John F. Kennedy Park / KERP - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

December 31, 2020

John F. Kennedy Park / KERP

Another day when we decided to strike out on our own.  Rachael pulled in the big stats for the team with a 43 mile out and back to the end of Julian Wash.  I mapped out a route for myself that was nearly as long, but took me to two new spots: John F. Kennedy Park, one of the birding hotspots in town listed on eBike; and along the El Paso and Southwestern Greenway, a spur of the Loop that connects the Julian Wash bikeway with Aviation Bikeway.

Both of these new sites slowed me down significantly.  Kennedy Park is quite a good birding area, and I imagine if I lingered around for a few hours I could put up a decent list.  I saw a Cooper’s hawk and a night heron there, but not well enough to get a real shot of either; but the redheads and pied-billed grebe were worth the trip, as were the fine views north.  I’ll probably make my way back here again before we leave town.

The El Paso and Southwestern Bikeway is attractive too, and worth riding again.  It’s short, but attractive enough to be worth stitching in to a longer Loop ride.  I’m sure it’s a ride Rachael would enjoy.  The bikeway skirts the Kino Environmental Restoration Project (KERP) site, which is bringing life back to an area that was developed as a storm water retention basin.  It’s an attractive little oasis now, a desert/wetland embedded in the middle of south Tucson.

There were enough reasons to drag my feet that once I left KERP it was getting too late in the day to complete the loop I had planned.  Instead, I took the Aviation Bikeway back into town as the most direct way home.  Taking me over the Aviation Parkway and Rattlesnake Bridges, that was pretty great too.  An upbeat way to end a terrible year.

Always a good omen for a ride. This one was amazingly bold, casually sidling up to the edge of the path about 15 feet from me. I like shots like this where the orange racing stripe behind the eye is exposed.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Jacquie GaudetI think this is your best roadrunner photo yet!
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4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetThanks, Jacquie. Such an entertaining bird. Apparently the red and blue eye coloring is a feature that comes out in breeding season, so maybe this is a harbinger of spring.
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4 months ago
Some wheelbarrows, Mission Road.
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From John F. Kennedy Park. This is a more interesting angle on Sentinel Peak, seen from the south with the Santa Catalinas behind.
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On Kennedy Lake: coots, rock doves and redheads.
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I’ve always had a soft spot for redheads. My first crush back in first grade was Carolyn Straughn, a redhead with freckles.
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Bruce LellmanMy first crush in first grade was my teacher.
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4 months ago
Orange feet. It looks like he uses that swelling breastbone as a beak rest.
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Pied-billed grebes. I wasn’t sure at first, because the bill isn’t striped. Apparently the stripe disappears outside of breeding season.
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Jen GrumbyThem birds over there may seem tame
But they come with an insulting name
You damned pie billed grebe!
You swim like a dweeb!
And your short bill is so very lame!
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4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyPretty dark, Jen! Greg must be rubbing off on you.
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4 months ago
At the gateway to Kennedy Park, this sculpture is a stylized representation of the Tucson Mountains.
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As with Sentinel Peak, I think the best view of downtown Tucson is from the south with the mountains behind.
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Julian Wash not only has more water now, but seems noticeably greener than it did a week ago.
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Eastbound on Julian Wash, biking under another interesting sky.
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Biking past the Kino Environmental Reclamation Project (KERP) site, on the El Paso and Southwestern Greenway.
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On the El Paso and Southwestern Greenway.
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This view across the KERP reservoir to Mount Lemmon is pretty, but I especially like it for the ring-necked duck floating on it.
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In case you didn’t spot it above, here’s a better look.
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Kelly IniguezI like the rippling water, especially.
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4 months ago
A mysterious red growth along the Aviation Bikeway.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be barometer bush.

https://www.backyardnature.net/n/w/cenizo.htm
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4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltThat has to be it. Another plant I haven’t heard of. I especially like knowing where it’s name comes from.
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4 months ago
Crossing Euclid on the Aviation Bikeway Bridge.
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Worth doubling back below for a side view.
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Yikes! Sorry, Frank - I forgot to warn you there was a snake in here.
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I didn’t realize it at the time, but here’s the rest of the snake. This is the Rattlesnake Bridge, right next to the rattler’s tail above. The head is at the opposite end, but I didn’t notice that I was biking under its fangs when I exited. I’ll have to go back.
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Kelly IniguezWhen we parted ways, Sharon was heading for the Kino Project to birdwatch. I promptly turned the wrong direction on Ajo, but quickly figured out my mistake!
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4 months ago

Ride stats today: 43 miles, 1,100’; for the tour: 1,472 miles, 51,000’

Today's ride: 43 miles (69 km)
Total: 1,453 miles (2,338 km)

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