New territory for me, the Tortolita Mountains border the northwest edge of the Tucson valley, near the town of Oro Valley which is where we live and Marana. They are the smallest of Tucson's mountain ranges, however they still feature rugged peaks, gullies, canyons and tall saguaros. To get started, I printed out a map from the website http://www.marana.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/1314 and decided to shoot for the Upper Javelina Trail. Chosen not because the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort can be seen from the trail, but because it looked like the quietest and least traveled. (Going alone, I also let hubby know where I'd be.)
Initially, the Wild Burro Trail weaves in and out of a dry riverbed before getting to the split off where the 'Upper Javelina Trail' starts. The signs were so lacking at the parking lot and along the trail that I was a bit lost, even with my map. And, I wasn't the only one lost. A small group of ladies couldn't find their way back to the parking lot, so I took a quick cell phone photo to make note of my surroundings. Letting go of ever finding my exact trail destination, it was time to relax and just watch for birds.
Within minutes of settling in to enjoy myself, I spot a Red-tailed hawk on a tall saguaro. Wow...they are a pair and in an early courtship display. Because hawks can fly at 40 miles per hour and are typically high in the wind currents I was excited to get a few images, even if they far away. And unless they are standing side by side, don't ask me which is the female or male!