Sunday, September 30, 2012

Agua Caliente - Part II

Next up. Green Heron:

The Green Heron is a little more secretive and typically more nocturnal than the other herons. It is also much smaller than the other herons. 

This particular one I captured early morning and was able to get very close, laying down on my stomach with arms as a tripod.  He posed very nicely for me:

Green Heron

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Agua Caliente, Tucson, Arizona

Agua Caliente is about 4 miles from The Azure Gate B&B. It is often overlooked by birders.  In the next couple of days I'll share some photos I've taken there. First up: Herons, starting with the Black Crowned. 

Christopher Columbus Lake on the West Side of Tucson, is also a good spot for Black Crowned Night Herons, as is Lakeside Park about 5 miles south of us. But, Agua Caliente is the subject today and below are photos of the Black Crowned Night Heron in both the juvenile and adult plumage:

Juvenile Black Crowned Night Heron

Adult Black Crowned Night Heron

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson is a must see for visitors to Southern Arizona. It is a combination wildlife preserve, zoo, and botanical garden. It has a wonderful Hummingbird Aviary where you can walk amongst dozens of hummingbirds. There is also a Bird Aviary which you can walk through as well. Although I don't sell photos from zoos or other captive locations, nor do I include them in any of my books, it's hard not to take a photo when I go to the Desert Museum. 

Below are photographs of four of the five cats of Southern Arizona and Sonora, Mexico. The fifth, the Jaguar is not at the museum. Of the five, the Bobcat is the most common (approximately 750,00 in the US). I have included many Bobcat photos from the wild in previous posts. The Mountain Lion is also  common in the Western US  (approximately 30,000). Next comes the Ocelot, which although common in Mexico and South America is nearly extinct in the US (about 50 - 100 in Texas, and less than 10 in Arizona). Jaguars have been sighted in the Southern Arizona mountains that border on Mexico -- almost always by tracking dogs. Sightings are once every couple of years.  The Margay, is not found in the US but has a northernmost range that includes Sonora, Mexico and southernmost range that includes Chile. (remember you can click on a photo to enlarge it): 



Mountain Lion


Monday, September 24, 2012

A Big Thank You!!

It all started three years ago today. My first post on my first blog site. In those three years I have had 63,206 visitors. While not exactly Julie/Julia territory, I am nonetheless thankful for all of those who chose to visit. And, while I am aware that it is the "World Wide Web", I have been stunned that I have gotten so many visitors from Russia, Germany, India, Australia, The Netherlands, France and Mexico. The leading three are the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. which is not quite as surprising because they make up the lion's share of our B&B guests. There are several very faithful visitors who mention something to me on the phone or through email. And, there are a few faithful that comment frequently on my site including Rohrerbot who inspires me to continue.

As for the posts themselves, here are the most frequented pages:

Yellowstone National Park: 2005 Page Views, 11/29/2009
Cinnamon Black Bear

Prickly Pear Cactus Blossoms: 818 Page Views, 4/26/10
Prickly Pear Cactus in Bloom

Eating: Carnivores: 790 Page Views, 6/30/10
Grey Wolf

Gila Monster: 569 Page Views, 5/4/10
Gila Monster

Black Bear Scolding: 524 Page Views, 11/30/9
Black Bear with Cuibs

Thank you all again.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Three Pairs

Of course, not all husbands and wives can be identified easy as male or female. Nonetheless, here are three pairs: Swans, Geese, Pelicans:

Tundra Swan

White Fronted Goose

White Pelican

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Husbands & Wives - Part II

More Husbands and Wives:

Mr. & Mrs. Mallard

Mr. & Mrs. Shoveler

Friday, September 21, 2012

From Mothers with Babies to Husbands and Wives.

More pairs. Now,  Husbands and Wives.

