Friday, November 10, 2006

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

After several trips back to the apartment for forgotten items (money, camera, iPOD, etc.) and a really bad Chai tea spill, I finally made it to the museum in time for the 8:30 am bird walk this morning. I met the docent, Buzz, on the front patio and found out I was the only person ready to go today. Yeah, I love personal birding trips! Buzz is a transplant from Maryland and was really helpful in telling me about the local wildlife including tress, plants, and butterflies, as well as the birds. We only birded about an hour, but we picked up several species, including Northern Mockingbird, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, Gambel’s Quail, Costa’s Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Black-throated Sparrow, and Black-chinned Sparrow*. The Gilas were being particularly cooperative by staying low and close to the trails.

After about an hour, Buzz ended the walk by showing me to the walk-in aviary. I did go in, but frankly, after a little while I felt ill and anyone who knows me will understand why. A gilded cage is no less a cage. No matter how natural or realistic it looks to us, the truth is these animals are trapped for our “enjoyment”. I did, however, enjoy being out on the desert loop trail. I walked it twice and being the rabble-rouser that I am, I walked opposite the “suggested path” so that I felt like a salmon swimming upstream - hehe. The views were spectacular and I can see why many people who live here love this place. During my walk here, I spotted a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher darting and hissing among the Palo Verde, but not much else new. The sun was warm, the sky was blue, and it felt good to be off work and outside.

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