Thursday, August 30, 2012

Back Here in Tucson

After 2 years of living in Andover, Massachusetts I now find myself back in Tucson. When we first left 2 years ago it was our hope to return within a year. It has taken us two years instead and during that time I started to settle into my life in New England. It felt good to be back near my family again. During that time, I fell in love with New England again. So much has happened since then and now here I am in  new house in new neighborhood unpacking boxes.
It was a whirlwind drive across the country with little to no time to access the Internet, let alone blog. We left Connecticut on August 22nd and drove all day until we reached Fairmount, WV. I was driving across country with my friend, Kathryn and my pets, a little dog, named Blossom, and my two cats, Breezy Boy and Sweet Bonnie Blue Eyes. I did not want to subject them to the airplane flight. Plus, it sounded like a grand adventure. Kathryn is a birder like me, so that made it even more fun. Our route to West Virginia took us through Maryland and so we made it a point to stop there and count birds at least once since I did not have even one bird species listed for that state. We found a place called "Fort Frederick" right off the interstate and spent about an hour birding there. From West Virgina (the state without a straight road anywhere) we drove to Kentucky where we spent two nights visiting my son and his wife and my little granddaughter. It was a nice break for all of us before the final push onward. On Saturday night we were in Texarakana, Arkansas. Sunday night found us in Odessa, Texas and Monday night we arrived here in Tucson.  We drove, ate, checked in, unloaded pets, ate supper, returned to our rooms, fell into bed, arose the next day to reload the car and do it all over again. Mile after mile fell away until we were almost here. I drove the last 2 hours of the trip and as I saw the Santa Rita Mountains come into view I felt my emotions welling up inside. The sun was setting in the west and curtains of rain fell in front of a golden sky which splintered out in dazzling rays between the sheets of gray.
Once I get my regular computer up and running I will have pictures and stories to tell. For tonight I just want all of my regular followers to know that we did arrive safely in Tucson Monday night. The movers arrived yesterday and unloaded our stuff. We unpacked boxes like banshees and fell into bed exhausted. This morning Kathryn and I went out to breakfast, then I took her to the airport and we said good-bye. While I still have lots of boxes to unpack and things to organize I am finally getting some time alone to process everything and to think.
Many people have asked me if I like my house and if I am glad to be back in Tucson. The answer is, I don't know yet. I need some time to process all my emotions and feel what it is like to be back. I can tell you that I bought a new bird bath on my first morning here at the new house and that there is a mourning dove nesting in the rafters of my covered patio roof! I love the area of Tucson that I am living in and I can see the Tucson, Catalina, and Rincon Mountains from my balcony. I am a bit farther away from my beloved Santa Rita Mountains but I can see them when I drive around town. I have yet to visit them.
I do not think I will set up such elaborate bird feeders here as i have already seen pigeons and white-winged doves flying overhead and I do not want to attract them to my yard. Once I am settled I plan on setting up my hummingbird feeders and I may try a thistle seed feeder. However, if it attracts nuisance birds I will take it down. I do have lots of lizards in and around my yard and I hope to have some time to photograph a few soon. We should get our other computer up and running this weekend, then I will post more photos and stories from the trip.
Other than that, the dog and cats are adjusting to their new house as am I. I felt the desert wind on my face this evening as the full moon rose in the sky. I feel like I am in a time warp and I have just driven back into the dream of a life I once had. Now this is my reality and the life and the house I left behind are the dream. Today I thought about the new young couple who live in my old apartment and I wonder if they are enjoying it as much as I did. Once again I find myself letting go and reaching for something new Back Here in Tucson.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


1. thinking-kab 

I am just a little bird

Standing on this shore

Trying to decide if I

Should fly away once more,

2. getting closer-kab 

The world out there is big and wide

Dare I take a chance?

To stay behind is to live a life,

Void of all romance,

3. anchor-kab 

And since I have these wings attached,

I am not anchored here,

So with a stretch, a flap, a leap,

I’m off into the air!

