A Festive Anniversary Week in the Sonoran Desert. Part 7: Snowbirds

December 11-17, 2022

The much anticipated finale, Snowbirds, and wrap-up to a grand anniversary week celebration in and around Tucson, AZ, follows!

Despite an unexpected snow the evening of our arrival, we never seemed to slow down, taking in as many sights and good eats as humanly possible. …… Open the full post for a recap of our week, and a bit about some of the birds we found while traveling around.

Our route map highlighting major sights and eateries (from Part 3 blog post, January 23, 2023)

In my previous six blog posts, I shared a map of our travel route (above) and the highlights of the sights we visited, beginning with our explorations surrounding “la Casita,” our home base north of Tucson.  We spent 2 days driving and hiking in the East and West units of Saguaro National Park learning about the saguaro forest and companion vegetation. The park, along with Casa Grande Ruins National Monument located between Tucson and Phoenix, provided a wealth of information about the prehistoric inhabitants of the desert ….. who they were and how they lived. Then curious about the country south of Tucson, we took a day to explore the desert near the Mexican border, passing by towering Kitt Peak and its brilliant white observatory, before driving through a lush grassy wildlife refuge that bordered the funky mountain artist retreat of Arivaca.  And finally when the scenic highway up to the top of Mt. Lemmon was cleared of snow, we enjoyed a day of desert to pine and fir forest vegetation and impressive vistas high above Tucson. 

What a wonderful week. But the week wasn’t all about plants. The birds showed up too!

And now …… Snowbirds.

Many birds choose to overwinter in the Sonoran, and we enjoyed learning about the species encountered throughout the week.

Snowbirds, page 1

This and the next page of bird illustrations, we’re drawn from my many photos and memory recall, and includes just a sampling of what we observed. None of the birds we encountered were new species to us, but because several don’t range north to central New Mexico, their rediscovery was exciting.

Snowbirds, page 2

Most abundant and most vocal were the Gila woodpeckers …… sounding exactly like Luna’s squeaky toys, they flew from saguaro to saguaro checking out possible nesting holes for the upcoming breeding season.  These woodpeckers were great fun, but if we had to pick our favorite species, it would be the Phainopepla. Always seen perching high on a tree branch showing off their beautifully glossy, satin black coat of feathers, they made for a spectacular sight.


I hope you’ve enjoyed these journal pages. 

And many thanks for following this and the previous blog posts illustrating our anniversary week in and around Tucson.   


  1. Michele Lee says:

    Beautiful creations! You are very observant with a keen eye.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful comment, Michele! Thank you so much, and thanks for following my posts!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Traveling description so awesome and photos specially variety of birds so precious 🌹🙏❤️👌 thank you for sharing and grace wishes dear friend 🌹❤️🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for following my posts, Thattamma! Have a lovely day!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much dear friend and happy weekend wishes 🌹🙏♥️🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful birds that you noticed with your keen eye! It must have been spectacular to see the Western Bluebirds swoop in above you! A delightful page!


    1. Thanks so much, Karen! I just love bird encounters!


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