Photography by Jayme A. Kelter

Through the course of three months, during fifteen different days for a total of more than fifty hours I did nothing other than watch, listen, walk and sit. Each of those fifteen days I found myself at Agua Caliente. I was observing and learning the routines of the birds that frequent the park; I can only find the funny looking woodpecker in the small grove of juniper trees, I can always count on a pair of cardinals to be in the bushes behind one of the buildings, the humming birds sound like rusty bikes scooting along, I hear the kingfisher cackling at me again but I just left that perch three minutes ago, the entire flock of grackles over a hundred strong leave their roosts just before the sun peaks above the mountains. How many of us make the time to sit and observe, the time to allow themselves to become surrounded by the natural forces?

Throughout the past 150 years the area now known as the Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Regional Park has undergone a great amount of change. The site consists of one natural hot spring and one cool spring. Initially the springs continuously fed a river which was later tamed and converted into the three manmade ponds that exist today. The influx of people moving into the Tucson Basin has caused the water table to dwindle and there is less water available for the springs. At present the daily outflow isn’t enough to keep the first pond full on its own. What will happen to this area as time goes on? How much longer will these experiences and these birds inhabit this land?


© Jayme A. Kelter 2011