All posts by Sheila

I have a passion for the outdoors and I am most happy enjoying what nature has to offer. Hobbies include photography, birding, Pickleball, astronomy, biking and hiking. I have been happily married, for 40 years, to an amazing person and we share our love with two smart, beautiful and wonderful doggies.

~Birding in Arizona – Verdin

~Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ, November 2017

Only 4.5 inches in length it is a tiny little bird. They are tough and thrive in hot desert environments. It is among the most characteristic birds of the desert, and it has one notable distinction: it is not closely related to any other bird in the western hemisphere.

It is not only tiny and tough, but it is beautiful with its bright yellow head and rufous shoulder patches.


The tiny Verdin, a gleaner of small insects and spiders from the foliage of desert vegetation, is most notable for its nest-building behavior. In addition to breeding nests, Verdins also build individual roosting nests whose insulation allows them to survive cold winter nights.

Verdins spend the night in their roosting nests, smaller versions of their breeding nest, but the birds still lose an average of 7% of their body mass during a winter night. Roosting nests may be built any time of the year and the interwoven twig structures may remain attached to a bush or tree for years. (some information taken from various birding web-sites)


NOTE: Thanks to Gay and her blog at good-times-rollin for mentioning in a blog she wrote about setting out an orange for the Verdins. Thank you Gay! Go to her blog by clicking – Here

The Verdins loved the oranges. Try as I might, I wasn’t able to capture one of these birds in a more natural environment at Cave Creek. Hopefully, I might have one at Catalina State Park. It was so much fun watching the Verdins.

~Happy Birding~



~Catalina State Park

~Catalina State Park, Oro Valley, Arizona, November, 2017

Can’t believe we arrived at Catalina State Park in Oro Valley, AZ two weeks ago. Where did the time go? Instead of our mostly nature based activities, our time here has been filled with visiting friends.


I did manage a little birding at our site, but didn’t venture off anywhere to bird watch. I did get to see the beautiful Broad-billed Hummingbird, which was a highlight. More on birding and our visit here with photos in later posts.

We truly had a great time here in the Oro Valley, Catalina and Tuscon area. Our last visit was five years ago. hard to believe. I walked and rode my bike; Howard ran and set up his radio antenna to chat with friends on the air several times a week.

~~I know a few of you that read my blog will be visiting this area in the near future. I wanted to share with you a few things Howard and I enjoyed, especially the music.


If you like going to concerts, check out the GasLight Music Hall in Oro Valley. It is located at 13005 N Oracle Road, Oro Valley. We attended a concert by Billy Rock and the Bad News Blues Band with friends. The singer and the band were FANTASTIC! Cost was $28.00 a couple, which was well worth the price to see these talented musicians, whom have performed throughout the US and Europe.


We ate at a few of our favorite places while staying at Catalina State Park and experienced a few new places. In Catalina we like Sunny Side Up Cafe  for breakfast and Clair’s Cafe and Gallery for lunch. These eateries are where the locals hang out. Great food.

We went to The Parish in Oro Valley, which is a quirky, cajun restaurant with a full bar and beer on tap. Their Sunday brunch is very good; I had Shrimp and Grits!

If you like going to Gastropubs try Noble Hops. They have patio seating with a bar and gorgeous views of the Catalina Mountains; check out their live music offerings.

For something truly different try zPizza, with wine and beer on tap that you pour yourself. The brew and pizza were excellent.

For Chinese food try the Dragon Village and Pei Wei! For Mexican try La Hacienda Family Mexican, all located in Oro Valley.

~Grocery Stores:

I just love going to grocery stores when visiting an area. We went to the usual – Fry’s and Safeway, which were okay. However, the most gorgeous grocery store around here, IMO, is Bashas’ in Catalina. This grocery was simply gorgeous, recently remodeled and very busy.


Finally, Howard and I went to visit Biosphere 2, which was very interesting, and worth the drive and time. I hope to share photos at a later time.

~Friends- old and new:

We visited with old friends and new friends while here. We truly enjoyed seeing everyone! Special friends, special times, wonderful memories.

~In the morning:

We leave Arizona, heading into New Mexico for a one or two night stay at Rock Hound State Park, then on to South Llano River State Park in Texas. After South Llano, we will spend a few days, visiting with friends, while staying at McKinney Falls State Park near Austin.

~Life is Good, Enjoy Everyday~





~Birding in Arizona – Curve-billed Thrasher

~Cave Creek, Arizona, Cave Creek Regional Park, November, 2017


Another one of my favorite desert birds, the Curve-billed Thrasher. They sure made our visit to this beautiful park even more enjoyable. I never grew tired of hearing the “whit-wheet” call of this Thrasher.


Curve-billed Thrasher


What a beautiful colored eye!


~Happy Birding~



~Birding in Arizona – Gamble’s Quail

~Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ, November, 2017







A covey of Gamble’s Quail entertained us at Cave Creek Regional Park. Most days we would count up to twenty-five birds at our site. They are gorgeous birds, fun to watch, and even more fun to photograph.

We saw them at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, but not nearly as many.

HEADER PHOTO: Sunrise at Cave Creek Regional Park

~Happy Birding~


~Hunter’s Moon

~November 3, 2017, Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, Arizona

I took this photo on November 1, 2017


Hunter’s Moon is the name for the full moon that immediately follows the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. In 2017, the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon fell on October 5, nearly 13 days after the September 22 equinox. So it’s a late Hunter’s Moon this year for the Northern Hemisphere. In fact, November 4 is about the latest possible date for a full Hunter’s Moon.

Coincidently, it’s also the 2nd-largest full moon of 2017. As seen from around the world, this full moon will parade across the sky from dusk until dawn. (Taken from Web)


I took this photo on October 30, 2017


Considering the close proximity to several large cities, Cave Creek Regional Park is “dark”. A great place to star gaze.

~Always looking for dark, clear skies.~

~Birding in Arizona – American Kestrel

~Cave Creek, Cave Creek Regional Park, November, 2017


high atop a cactus

scanning surroundings for food

focused and alert


American Kestrel, male


Going for the kill.


Sure hope it wasn’t another bird. I can’t tell what it is.


Almost finished!


“Glad it wasn’t us.”

House Finch, male.


House Finch, Female

Happy Birding!

~Icon of the Desert – Gila Woodpecker


~Cave Creek Regional Park, Cave Creek, AZ, November, 2017

What a treat it was to listen, watch and photograph these gorgeous woodpeckers. They were busy building a nest in a Saguaro Cactus in our back “yard”. Go out to this Web-site and listen to their call – Gila

Gila Woodpecker, Male.




Notice the red cap.


Notice the yellow belly.






A nest.


~Happy Birding~