Friday, June 14, 2013

Round Robin: They Make My Heart Sing

For this week's Round Robin Challenge: Wild Thing, I asked to see any sort of wild thing - human, creature, hair, whatever. But for my own entry, it was always going to be some sort of bird or critter, or both!

My Dad at the top of the road, Madera Canyon AZ

So a week ago, on my weekly outing with my Dad for "lunch and adventures" (that's what I always write on his whiteboard for Saturdays), I drove him all the way down to Madera Canyon, southeast of Tucson. John and I visited the place together several times in the 1980s, and I'd gone down there on my own more than a few times during that same era. It's a great place for hummingbirds, owls, nighthawks, and even a rare and colorful tropical bird called a Trogan. In years past I've also seen rock squirrels, deer, rattlesnakes and a skunk (and not the usual kind of skunk, either). Last fall I took the dogs along a nature trail and saw two deer along the way. So I had high hopes of being able to show Dad something interesting, and get shots for the RRPC at the same time. If nothing else, he would enjoy reading the road signs on the long drive down.

This was not my first try at showing Dad the local wildlife. I've driven him to the top of Mount Lemmon, only to get rear-ended on the way down by a motorcyclist without a helmet, who then had to be evacuated by helicopter. I also took  Dad on a tram ride up Sabino Canyon about a month ago. I love driving out into the mountains or into the desert, and seeing all the wild things I can, whether they are birds or cacti or critters, or even just the wilderness of rocks and dry creek beds.

A week before the Madera trip I took Dad to Saguaro National Park East. It turned out I could get him a lifetime senior pass for next to nothing that was good for all the National Parks and recreation areas. It even gets me and the car in too when I'm with him. Good deal!

While I was in the visitor center, the rangers recommended that I bring my Dad inside to have a look out their back window:

These are javalinas, also known as collared peccaries. They were waiting out the heat of our first official 100 degree day (my car had recorded higher than that for at least a week) in the shade of the building. Look closer:

There's a half-grown one in the foreground, and lying up against the adult, a little javalina "piglet!"

None of which meant anything to Dad. But he liked being out with me, and reading the road signs. So I tried again with Madera Canyon.

The easiest place to look for wildlife in Madera Canyon is outside the Santa Rita Lodge and gift shop. They have (mostly) shaded benches and chairs spaced in front of a variety of bird feeders, trees and a running water "bird bath" feature. If you look at the large version of the photo above, you can just about make out a Mexican Jay on the horizontal beam above the bench. But what are those big, black things on the ground?

Why, it's a flock of wild turkeys! Ten of them! And they were huge!

And Dad was bored, because there were hardly any signs to read. Ah, well.

I did better two weeks ago with an outing to the Gaslight Theatre to see Arizona Smith and the Relic of Doom. The wildly silly show (no pictures allowed during performances) seemed to make a bit more of an impression on Dad than any wild animal. It was fun, but it's not something we can do every week.

Tomorrow I think we'll go back to the Pima Air and Space Museum. Or maybe the Titan Missile Museum. Or...?


Now let's see what other Wild Things the Robins have captured with their cameras!

Linking List
as of Saturday, 6/15/13, 7:30 PM MST

Carly - Posted!

Freda - Posted!
Day One

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories

Kara - Posted!
That's the Way the Cornbread Crumbles


Carly said...

I love the little animals. They always make me smile. See... :)

Kara said...

I'm not sure I would like them hunkered down so close to my house. And, I know I wouldn't like 100 degree days. But since I posted a hurricane...I guess everything is relative.

Jama said...

You have so much wildlife in your country, I really envy you. we only see such animals at the zoo.