Tuesday, 24 September 2013

San Xavier del Bac Mission, Tucson, AZ, Sept 2013

The full moon was sinking in the west as the first glow of dawn appeared over the mountains to the south-east of Tucson. I wanted to take a break from driving and wave my binoculars about in the early light, so I pulled in at San Xavier del Bac Mission. I scrambled up the mound in an unsuccessful attempt to get a nice shot of moon and mission, but my vantage was wrong and I was just a few minutes too late.


Mourning Doves were abundant and clattered as they flushed from the ground at my scrambling. A Curve-billed Thrasher called to greet the day.

There is an area of dry scrub and cactus around the mission and a quick walk here brought Common Raven, Verdin and Abert’s Towhee. Gambel’s Quail ran along the fence-line by what looked like a school.

The telegraph wires and the tops of dead trees provided hawking spots for Western Kingbirds and a Red-tailed Hawk took possession of the utility pole.

The dry course of the Santa Cruz River runs close by and there was a flush of green reeds in what appeared to be an irrigation channel. Perhaps this would explain a small flock of White-faced Ibis and a Yellow-headed Blackbird that flew over.

My failure to achieve a photo of the moon over the mission was disappointing. A House Finch tried its best to cheer me up, but Carpodacus on cactus feels like I am forcing the alliteration too far.
Birds seen; 15

Gambel’s Quail 7, White-faced Ibis 4, Cooper’s Hawk 1, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Mourning Dove 200, Gila Woodpecker 2, Western Kingbird 3, Common Raven 4, Barn Swallow 5, Verdin 1, Curve-billed Thrasher 1, Abert’s Towhee 5, Yellow-headed Blackbird 1, House Finch 25, Lesser Goldfinch 3.

San Xavier del Bac Mission can be seen at Google Earth ref; 32 6 25.84N 111 0 28.32W. It is close to Highway 19 as it runs south from Tucson.
Visit the dedicated USA and Canada page for more posts from Tucson, including Madera Canyon and Patagonia.