After Kay played pickleball on Friday, we drove to Ironwood Forest National Monument, about an hour south of Casa Grande and just north of Tucson. Named because of the largest concentration of Ironwood in the US, Ironwood Forest supports many varieties of cacti as well. What was impressive, and not in a positive sense from our way of thinking, was the Silver Bell Mine. It was huge, sprawling adjacent to the national monument for seemingly miles. The low grade copper mine is part of a Mexican conglomerate. Just over 3 years ago, they petitioned Trump to rescind Federal protection of the area, but thus far have been unsuccessful. Many of the roads into and through the national monument were closed, so there is very little ability to traverse the area.
As it was approaching 4 PM when we finished touring Ironwood Forest NM, sunset awaited us at Saguaro NP, Tucson Mountain District. We found a spot to set up the tripod/camera for sunset photos; rapidly cooling temperatures “forced” us to remain in the car until near sunset. However, a Loggerhead Shrike kept returning to a nearby tree, so I reluctantly got out another tripod/camera combination with long telephoto lens to make a picture of the bird. With photos of the Loggerhead Shrike and cacti in the setting sun, we returned to Palm Creek for the evening.