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.