Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Monday, September 29, 2014
Sunday, September 28, 2014
The White Eared Hummingbird, more common in Mexico and Central America, is a very rare summer visitor to West Texas and Southern New Mexico, but a little more frequent in Southeast Arizona. That's not to say they are abundant and easy to find. When seen they are always reported in the ABA Birding News. The best place to see them is at Beatty's Orchard, Miller Canyon, in the Huachuca Mountains of Southeast Arizona. That may mean less than 20 days a year.
|White Eared Hummingbird|
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
"Now, a few words on looking for things. When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them." Daryl Zero, the Zero Effect
Yesterday, I arrived early at Montosa Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains in hopes of finding the Black Capped Gnatcatchers. Very, very quiet, though. No Black Capped Gnatcatchers. So I headed further south to the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail just south of Santa Gertrudis Lane. There I was hoping to find either or both the Louisiana and Northern Waterthrushes. Although I saw many Lark Sparrows, a few Lucy's and Wilson's Warblers, I didn't find the specific birds I was looking for.
So what was I to do? I didn't want to come home empty handed so I found a couple of non-bird photos that turned out quite nicely:
Sunday, September 21, 2014
Up next, the Western Tanager which is found throughout Western North America. They breed here in Arizona, usually in coniferous forests. Being close to Mount Lemmon, they stop by at our place occasionally. They stay in the trees foraging for insects and occasionally fruit.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
From wildflowers to rattlesnakes. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake's range is from Arkansas to California and into Mexico. Typically it grows to about 4 feet, less than half the size of a bull snake. Yet, obviously a bit more dangerous.
If you believe what you see and hear at the movies, they are everywhere in the desert and you have to kill them before they kill you. We just watched a delightful movie (Fools Rush In) where the male lead goes with his hispanic wife's brothers into the desert where he finds himself surrounded by a dozen rattlesnakes. Maybe there is a place/situation like that but I've been hiking and photographing in the Arizona desert for 12 years and never seen more than one rattler at a time. And, never ever had to kill one.
We have them living on our property although rarely see them -- maybe four times a year. For the most part they stay underground. Nonetheless, I always marvel at their beauty and significance when I see them.
|Western Diamondback Rattlesnake|
|Western Diamondback Rattlesnake|
Friday, September 19, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Continuing my alphabetical series on my "5" Star Photos we come to the Western Bluebird. The Western and Mountain Bluebird ranges are nearly identical (the Western halve of North America). But the Western Bluebird has a bright orange breast (duller in the female) while the Mountain Blue is pretty much all blue. The photo of the male came from Mount Lemmon, Arizona while the photo of the female was taken near Joshua Tree National Monument in California.
|Western Bluebird Male|
|Western Bluebird Female|
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
It seems like quite a while ago that I was doing a series on my "5" Star Photos. But we are nearing the end -- on "w's" anyway. So I will try to get the series completed within the next couple of weeks. Today, not a bear, not a caribou, not an elegant trogon or a tri-colored heron, but a simple water lily.
Sometimes simple is good:
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I had a late start yesterday, so didn't arrive at Sweetwater Wetlands until 11:00 -- or more importantly until it was 104 degrees. The consequence was a very quiet visit. I did see a Green Heron fly in a weed bed and a Belted Kingfisher heading somewhere cooler. Probably my best photos were a Savannah Sparrow and a couple of Mexican Mallards:
|Juvenile Green Heron|
|Yellow Rumped Warbler|
Saturday, September 13, 2014
I went again to Huachuca Canyon looking for the Sinaloa Wren and now the newly reported (one time) Prothonotary Warbler. And, again no luck. However, as is usually the case I didn't come home without some photos, including a couple very nice photos like the ubiquitous Wilson's Warbler and Painted Redstart. Even though often seen I thought those two in particular turned out well:
|Black Throated Gray Warbler|
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Christopher Columbus Lake is on the West Side of Tucson and a recreational area for fishing, picnicking, kite flying, and remote controlled flying machines. It gets quite a bit of use, so is hardly "wilderness."
Yet it provides a haven for birds -- and birders. And, since it gets a lot of people, birds are a little more "friendly" and can be approached if done slowly and quietly.
There are two essential areas: 1) the lake, and 2) a riparian area created by a small creek coming from the north side of the lake.
The lake is the most reliable place in Tucson for finding and photographing Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets. There are often Black Crowned Night Herons as well.
The riparian area attracts warblers, vireos, with the occasional rarity like the Northern Waterthrush. It is often quite birdy and certainly well worth exploring if going to the lake.
Here are some photos from yesterday's trip to CCL.
|Great Blue Heron|
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Yesterday I headed down to Randolph Park to see if I could find the reported Northern Waterthrush. As is often the case, the reported "rare" bird wasn't found, but there were other interesting birds to see and photograph:
|Black Crowned Night Heron|
|Sharp Shinned Hawk|
|1st Year Wilson's Warbler|
|Drab Bell's Vireo|
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Every year about this time migratory bats arrive in Tucson. How do I know? My hummingbird feeders tell me so.
We have 8 hummingbird feeders which get changed every two - three days (depending mostly on the weather, not because they are empty). But all that changes in late August or early September when the bats drain the hummingbird feeders every night.
It is the Mexican long-tongued bat from Venezuela, Central America, and Mexico that arrives for dinner at our feeders. In nature they feed on nectar and pollen from agaves and other plants. Their tongues can extend up to a third of their body length which allows them to reach nectar deep inside an agave or cactus blossom. The young are born well-furred for additional warmth in the cool mountain canyons where this species roosts.
A couple years ago I sat up patiently with my camera waiting for them to show up. Wasn't until about 11:00 pm, but I was able to get a few photos:
Friday, September 5, 2014
I got out to Huachuca Canyon a couple days ago continuing my search for Arizona's warblers. And, much to my delight added a new warbler to my list: the Nashville Warbler, which gives me 19 of the 22 warblers found in Southern Arizona:
|Sulphur Bellied Flycatcher|
|Female Summer Tanager|
|Female Black Headed Grosbeak|