The river is constantly patrolled by Common Mergansers and American Coots.
The park is full of Saguaros and other wonderful cactuses.
The first birds to appear were Gambel’s Quails – dozens and dozens of them. Unfortunately, they were very skittish and the so difficult to photograph.
This Curve-billed Thrasher was much more cooperative and sang happily from a utility wire while I took pictures.
In some areas, the ground was covered with White-crowned Sparrows. Mixed in with them were a few of that most beautiful of all sparrows, the Black-throated.
The trees were busy, too, with Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Anna’s Hummingbirds.
A friendly ranger took me to see a Great Horned Owl. When I looked, I saw that it was actually a Long-eared Owl, a much lesson bird and a lifer for me. A few minutes later it was joined by its partner and they both zigzagged away down a nearby wash.
The ranger tried to call up a Greater Roadrunner that usually comes to see him on his morning rounds. The Roadrunner didn’t appear but a pair of Cactus Wrens and a Northern Mockingbird came and perched on his truck instead.
Cactus Wrens breed year-round and several of the ones I saw were collecting nesting material.
Rabbits were plentiful and no doubt this is one reason why the park has a healthy population of bobcats and coyotes. I didn’t spot any bobcats but a family of three coyotes made a brief appearance.
By now the park was almost bursting at the seams with joggers and walkers, so I decided to go back and visit with my relatives. With any luck, I would be able to persuade Deanne to join me back at Thunderbird in the afternoon.