Mr. & Mrs. Cardinal

Mr. & Mrs. Cinnamon Teal

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mothers with Babies, Last one

One last post -- for now -- of mothers with babies. I usually think in terms of mammals, then birds with their chicks, but there are others to be considered. Take this parent with it's young for example:

Desert Spiny Lizard
 Of course, seeing mammals nursing their young for me is a treat:

American Bison with Calf

White Tail Deer with Fawn

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mother's With Babies - Easy and Hard

Continuing with Mothers with Babies, sometimes it's easy and other times it's hard. I was driving into Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone, which is the main town where there is a Visitor's Center, hotel, gas station, post office, etc. There in the middle of town on a patch of grass was an Elk feeding her fawn. Elk in Yellowstone, like Jasper and Banff in Alberta are common visitors in and around the townsites. They are used to being around people and so don't run off. A photograph is not terribly difficult to get.

Elk with Fawn

On the other hand, I was driving along the Columbia Icefield that separates Banff and Jasper scanning the mountain cliffs for Goats when I saw a white spec at the top of the mountain. Looking through my binoculars I could tell that it was a Mountain Goat. So, I pulled off to the side of the road and waited, hoping it was coming down the mountain and not up. After 10 minutes or so it appeared to be coming down the mountain. Great! All I have to do is wait until it reaches the bottom --- well, unless it changes its mind, that is. After another 20 minutes I checked again. This time I saw a second Mountain Goat. But this one was a baby. So, now I am really excited. Took another hour but finally they reached the bottom. Mom would keep an eye on me, the little kid wasn't much interested in me. It was more interested in being ...... a kid.

Mountain Goat with Kid

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mothers with Babies

Back to a few more mothers with their babies. This time Roadrunners & Swainson's Hawk:


Swainson's Hawk

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cooper's Hawk Story

I have been planted several Desert Willow Trees and Texas Rangers which require some -- not a lot -- of water. So, I have also been extending our irrigation system. Yesterday, I was sitting on the ground digging a trench to bury the water line when a Cooper's Hawk flew down and sat on the ground about 20 feet from me. It seemed a bit odd -- for both of us -- so we stared at each other for a bit. Then, even more to my surprise he started walking toward me. Now, it was only three or four feet but it still seemed curious. Then the "mystery" was solved. He grabbed something off the ground and flew off into a tree. I am guessing that he had captured this "something" and I scared him away. Sooner of later, hunger got the best of him and he decided it was worth the gamble to come back and get it. I don't usually take my camera with me when I am working on the property, but I have a previous photo of a Cooper's Hawk on the ground eating a quail he captured:

Juvenile Cooper's Hawk eating a Gambels Quail

Friday, September 14, 2012

More Moms with Babies Deja Vu

So there I was, sitting at my desk thinking about my blog. I had started up Moms and Babies again, with Pronghorn and Javelinas as my first post, when I glanced outside my office and saw a mom with baby Javelina. So, camera in hand I tried to get some photos. Dad was around as well so first dad, and then mom with piglet.

Male Javelina

Female Javelina with Piglet

Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Moms with Babies

Back by popular demand, more moms with babies. And to start, since I've been talking about Pronghorn and Javelinas:

Javelina with one-day old piglet

Actually, this is a Dad with a juvenile fawn

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cienega Creek Preserve

Also, roaming around the Cienega Creek Preserve is a herd of Pronghorn. Sometimes they'll come close to highway 83 near Sonoita, but typically more on the Preserve. It's not easy to get close to Pronghorn. They have huge eyes and can detect movement from 4 miles away. Here are a couple shots from the Preserve: 



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An Outing

Christine and I had a day off so left early in the morning to do a hike and picnic in Garden Canyon (on the Fort Huachuca Post). We took back roads to get there, driving through the Cienega Creek Preserve, which is a wonderful birding area. Passing through we found several Tropical Kingbirds, and to our surprise a couple of Javelinas. Evidently the flooding had caused some damage to the already 4x4 only road in Garden Canyon, so the Sawmill Trail was inaccessible. However, we did picnic there under one of the covered picnic tables. Then it was off to Ramsey Canyon to hike. Nice hike, but it was rainy and cold so birding wasn't great. In fact, no hummingbirds at all. Still a great place to hike. Here are the photos from Cienega:

Javelinas at Cienega Creek Preserve

Tropical Kingbirds at Cienega Creek Preserve

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bears and Dandelions

I was reminded this morning of a trip to Alberta. I was going over the Continental divide -- which also separated Alberta from British Columbia, when I looked in my driver's side rear view mirror and saw a large Black Bear on the side of the mountain. What I realized from this was that I could NOT see the bear when I passed it because of the angle, but could see him once past because the angle was quite different. So, now as I drive in the mountains, especially around moderate or hairpin turns I glance at the rear view mirror just in case. Saw a Bobcat that way several years later. Anyway, in today's photos, first the Black Bear after I stopped the car and walked back toward him, and second, moments later when he decided he wanted more privacy and darted down the mountainside.

