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Tucson Mountain Hike: Flowering Plants Welcome Hummingbirds Back From Central America

The yellow flower of the creosote plantThe ocotillo "flame" provides food for hummingbirds migrating northUnknown flowering shrub on Cat Mountain, Tucson, AZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March is one of my favorite months in the Arizona Sonoran Desert.  I took an off-trail hike yesterday.  My destination was Cat Mountain, the dominant feature of the Ajo Pass which leads up and out of the Tucson basin heading west.

The trailhead is at the end of Sarasota Road off of Ajo.  It's only five minutes from our home, and the trail leads up and over the Tucson Mountains into Tucson proper.  Mountain bikers appreciate this relatively easy trail.  It winds along an arroyo in a break between Cat Mountain and Cat's little moutain sister, Catback.  Both are part of the Tucson Mountain Park, 44,000 acres of pristine desert surrounding our little neighborhood, Tucson Estates II.

I left the trail and made my way up and across the western flank of Cat Mountain, to a vantage point which overlooks my neighborhood, the older community of Tucson Estates I, and several newer communities built in the last five years.  There's also a Boy Scout Ranch with nearly 400 acres of open land along Kinney Road west of the mountains.

Because the varied terrain includes flatland, foothills, and even sheer cliffs, this place is a birders paradise. I saw one Peregrine falcon and an Anna's hummingbird during my four hour hike, as well as several Cactus wrens (Arizona's state bird) and a Canyon wren.

The plants which flower in March provide essential nourishment to the many varieties of hummingbird which are migrating back from Central America to their summering grounds in the United States.

Several REALTORS specialize in this particular area of Tucson, and prices are very reasonable. 

Ocotillo flame in the Tucson Mountains, Tucson, AZ

_____________________

I'm Mike in Tucson, your preferred Tucson, AZ Mortgage lender.
Mike Jones (Tucson Mortgage Company, LLC): Loan Officer in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona
Think of me as your Tucson mortgage expert.

Call me if I can help you with a purchase or refi mortgage;
(520) 349-9090

photos copyright Mike in Tucson (all rights reserved)

Comment balloon 14 commentsMike Jones • March 16 2009 12:47AM

Comments

Mike, gosh I really have to come visit. It looks beautiful every time I see your photos. BTW - Brian absolutely loves hummingbirds. ~Rita

Posted by Brian Burke, Broker & Advising Expert-Denver Luxury Real Estate (Kenna Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Rita,

Thanks for being the first to comment!  It really is spectacular here, and we have more species of hummingbird than just about any place in the United States.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 10 years ago

Mike,

Another good morning!

When we first moved to Las Vegas, the hummingbirds amazed us, twice as big as the ones in Michigan and totally fearless.

Bill

Posted by William J. Archambault, Jr. (The Real Estate Investment Institute ) over 10 years ago

Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos. I love spring.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 10 years ago

Way ahead of us.  I did pick up some Pansies yesterday to put in an old tub in my yard. 

I also picked up some fake Tiger Lilies for color.

Got to have color. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Beautiful photos, Mike.  We are loaded with cardinals, bluebirds, chickadees, tufted titmouse and red-tailed hawks around here.  But no matter where one is ... they are all beautiful.

Posted by Carol Smith (Casmi Photography) over 10 years ago

Mike,

You sure love the great outdoors and always have some good pics to show off your area.

Posted by Don Rogers, Realtor, Broker, CDPE, GRI, OnullFallon MO & St Charles County MO homes (Keller Williams Realty Chesterfield) over 10 years ago

Don,

I believe you're right about that!  LOL

Carol,

So true!

Lenn,

Another four weeks, and you'll have color to spare in Maryland.

Gita,

You're welcome!  Me too!

Bill,

Good morning to you!  Those hummingbirds are headed north to Las Vegas and beyond.

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 10 years ago

I was amazed to see that there are some year-round hummingbirds to be found here in Southern Oregon. Have to make sure we keep the feeder loaded for them though, because nothing but sticks and evergreens to be found in our yard in the winter time. I wonder how the lil' guys survive the freezing temps?

Posted by Karen Cooper, Helping Homeowners w/Home Loans in 27 US States (Karen Cooper | Sr Retail Loan Originator ! NMLS # 223305 | 360 Mortgage Group LLC Austin Texas) over 10 years ago

Mike,

What a wonderful way to start off my morning! Thanks for these works of art! Great photos!!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 10 years ago

Dorie,

Remember when film had to be sent away and developed?  I'm loving digital technology.

Karen,

I didn't know they stayed all winter; it must be because people like you make them welcome!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 10 years ago

Hi Mike,

Great photos! Now I didn't realize their was more than one species of hummingbirds...or as my hubby calls them hummingbees! LOL! :)

Posted by Suzanne Sands, Somerset MA Real Estate (Pavao Real Estate) over 10 years ago

Mike - Beautiful shots. We get humingbirds up here as well but probably not as much as you down in the desert. I think I recognize those mountains. I drove down to old Tucson one day and it looks like those mountains which I don't remember the names of. Just remembe a lot of cactus on the way down there. Am I correct?  

Posted by Robert Hammerstein, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) over 10 years ago

Robert,

You're correct about the mountains.  As you drive down Kinney toward Old Tucson Studios, this ridge is on your right, between you and the City of Tucson. 

Where the cactus used to be, we have a couple of thousand new homes!

Suzanne,

There are dozens, ranging in size from the smallest (bumblebee size) to larger than you would imagine (nearly the size of a robin.)

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 10 years ago

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