Thursday, July 30, 2015

Warblers of Mount Lemmon

Tuesday was a good day birding Mount Lemmon. Especially, Incinerator Ridge. It was about as "birdie" as I've seen it. Six warblers there.

Now, of course, photographing warblers is not one of the easiest tasks. They are typically foraging constantly disappearing in pine needles or leaves. So the way to find them is by looking for movement. That is movement from one branch to another, one tree to another. If it is windy, that isn't easy.

Once you find one you need a burst of photos hoping to get one in ten where you can clearly see his face. Autofocus is about the only chance since warblers are in constant motion.

(As I am writing this I glanced out my window and saw a Cooper's Hawk swoop down and grab a Mourning Dove. He's now sitting in a Palo Verde tree plucking leaves).

Back to the Warblers. Some warblers are more difficult than others because they like tree tops. That's a tough photo when shooting up into the sky trying to photograph a 5 inch bird that is 60 to 80 feet above you.

Yet, I did get some nice (though not great) photos:

Black Throated Gray Warbler

Olive Warbler

Painted Redstart

Red Faced Warbler

Townsend's Warbler

Virginia's Warbler
I am going to try to get back up to Incinerator Ridge today. Doesn't mean they'll still be around though. Thing is, birds have wings.

But something drew them to Incinerator Ridge. Hopefully, that food source is still there. We will see. But I'd like to get some better shots. And who knows, maybe they'll be a Grace's or a Hermit Warbler there too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Desert Grasslands of Las Cienegas: Surprises


I've been photographing wildlife for over 25 years. When I go on photo trips I'm up before dawn and usually out until dark. And while I have often seen Nightjars swooping around at dawn and dusk I have rarely seen them during the day. Actually, only once before yesterday. 

So, when I found a Lesser Nighthawk sitting in a mesquite tree at about 11:30 am I was excited. Much like owls, they sit and sleep (or rest) during the day. This enabled me to get close enough for some nice photos.

So my trip to Las Cienegas provided a very nice surprise.




Lesser Nighthawk

Lesser Nighthawk






Monday, July 27, 2015

Empire Gulch, Las Cienegas, Southern Arizona: A Birding Heaven

Up early yesterday and on my way to Las Cienegas National Conservation Area in Southeastern Arizona. This is one of my favorite birding spots. There are essentially two types of birding. Empire Gulch provides a riparian like setting, while the rest of the 25,000 acres is desert grasslands.

There is a spring in Empire Gulch that provides surface water for about 100 yards. And, 100 yards of water among 25,000 acres of desert grasslands is a birding oasis. 

It is here that I have found Yellow, MacGillivray's, Wilson's, Black-Throated Gray, Black and White, Lucy's, Orange Crowned, and Yellow Rumped Warblers. In the winter Ruby Crowned Kinglets galore. Warbling Vireos, all the tanagers, and the list goes on.

Yesterday, I walked away with two warblers that are more often heard than seen: The Yellow Breasted Chat and the Common Yellowthroat. Both provided me some nice photos:

Yellow Breasted Chat


Common Yellowthroat

Tomorrow I'll include some photos from the Desert Grasslands.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Birding Mount Lemmon - IX: Female Hummingbird Feeding it's Young

Mount Lemmon provides great birding for a variety of warblers, typical mountains birds, AND for nesting hummingbirds. Rose Canyon Lake on Mount Lemmon provides perfect hummingbird habitat. so it is not uncommon to see hummers and even find their nests. 

On this particular occasion I came across a juvenile Broad Tailed Hummingbird (native to the interior Southwest US) sitting on a dead branch and not willing to move no matter how close I got. I suspect its mother told him to wait right there so it did what it was told as good children do.

Soon mom came zooming in, sat on an adjacent branch, and started feeding the little guy. Here is a series of photos I took of the event:










Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Birding Mount Lemmon - VIII

And the last of Birding Mount Lemmon:


Black Throated Gray Warbler

Yellow Eyed Junco feeding her young

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Common Raven

Western Bluebird

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Birding Mount Lemmon - VII

Still more photos from Birding Mount Lemmon:

Downy Woodpecker

Black Throated Gray Warbler

House Wren

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Red Faced Warbler

Monday, July 20, 2015

Birding Mount Lemmon - VI

More from Birding Mount Lemmon the past two (now three) weeks:

Broad Tailed Hummingbird on Nest

Western Tanager

Painted Redstart

Dusky Flycatcher

Hermit Thrush