Black Bear among the Dandelions
Black Bear now running down the mountain

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A few more from Ash Canyon

One of the other delights from Ash Canyon are the woodpeckers. Often you'll see the Arizona Woodpecker, the Ladderback Woodpecker, the Acorn Woodpecker, and the Gila Woodpecker. Here are a few photos from my trip the other day:

Acorn Woodpecker

Ladderback Woodpecker Female

Ladderback Woodpecker Male

Saturday, September 8, 2012

More from Ash Canyon

Heading out now for Ramsey Canyon, but a couple more photos from Ash Canyon, this time Rufous: (especially nice detail on the first -- click to enlarge)

Female Rufous Hummingbird

Female Rufous Hummingbird

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ash Canyon: The Premier Location for Hummingbirds - 2012

As I mentioned in a post a few days ago, the Hummingbird season started off very slow, especially at the Ash Canyon B&B. However, the last couple of weeks have been incredible. Mary Jo (at Ash Canyon) has created, at least for 2012, the premier hummingbird sight, overtaking Beatty's Orchard in Miler Canyon (still a great sight as well). But at Ash Canyon the numbers are very high as are the species. Here's the list from Ash Canyon:

Anna's; Black Chinned; Broad Billed; Broad Tailed, Calliope, Costa's, Lucifer, Magnificent, Plain Capped Starthroat; Rufous, and Violet Crowned. that's eleven species. The only ones missing are the Berylline (which hasn't been reported anywhere this year); and the Blue Throat and White Eared which can be found in Miller Canyon.

Ash Canyon has always been the most reliable place for Lucifer, and at the moment, it is the most reliable place for the Plain Capped Starthroat. (Miller Canyon remains the most reliable place for the Blue Throat and White Eared. Patton's in Patagonia remains the most reliable place for Violet Crowned, although it has been seen this year in Madera Canyon, Ramsey Canyon, Miller Canyon, and Ash Canyon). 

With another trip yesterday, nice photos of Lucifer male and female, as well as the Starthroat male and female.

The female Plain Capped Starthroat is on the feeder. The other two approaching are Black Chinned

Male Lucifer

Male Plain Capped Starthroat

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


While the baseball season is beginning to wind down, the "Bats" are just getting started. Yes, the migrating Bats -- mostly from Mexico are arriving in big numbers. I always know the exact date they arrive. Why? Because all the hummingbird feeders are completely drained overnight. It was a mystery the first year. Finally, after four days in a row of draining the feeders at night I decided to stand watch. Much to my amazement, about 40 bats dashed from feeder to feeder, never staying more than a split second on any one feeder. They created a circular "track" of sorts; kind of like a loop, never stopping just going from feeder to feeder. As I said, an amazing sight.

Getting good photographs of this "event" has been challenging since it is completely dark and they are moving very very fast. But, with flash in hand and quick reflexes, well ........ Here are some I've taken on the feeders. 

Mexican Long Tongue Bat

Mexican Long Tongue Bat

Mexican Long Tongue Bat

Bats, contrary to some popular beliefs, are exceeding necessary. Case in point: Bats consume over 300,000 TONS! of insects every year in the United States. Thank you very much.

The last two photos were easy. In the first case, the Fringed Myotis was lying face down on our brick patio. He evidently flew into a window and was "knocked out." I could see that he was still breathing however. So, after taking a couple of photos, I used some towels to encircle him, trying to keep him warm and somewhat protected. I came back after about 30 minutes and he was gone. 

Fringed Myotis

And, the last photo a sleeping Mexican Long Nosed Bat -- all by himself, asleep under the eave of our roof.

Sleeping Mexican Long Nose Bat