3. flyaway-kab

Who knows what I will find when I

Land on that distant shore,

But I must go I feel it

In my wings, my heart, my soul!

~Kathie Adams Brown (August 14, 2012)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Last Things

1. Misquamicut-kab Misquamicut Beach, Rhode Island 8-17-2012

My life is lived in moments of “last things” right now. My last trip to the bog, my last time at the store, my last walk in the neighborhood. On Friday the 17th my friend Kathryn and I drove to Connecticut to drop the dog and some food off with mom. After eating lunch we drove over to Misquamicut Beach in Westerly, Rhode Island. Kathryn had never been to Rhode Island before and I had not yet been to the beach this summer. I wanted to go “One Last Time” before leaving for the dry desert.

2. chair-kab When we arrived around 4 PM EDT, and the beach was still a bit crowded, but by the time we left two hours later the most of the people were gone and the beach was awash in the golden light of a setting sun.

3. parking lot-kab We found a great place to park at a private beach with food, restrooms and changing rooms. It was a short walk to the beach, so we had easy access to our car and only cost us $10 to park!

4. kathryn-kab We were too anxious to get in the water, so all of these pictures were taken after we were done swimming and had already changed back into our dry cloths. Here is Kathryn standing on the beach. She is helping with the driving on out way to Tucson.

5. beach-kab What an endless horizon!


6. waves-kab I played in these waves for two hours until my legs were weak and my body was chilled to the bones. I did not want to leave! Kathryn had more sense than me and sat on the beach people watching after an hour or so.

7. seaweed-kab As the tide rolled in, so did the seaweed!


8. seagulls-kab The inevitable seagulls keep watch!


9. ocean-kab Good-bye Rhode Island!

We did manage to do a bit of bird watching before we left and found a few Semi-palmated plovers in a parking lot along with some seagulls near a puddle. In all we saw or heard 13 species of birds in Rhode Island on this day. Now we are on our way to Tucson. May people want to know if I am changing the name of my blog or starting a new blog. The answer is, my blog will stay the same for now. That is why I changed the name to Kathie's Birds two years ago, because no matter where I live, it can always be Kathie’s Birds! So follow me as I Fly Away to Tucson! I will try to keep in contact as I travel and will start blogging again as soon as possible after I arrive. I also have a Facebook page for those who want to subscribe!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Birding Falmouth Town Landing

1. falmouth landing-kab Falmouth Town Landing 8-7-12

On the evening of August 7th I left Gilsland Farm to return to pick up my Mother from her cousin’s house. I drove as if in a dream, wondering when I would see these places and these people again. New England is such a green place in summer, and the ocean is so blue. Before returning to the house I stopped by Falmouth Town Landing, hoping to see at least a few shorebirds as the sun slowly slipped towards the western horizon. It is the direction I will be heading…in just a few days.

2. pier-kab 

3. shorebirds-kab 

4. boats-kab Boats in the Harbor

5. eider-kab Common Eider

6. plover-kab Semi-palmated Plover

7. sanderling-kab Sanderlings

8. standing-kab Standing…

9. flying-kab Flying…

10. wings-kab Landing…

11. wings-kab Wings!

12. wings-kab 


13. landing-kab 

14. pier-kab 

Good-bye New England!


15. chain-kab

The day is almost here. Tomorrow the movers come. My computer is being disconnected tonight. I do not know when I will be able to check in again. I will see you all again in Tucson…or whenever I can get some WIFI!

P.S. I do have a few posts scheduled, just in case!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Birding at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, ME

1. Wild turkey-kab Wild Turkey at Gilsland Farm Audubon 8-7-12

I had my first ever visit to Gilsland Farm on August 7th when I took my Mom to visit her cousin in Falmouth, ME. After lunch and an ice cream cone we drove over to the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center. We arrived just before the visitor’s center closed and the first bird I saw was this wild turkey preening itself on the patio! We did a brief bit of shopping, then Mom and her cousin went home and left me here for an hour! While the visitors Center was closed, the grounds were still open until dusk. So, I took my bins and walked around the farmland, but I didn’t venture far since I knew I would get lost in my reverie and never get back in time! Still, in the short 1/2 mile walk I took around the main farm area I saw so many birds and added greatly to my Life List for Cumberland County, ME!

