Monday, October 15, 2012

Saguaro NP Sunset Silhouettes

1. Saguaro NP east-kab Saguaro National Park-Rincon Unit 9-30-2012
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.
2. Jack rabbit-kabAntelope Jack Rabbit
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.
3. lizard-kab Down by the Mica View Picnic area we found this lizard.

4. rincons-kab View of the Rincons from Mica View Picnic area.
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.
5. layers-kab Layers

6. colors-kab Colors

7. sihouettes-kab Ocatillo Silhouettes

8. cactus ribs cross-kab Saguaro Cactus Ribs Cross

9. saguaro hand-kab Saguaro Giant Hand
And on the way home we pulled off the road to photograph the full moon rising!
10. full moon-kab Full Moon September 30, 2012
Note: I discovered the Antelope Jack Rabbit we saw was a rare sighting and I will post more photos and info about it tomorrow!
Birds seen in Saguaro National Park-Rincon Unit on 9-30-12:
  1. Gambel’s Quail-Mica View Picnic area
  2. Turkey Vulture
  3. Red-tailed hawk
  4. Gila Woodpecker
  5. Verdin
  6. House Finch
  7. Cactus Wren-birds added at Desert Ecology Trail
  8. Curve-billed Thrasher
  9. Phainopepla
  10. Green-tailed Towhee
  11. Vesper Sparrow
  12. Black-throated sparrow


  1. Fantastic photos! Love all the layers & colors! Congrats on the rare Antelope Jackrabbit sighting.....who would have known! Are there smaller jackrabbits in the area as well?

    1. Kathryn, yes. We have Black-tailed Jack Rabbits as well and at first I called it that because it was what I am more familiar with. When I went to check on the ID I discovered what a rare sighting this is!

  2. NO WAY! I had no idea that it was a rare sighting. That is incredibly cool. No matter what....I'm still looking for the Jackalope!

  3. Wow, great post Kathie! I love the Antelope Jack rabbit. Very cool sighting. Your sunset and moon shots are beautiful too.

  4. I believe I've seen that scrawny rabbit down by Casa Grande. Of course I saw lots of Jackalopes in WA. Love the colors of the layered mountains especially under sunset. Nice moon shot too.

    1. Thanks Gaelyn! More pics info on the Jack rabbit tomorrow!

  5. HI Kathie

    Loved the full moon and the jackrabbit.


    1. Thanks Guy. The rabbit was sweet and a real surprise!

  6. That rabbit sure doesn't look like the rabbits we have around here! beautful scenery shots Kathie! I'd like to experiemnt a little with photography some time. I never think of trying to get silhouettes.

    1. Larry, give it a shot! I bet you would be great at it! You are so creative and you could lend a sense of humor to the shots!

  7. Those type of jackrabbits are so odd looking. Wow, what colors in your sunsets. Now that I've been down there recently, I can really appreciate your photos even more.

  8. Such gorgeous photos! Beautiful views...and I love the jackrabbit and lizard. When we lived here in the late 70s we lived in the east side of town and visited the east Saguaro Ntl Park (then called Monument) often. I live on the west side now and haven't been on that 8 mile loop since we returned. Need to do so! Oh, and jackrabbits are something I saw often in Lubbock, TX when we lived there. And on one late late night drive from Ft. Stockton TX toward the next town, hoping for a hotel room (we were exhausted and all the rooms in Ft Stockton were full due to a convention) I saw dozens, maybe hundreds of jackrabbits all along the side of the highway!! It was amazing. (Of course I might have been hallucinating...we were so tired! :-) )


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.