~Nature at its best – an Anna’s Hummingbird

~December, 2022 Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, AZ

They are so fun to watch, postering to defend they territory.
Looking tough!

When the light hits their head and throat it is a gorgeous sight. I saw my first Anna’s on January 3, 2009 at Catalina State Park.

¬†Like the Rufous Hummingbird, Anna’s are pugnacious and well known for its territorial behavior. Males fiercely defend feeding areas and chase away other male hummingbirds and even large insects such as bumblebees and hawk moths that try to feed there. They are known to eat more insects than any other hummingbird. They can live up to eight and half years.

From the flowers and insects they feed on, to the trees and bushes they rest and nest in, to their brilliant colors and strengths – all astonishing examples of nature’s creations.

Look for them in your yard this season! 

~Catalina State Park

~Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, AZ – End of 2022

I don’t believe there is anything negative I could say about this park. It is a “gem” of an Arizona state park. It is so¬†well loved that it is hard to get¬†reservations during the winter months.

Catalina State Park is located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is home to nearly 5,000 saguaros and desert plants. There are 5,500 acres of foothills and canyons that offer opportunities for camping, hiking, and bird watching. The park is home to more than 150 species.

If you get tired of bird watching you can ride your horse or your bike. Right outside the  park you can connect to the walking/riding trail system called The Loop and ride or walk for miles and miles. I believe The Loop is 131 miles long.

There are restaurants and shopping minutes away. If you get tired of the serenity of the park you can visit some of the other local attractions: https://azstateparks.com/catalina/things-to-do/area-attractions

 We have visited this park so many times over the years and it never gets old. It is a favorite destination of ours.

Clouds over the Santa Catalina mountains.

I think I might have a few bird photos to share ¬†ūüėČ along with some beautiful sunset photos. Until next time….

~Photos of Dead Horse Ranch State Park

 11/2022 РI found some photos, of Dead Horse Ranch State Park,  on my phone that I thought I would share. Geez, sometimes managing photos can be a major chore.

There are three lagoons in Dead Horse each with a walking trail that circles the entire body of water. As you can see from the photos below the water captures some great reflection shots.

Still a little Fall color left in November.

Verde River

The river and these ponds are excellent places to bird. In fact the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival is an annual event hosted by Friends of the Verde Valley at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Here is a link: https://verderiver.org/birding-festival/

I was there one year when the festival was being setup. I regret not staying and participating in the event.


~Next 2022 park visit – Cave Creek Regional Park

~Cave Creek Regional Park is located in Maricopa County in Cave Creek, AZ.

We have visited this park many, many times over the years. The park is known for camping, hiking, birding and stargazing just to mention a few.

Here is a¬†blurb from the park’s ¬†website.

Welcome to Cave Creek Regional Park. The park, which is located¬†north of Phoenix, became part of Maricopa County’s regional park system in 1963. This 2,922-acre park sits in the upper Sonoran Desert and ranges in elevation from 2,000 feet to 3,060 feet. This desert oasis provides any hiker and equestrian majestic views. The Go John Trail loops around a mountain to provide the illusion of being miles away from civilization. In the 1870s, fever stricken gold seekers staked their dreams on the jasper-studded hills. Guided trails to these sites give visitors an opportunity to travel back in time.

If one is so inclined to venture out of the regional park you are within easy access to Cave Creek, Carefree, Phoenix, and Scottsdale. But, truly why would you want to leave the park?¬†You’re there to enjoy nature. Right?

Well, perhaps, to grab a bite to eat. One of my favorite places to eat in Cave Creek is Harold’s. ¬†According to their website it has been around since 1935. If you like the feel of an old, western style place serving great food try Harold’s. Here is a bit of their history:¬†https://haroldscorral.com/about/harold-s-history/

If you enjoy watching a sunset and stargazing, Cave Creek is one of the best locations for these activities.

Well, I had to try.

One of my favorite things about this park is the variety of birds that call this area home. And, one of my treasured  things to do is to take photos of them. A few from this visit.

Black-throated Sparrow
Gambel’s Quail

Where to next…..


Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home