2. turkey-kab Wild Turkey

3. sign-kab 

4. groundhog-kab Ground Hog

5. Sculpture-kab Raven Sculpture

(This sculpture is so large you can walk right underneath it!)

6. heron-kab Great Blue Heron


7. crow-kab American Crow

Birds seen at Gilsland Farm 8-7-12

  1. Wild Turkey
  2. Great Blue Heron
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  5. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  6. Downy Woodpecker
  7. Barn Swallow
  8. American Crow
  9. Black-capped chickadee
  10. Tufted Titmouse
  11. White-breasted Nuthatch
  12. American Redstart
  13. Cedar Waxwing
  14. Song Sparrow
  15. Northern Cardinal
  16. House Finch
  17. American Goldfinch


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sacred Heart Park Summer Birds

1. HOSP-kab House Sparrows in the hedgerow 7-31-12

In the past year Sacred Heart Park has become a favorite place for me to bird. I love the quiet Shawsheen River as it slips by, and the contrast of open field and river woodland. Since it is just a short walk from my house, I can get there easily on foot or by car. I often take my little dog there for her walk and bring my binoculars along as well, accomplishing two goals at once. Blossom never chases the birds and she is so small they don’t seem to mind her, but it is a bit awkward to try to hold her leash and hold my bins steady at the same time. Then I resort to the leash between the legs method so I can use both hands!

2. EAKI-kab Eastern Kingbird in tree over soccer field 7-3-12

Earlier this year I decided to add Sacred Heart Park as a location for an eBird Site Survey. Then, just a couple of weeks ago, they accepted my request to list it as an eBird Hotspot! At the beginning of spring I only had a list of 37 species for this location. Since making it a Site Survey and birding here on a regular basis that list has now grown to 57 species as of August 13th. That is when I saw a Ruby-throated hummingbird eating insects off the trees on the woodland path down to the river! Shortly thereafter I spotted an American Redstart in the tree canopy above! If you are ever in Andover, this is a sweet place to bird!

3. EAKI-kab Eastern Kingbird in flight


4. House wren-kab House Wren in deep shade on the woodland path 7-3-2012


5. cottontail-kab Eastern Cottontail in Soccer Field 7-31-12


6. House wren-kab House Wren on Fence Post 7-3-12

Birds Seen at Sacred Heart Park this Spring and Summer 2012:

  1. Canada Goose (seen year round)
  2. Mallard (seen year round)
  3. Wood Duck (fall and spring)
  4. Great Blue Heron 3-27-12
  5. Turkey Vulture 5-2-12*
  6. Red-tailed Hawk (seen year round)
  7. Cooper’s Hawk (seen year round)*
  8. Ring-billed Gull (seen year round)
  9. Herring gull (seen year round)
  10. Rock Pigeon (seen year round)
  11. Mourning Dove (seen year round)
  12. Ruby-throated hummingbird 8-13-12
  13. Chimney Swift 5-9-12
  14. Red-bellied woodpecker (seen year round)
  15. Downy Woodpecker (seen year round)
  16. Hairy woodpecker (seen year round)*
  17. Northern flicker (seen year round)
  18. Eastern Phoebe 3-22-12*
  19. Eastern Kingbird 6-21-12*
  20. American Crow (seen year round)
  21. Northern Rough-winged swallow 6-5-12*
  22. Tree Swallow 6-29-12*
  23. Barn Swallow 6-29-12*
  24. Blue Jay (seen year round)
  25. Black-capped chickadee (seen year round)
  26. Tufted Titmouse (seen year round)
  27. White-breasted Nuthatch (seen year round)
  28. Carolina Wren 7-31-2012
  29. House Wren 5-9-12*
  30. American Robin (seen year round)
  31. European Starling 3-27-12
  32. Cedar Waxwing 5-2-12
  33. American Redstart 5-12-12*
  34. Yellow Warbler 6-5-12*
  35. Palm Warbler 4-16-12*
  36. Wilson’s Warbler 5-14-12*
  37. Chipping Sparrow 4-17-12
  38. Savannah sparrow 4-16-12*
  39. Fox sparrow 3-30-12*
  40. Song sparrow (seen year round)
  41. White-throated Sparrow (last seen in May)
  42. Dark-eyed Junco (last seen in April)
  43. Northern Cardinal (seen year round)
  44. Rose-breasted Grosbeak 5-14-12*
  45. Red-winged Blackbird 3-27-12
  46. Common Grackle 3-13-12
  47. Brown-headed Cowbird 6-21-12*
  48. Baltimore oriole 5-6-12*
  49. House Finch (seen year round)
  50. American Goldfinch (seen year round)
  51. House Sparrow (seen year round)

