Monday, June 30, 2014

Chiricahua Mountains - III

Sometimes you return home after a photo trip and find a photo you didn't expect. Such is the case with the Mexican Jay photo today. It was after sunset, just a the moment when twilight becomes darkness. The result was a photo that could easy pass as a painting: 

Mexican Jay

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chiricahua Mountains - II

Today, some of the Hummingbirds:

Broad Billed Hummingbird

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Blue Throat Hummingbird

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Chiricahua Mountains of Southeast Arizona

I spent two days in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeast Arizona. Today, I thought I would share with you the woodpeckers I was able to find and photograph:

Acorn Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

Arizona Woodpecker

Gilded Flicker

Ladderback Woodpecker

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Other Photos from Mount Lemmon

In additional to the Grace's Warbler, I found Black Throated Gray Warblers, Painted Redstarts, Red Faced Warblers, Hermit and Swainson's Thrushes, Pygmy and White Breasted Nuthatches, House and Rock Wrens, more Yellow Eyed Junco's than you could count, Dusky Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Greater and Western Wood Pewee's, Raven's, Turkey Vulture, Red Tailed Hawks, oh ......... and a little family of Wild Turkeys. Here are some of the photos:

Wild Turkey Chick
Hermit Thrush
House Wren
Red Faced Warbler
Greater Pewee
Rock Wren
Black Throated Gray Warbler

Painted Redstart

Monday, June 23, 2014

Still Another Trip Up Mount Lemmon

As I mentioned I am focusing on Mount Lemmon this summer trying to find as many different Warblers as I can. I had been hoping for a Grace's but it had eluded me until last Friday. I was able to get several photos although none were "sellable." Finding the Grace's once should help me find more in the future. I know what to look for now. They seem to prefer tree-tops. Mostly the ponderosa pines with an occasional foray into the oaks. But all 30 to 40 feet off the ground. So, when I go next time I'll try to get up on the side of the mountain so that I am at a better angle. Here then, is the best I got:

Grace's Warbler

Sunday, June 22, 2014

McDonald Park, Tucson, Arizona

I have to keep reminding myself that municipal parks can offer very good birding opportunities. One such park, McDonald Park, is about one mile from our B&B. I made a quick stop and in less than 15 minutes found an adult Cooper's Hawk with three fledglings, a couple of Ash Throated Flycatchers, and several Blue Gray Gnatcatchers.

Ash Throated Flycatcher

Cooper's Hawk Fledgling

Cooper's Hawk Fledgling

Blue Gray Gnatcatcher

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Virginia Rail

The Virginia Rail is found throughout the United States and Mexico, yet, it always seems exciting to find one. They aren't abundant; and they usually spend most of their time in weed beds -- only occasionally coming out into the open (though still not far from the cover of those weed beds). This photo was taken at Whitewater Draw in Southeast Arizona.

Virginia Rail

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Violet Crowned Hummingbird

We're getting close to the end of my alphabetical series of my "5" Star Photos. Up now, the Violet Crowned Hummingbird, a gorgeous hummer from central Mexico that comes as far north as the southern Madrean Sky Islands. It is a regular visitor to Paton House in Patagonia and occasional visitor to Madera Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains and to the Huachuca Mountains. Its bright red bill, white breast and throat make it very easy to identify:

Violet Crowned Hummingbird

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vermillion Flycatcher - V

And, finally the less colorful, but still fun to watch female Vermillion Flycatcher. This photo was taken in Tanque Verde Wash not far from our house:

Vermillion Flycatcher - Female

Monday, June 16, 2014

Vermillion Flycatcher - IV

And, another Vermillion Flycatcher, this time from Agua Caliente, yet another municipal park here in Tucson:

Vermillion Flycatcher - Male

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Vermillion Flycatcher - III

And here is a Vermillion Flycatcher photo taken at Fort Lowell Park, another municipal park here in Tucson. I love the composition, with the little red bird sitting on the edge of the sign:

Vermillion Flycatcher - Male

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Vermillion Flycatcher - II

This photo was taken at Lakeside Park, a municipal park here in Tucson:

Vermillion Flycatcher - Male

Friday, June 13, 2014

Vermillion Flycatcher - I

One of the most beautiful birds is the Vermillion Flycatcher. They are found in Mexico, and the southernmost parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. While not abundant, they are relatively easy to find. Birders from other parts of the US (and World) come to Southern Arizona and this is one of their "target" birds.

Here is the first of several "5" Star Vermillion Flycatcher Photos:

Vermillion Flycatcher - Male

Varied Bunting

Next up: the Varied Bunting. A very colorful bird that we occasionally find here in Southern Arizona:

Varied Bunting

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Two Tailed Swallowtail

Continuing with my alphabetical series on my "5" Star Photos we come to the Two Tailed Swallowtail. 

I was hiking in Huachuca Canyon, Huachuca Mountains, Arizona when I came across a small stream with hundreds of Two Tailed Swallowtail butterflies. I was able to get many good photos. Here's the one I like best:

Two Tailed Swallowtail

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

More from Mount Lemmon

Continuing from yesterday, as I sat watch these birds come into the little pool of water to take flies, a very unexpected thing happened. A bat came flying in low, just above the creek bed. He flew back and forth and then finally landed on the ground. It was a Southwestern Myotis. We're talking about 1:00 in the afternoon -- not at night. The ponderosa pines, douglas firs, and other trees kept this area very dark, yet it still seemed very unusual. It's the first bat I've seen eating during the day. Here is one of the photos I took: 

Southwestern Myotis

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Another trip up Mount Lemmon

Mount Lemmon, being right outside my door, is easy for me to get to. And, birding this time of the year can be pretty good. However, it has been months since we've had any rain to speak of so everything is dry including streams and creeks on Mount Lemmon. Yet, I found a spot in Rose Canyon where there was still a little water --- very little. And, as such attracted lots of bugs. Which, in turn, attracted birds. So I sat about 15 feet away and watched as one bird after another took turns catching those bugs. Here are some photos:

Painted Redstart

Pygmy Nuthatch

Hermit Thrush

House Wren

Spotted Towhee

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Under-appreciated Turkey Vulture - II

I have taken many photos of birds in flight; even a few awards: Harrier Hawk in a dusty Eastern Oregon with the sun shinning through the dust, and a Bald Eagle at take off. This Turkey Vulture I like, not simply because of its graceful flight but the composition that includes out of focus leaves on a tree and blue sky with some light clouds:

Turkey Vulture

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Under-appreciated Turkey VultureTurk

Continuing with my alphabetical series of my "5" Star Photos we come to the Turkey Vulture.

Turkey Vultures provide an invaluable service in nature. What do they do? They eat carrion; animals and birds that have died and would otherwise bring maggots, flies and other disease carriers to the general population.

But aside from that, they are also quite beautiful and graceful when flying.

This is an older photo that has lost some of its sharpness, but look how beautiful he is as he airs out his wings:

Turkey Vulture

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Trumpeter Swan - II

And another Trumpeter Swan. This one taken in a small body of water somewhere on US Highway 2 on the way over Steven's Pass in the Cascades:

Trumpeter Swan

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Trumpeter Swan - I

Here's an earlier "5" Star Photo taken in the early 90's at Frenchman's Hill in Central Washington:

Trumpeter Swan (Redhead in the foreground)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Mating Butterflies

Continuing with my "5" Star Photos we come to a pair of Transendean Cattlehearts mating:

Transandean Cattleheart