Black-throated Sparrow; Amphispiza bilineata – Texas Canyon, Arizona: Ever since I was a kid my dad told me about Texas Canyon. “It’s an amazing place” he would say. “Gigantic boulders stacked atop each other, just amazing.” Back in the late 40’s and early 50’s he drove a moving van to and from the west coast on a regular basis and passed through Texas Canyon often. He always wanted me to see Texas Canyon.
On one of my first trips west, I drove Interstate 10 to Tucson, and on the way I passed through Texas Canyon. It was in fact an amazing place and looked much as I had expected, boulders atop boulders. Over the years I would pass through Texas Canyon numerous times, but always in a hurry to get from where I had been to where I was going.
This past summer, July 5th to be exact, I found myself once more driving through Texas Canyon, and reminiscing about my dad and the number of times he had mentioned Texas Canyon. This time I pulled off the road to see if there was more to Texas Canyon than I had seen from the interstate rest stop.
Within a quarter mile of the interstate I turned into the Triangle T Guest Ranch. The drive into the ranch was scenic, but I was soon turned around and heading back to the interstate. The best views actually were from the interstate rest stop. As I was leaving the ranch I noticed half a dozen sparrows swooping across the road in front of me. Immediately I stomped on my breaks and while coming to a stop I said to my wife ( with great excitement), black-throated sparrows……that’s another lifer!Within a few seconds I was scrambling for my camera. The birds were perched on small trees where the drive turned onto the main highway. Using my van as a blind I pulled along side the trees that the sparrows were fly to and from. The setting I found myself was just perfect. The background was clean and the birds were incredibly cooperative, the images were more than I could have hoped for. My dad was right…..Texas Canyon is an amazing place!
Top Image: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/640 second @ f8, beanbag supportBottom Image: Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/800 second @ f8, beanbag support