Agua Caliente Park is in the north-east corner of the Tanque Verde Valley, on Roger Road, east of Soldier Trail. The 101-acre park began as a ranch and resort in 1873 promoting the health benefits of hot springs that ran at that time. In 1984 the ranch was acquired by Pima County with the help of a donation from Roy P. Drachman, and is named in his honor. It opened to the public in 1985.
The park is a wonderful place for birding. Pima County offers a "Wake Up with the Birds" walk every Thursday morning for a nominal $5 fee. Check their website for times. I visited the park twice this week, Tuesday the 17th, and again on the 18th, for the bird walk. The picture above captured on the 17th started as three images merged into one panoramic using Adobe Lightroom. Canon 6D, 24 mm.
Tuesday, May 17th
A male Vermilion Flycatcher resting on the lawn in between flying his routes. The frame below him, a female:
A Hooded Oriole photographed adjacent to the pond.
Red-winged blackbird, male, doing a split on the reeds at the pond:
Two Gila Woodpeckers, perched atop a saguaro in bloom, adjacent to the parking lot.
A Chiricahua Leopard Frog (my best guess) sitting at the edge of the pond. Many thanks to a 3-year old boy and his mom for finding a frog amid the mud!
Wake Up with the Birds, May 19th.
Shortly before 8 am a Cooper's Hawk came down to the pond to drink. Hung out long enough for a photo session, then took off. Did not leave his agent's name, so here is the photo sans model release.
A Vermilion Flycatcher, likely immature, still working on getting the red plumage in.
Cassin's Kingbird. Southern Arizona is in their summer breeding territory.
MacGillivray's Warbler. Described by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as a "furtive bird of forest edges and thickets," I can attest to the fact that this bird was hard to spot, and moved back and forth in the grasses. Below is one of the better shots. Many thanks to our guide, and everyone who took the tour for their spotting acumen and knowledge of the birds. According to the Cornell website, this bird winters in Mexico and central america, summers in the Pacific Northwest and Canada, and stops by to visit us in migration. We wish him safe travel!
That's all for now! Have a great weekend.
Henry Johnson, photographer and author of this site. For more detail, see About