On September 30, 2012 Chris Rhorer and I took a drive to Saguaro National Park east. Though Chris has lived here for over 17 years he had never visited this part of Saguaro National Park. Most people do tend to visit the western or Tucson Mountain Unit, but the Rincon Unit is actually the largest of the two tracts of land. There is a 8 mile loop road which is one-way only and which we followed as we drove around the park. It was last afternoon as we got started and though we weren’t seeing many birds, the lighting was great. We saw a coyote on the main loop, but as we drove down the Mica View spur we encountered a creature Chris had never seen before.
There on the side of the road was a Antelope Jack Rabbit! It was nibbling on something and stayed there for a few minutes while we snapped away. Chris and I stayed in the car with the windows rolled down but another vehicle came up behind us and started honking its horn even though we were on a dirt road and there was plenty of room for them to drive around us! As a result, the rabbit hopped off which ended our photography session for the moment.
While we found a few birds at the Mica View Picnic area and a few more at the 1/4 mile Desert Ecology Trail, we did not see a long list of birds on this visit. One of my favorite places in Saguaro National Park East is the Javalina Picnic area which you can get to without driving around the 8 mile loop. We finished the afternoon there just as the sun was setting and were treated to amazing lighting, interesting shadows, vibrant colors and sweeping views as the sun went down.
And on the way home we pulled off the road to photograph the full moon rising!
Note: I discovered the Antelope Jack Rabbit we saw was a rare sighting and I will post more photos and info about it tomorrow!
- Las Adventuras (Chris’ Blog)
- Gambel’s Quail-Mica View Picnic area
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-tailed hawk
- Gila Woodpecker
- House Finch
- Cactus Wren-birds added at Desert Ecology Trail
- Curve-billed Thrasher
- Green-tailed Towhee
- Vesper Sparrow
- Black-throated sparrow