*New this year

Note: These are the birds I recorded at the park just this spring and summer but over the course of the two years I have been here I have observed 57 species here at the park. Sacred Heart Park is the first place I ever counted birds in Andover, MA.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lake Horace, New Hampshire

1. Lake Horace-kab Boats at the dock 8-1-2012

Earlier this month my good friend, Mary Robin, invited me up to her vacation cabin at Lake Horace, NH. I visited her here last year on her vacation as well. Mary has been my friend since I moved here two years ago and it will be hard to say good-bye. She has promised to visit me in Arizona, where I hope to share my warm and wonderful desert home with her. I did not see a lot of birds up here this year, but I did see one important one. I also was able to go kayaking on the lake, which was a pleasure and only made me wish I had a kayak of my own! Good-bye Mary. Thank you for your generosity and friendship.

2. road-kab Dirt Road

3. blue sky-kab New England Blue and Green!

4. bird nest-kab Bird nest on the cabin

5. wildflowers-kabRoadside Wild Flowers

6. loon-kab Common Loon

7. loon-kab

Good-bye Lake Horace!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Squeezing in Some Birding in Yarmouth, ME

1. Cousins River-kab Cousins River in Yarmouth, ME 8-7-2012

When Mom came to visit me last week I had no idea it would turn out to be a week long adventure! After visiting the staircases on Monday I drove her to Maine on Tuesday to visit her cousin. More like sisters than cousins, they had a fun day together. We all went out to eat at Day’s Seafood Takeout on Route 1 in Yarmouth, ME. While waiting for our seafood to cook, I stood on the banks of the Cousin’s River trying to see some birds while Mom and her cousin sat at a picnic table and looked at old photos.

2. cousins-kab Two Cousins sit and talk on the banks of the Cousins River!


3. wildflower-kab Queen Anne’s Lace


4. egret-kab Great Egret flying away


5. osprey-kab Osprey in flight over the Cousins River in Yarmouth, ME 8-7-2012


6. osprey-kab 

7. osprey-kab 

8. osprey-kab 

9. wings-kab

Since it was the middle of the day I did not see a lot of birds but when the osprey flew overhead and came so close it was quite thrilling! I managed to squeeze some more birding in later on in the day. More blog posts to follow! As you can well imagine things are getting busy as the moving day draws near. Still, I have managed to squeeze in a few moments of birding here and there and will post what I can before I move. Now that I have a new Acer Notebook I hope to keep in touch as I drive across the country with the pets and my birding buddy and best friend, Kathryn. I know there will be times when I am too tired or too busy to get online but I will try to stay in touch with you all as much as possible!

Birds seen at Days Seafood Takeout in Yarmouth, ME:

  1. Osprey
  2. Great Egret
  3. Herring Gull
  4. Ring-billed Gull
  5. American Crow