About a month ago I visited the Santa Cruz River and observed all the different species of animals. Since then, I visited the river two more times and each time there was water. On July 6th I visited the river again. To my surprise the river had no water flowing in its banks. I have visited the Santa Cruz River many times in the year, especially during bird walks in the months of January through April, but I have never seen it dry. The celebration of the summer rains of El Dia de San Juan have passed and so far very little rain has fallen since. We may be looking at late monsoon this year.
Yet life is resilient. I walked to where the stream usually is and to my astonishment I saw jumping frogs. Then, I got startled by rustling leaves on the ground; it was a whip-tailed lizard (Cnemidophorus sonorae). Above me, I heard all kinds of singing birds. To my right was the sound of a well concealed Yellow-breasted chat (Icteria virens). On top of
the Freemont cottonwoods (Populus fremontii) was a gray hawk (Buteo plagiatus) in search of its next prey. All over the river I could hear lesser goldfinches (Spinus psaltria). Life at the river continues its usual course, but for how long? Eventually we are going to need life’s most precious resource: water.