Monday, December 22, 2008

December 22-29

I don't know about you, but after Christmas day I'm ready to get outside. All the extra food and time spent inside for various events makes me crave a hike in the fresh air. Luckily in Tucson, that's not difficult.

How about participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count? The first Christmas Bird Count was held on December 25th, 1900 and the long-term data collected through t
he years provides information on bird population trends. This in turn informs decisions made on protecting our feathered friends.

The San Pedro River is named by the Nature Conservancy as one of the
Last Great Places. Walking along the river you may see coatimundi, javelina, beaver or over 100 bird species. The San Pedro flows north, out of Mexico. A river running north is not something you see every day, unless of course you live on the San Pedro. But, go see it for yourself. There are docent led walks this weekend or take a walk on your own. My kids and I have spent many happy hours on the banks of the San Pedro. While there be sure to visit the Fairbank townsite the remnants of a once thriving railroad town.

You might like to spend some time just wandering the
oita Creek Nature Conservancy Preserve. This is another riparian area that is counter to the desert environment most people associate with Arizona. The conservancy does great work protecting the fragile biodiversity of the watershed.

Did you know Arizona is becoming a respected wine region? There are many wineries scattered in the grassy hills of the Sonoita-Elgin area. A drive through wine country may be just the post-holiday respite you crave. A few years ago my family took part in the grape harvest at Charron Vineyards a little closer to Tucson. Leo produces a very fine white Merlot and tastings are held every weekend. You might also like to try Callaghan Vineyards producers of award winning wines which have been served at the White House. More information on area wineries can be found here.Sandhill cranes are reaching peak numbers of their migration and will be heading north in a couple of months. Wings Over Willcox provides information on spots that are favored by the cranes.

That's quite of varie
ty to bring you our of your post-holiday stupor. Get up and get out!

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