parabuteo (from para, near, and buteo, hawk) unicinctus (from unus, one, and cinctus, girdled)
Wednesday, April 4, 1984 — 7:00 pm, just a few minutes after the sun dipped below the horizon
Saguaro National Monument, Arizona — West Unit
Dad had counseling this evening, so Sally, Mom and I had to clear out of the apartment. We drove to the West Unit of Saguaro. Near the visitor center, there was an interpretive trail through a small stand of native plants. We were walking this trail when I decided to take a picture of I don’t remember what. I do remember that in positioning myself for the shot, I backed into a prickly pear cactus. I just brushed against it for a second, but it took Sal and Mom about 10 minutes to pull all the spines out of my back.
We drove around a bit, looking at the saguaros, then sat in a picnic shelter on a small rise and took in the sights and smells of a desert sunset.
As we were driving slowly toward the park entrance, I spotted a Harris’s Hawk perched on top of a saguaro in a thick stand. I set up my scope inside the van and got a good look. It was scraggly looking, like it was molting, and it had almost no feathers on its head. It sat looking around for a few minute, then flew off out of sight.