542 a.yiv5803518542primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5803518542 a.yiv5803518542primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5803518542 a.yiv5803518542primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5803518542 WordPress.com | | |

  1. That’s a trip I’d love to go on. You brought back some excellent photos that show the real beauty of the place. I think my favorite is the Saguaro skeleton. That’s something you just never see.
    All in all it’s much greener than I imagined.

  2. You managed to catch quite a few different species of birds in a short time! The cacti were interesting, but I wouldn’t want to run into any of them, and being a klutz, I probably would. 😉

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