Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sky Island Scenic Byway, Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ

We're heading for the Santa Catalina Mountains, east of Tucson, where our destination is Mt. Lemmon to do some birding along the Sky Island Scenic Byway.
The byway passes through several ecosystems as you gain elevation, starting with the Sonoran Desert.
 View from the first overlook.

Our next stop was at this forest campground where a Japanese Internment Camp was located during World War II. 
Our first bird was this Cooper's hawk flying overhead.
 We walked along this dry wash. That is Birdie's friend Diane.
 Lots of Dark-eyed Juncos.
 Birding friends Brian and Diane and Birdie walking by a large Cottonwood Tree.
 We discovered there are a pair of Cooper's Hawks here, nesting in that Cottonwood tree.

 Hawks' nest
Anna's Hummingbird
 Saw a few small reptiles too.
 The Recreation area was named after Gordon Hirabayashi, a Japanese American once interned here in what was called the "Honor Camp." His protest of the internment led to an official apology to Japanese Americans in 1987.
 The "Honor Camp." Prisoners here were used to build construct the Catalina Highway through the Coronado National Forest.

 Remains of the camp. Buildings were torn down in 1951.

 Our next stop was in a forest of Ponderosa Pine. We saw an Acorn Woodpecker.
 A Mexican Jay,
 Looking up at some Hoodoos on the highway ahead.
 Pine forest

 Close up of the hoodoos and a natural arch.
 Painted Redstart
 Hairy Woodpecker
 View from Windy Vista Point

 There were a lot of people climbing the mountain on bicycles.
 "You Are Here" is Windy Vista Point. We did not go much farther, so never made it near the top...another day. 
 A view of the winding road below.

 Our next stop was a picnic area and walk towards Rose Canyon Lake. I think this was a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, but it's hard to tell from this angle.
 The road was still closed to vehicles. Campgrounds are not open yet at this elevation.
 Bluebird...probably Western
 Campground not open yet
 This sign made me laugh.
 Just liked the U-shaped pine tree.
 It was getting late, so we headed back down the Byway.

 Back in Tucson, this Saguaro is starting to bloom. The white Saguaro blossom is Arizona's State flower.

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