Sunday, April 30, 2017

Birding The Azure Gate

After breakfast this morning I though I would walk around our property with my camera just to see what was going on.

First, I wanted to see if there were any signs of baby Cooper's Hawk's in the nest. Mom was there moving around a bit but since the nest is 60 feet off the ground it's hard to tell:

Cooper's Hawk
Next a quick check of the Anna's Hummingbird nest:

Anna's Hummingbird
Then a nice Broad Billed Hummer -- both male and female:

Broad Billed Hummingbird Male

Broad Billed Hummingbird Female
A Lucy's Warbler on one of our Creosote Bushes:

Lucy's Warbler
And, finally a Rufous Winged Sparrow seemed to want his photo taken:

Rufous Winged Sparrow
Of course there were all sorts of other birds to be seen (though I didn't photograph them):

White Winged Dove
Mourning Dove
Gambel's Quail
Lesser Goldfinch
House Finch
House Sparrow
Cactus Wren
Curved Billed Thrasher
Gila Woodpecker
Male and Female Cardinal
Male and Female Pyrrhuloxia
Male Phainopepla

Friday, April 28, 2017

Mount Lemmon

Migration is beginning to hit the Catalina Mountains.  It wasn't the great day that I had hoped for, but  just walking/hiking in the Catalinas is rewarding spiritually.

I did find five warblers: Townsend's, Hermit, Red Faced, Olive, and  Yellow-rumped. I couldn't get good photos of the Hermit or Olive, but did get marginal photos of the others -- and a few other birds too (though nothing rare):

townsend's warbler

red faced warbler

yellow-rumped warbler

spotted towhee

house wren

red tailed hawk

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Elusive Sora

The Sora is one of those birds much more often heard than seen. Sometimes frustratingly so. 

Yet, occasionally, one seems not to care if people are around. At the Kingfisher Pond (San Pedro River) last week, one was visible for a few minutes, sometimes on the edge of the weed bed, and sometimes a bit out in the open:




Monday, April 24, 2017

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher at The Azure Gate B&B

Each day our birding guests bird our property here at The Azure Gate. I, on the other hand, when given a chance head out to a favorite birding spot, i.e. Mount Lemmon, Huachuca Canyon ....

I am starting to realize though, that I have taken for granted that we have some pretty good birding opportunities right here where we live.

Yesterday, I had a few minutes so went out back and almost immediately found a very cooperative Black Tailed Gnatcatcher:

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Anna''s Hummingbird Chicks at The Azure Gate B&B

We have had at least two Anna's Hummingbirds nesting here (that we know of). The chicks in the first nest are now gone. (See April 9th post).

However, the second nest is still occupied. Here are two little chicks waiting for mom:

Anna's Hummingbird

Friday, April 21, 2017

Franklin's Gull at Lake Willcox

A quick trip looking for the reported American Golden Plover at Lake Willcox turned up empty, or did it? I made the mistake of looking for a breeding American Golden Plover which is mostly black and easy to spot. Unfortunately, the reports didn't indicate that the bird was not in its breeding plumage which is mostly whitish. So it might have been there -- and I might have even seen it -- but not recognized it. Oh well.

But I did find several Franklin's Gulls so here:

Franklin's Gull

Franklin's Gull

Monday, April 17, 2017

Bell's Vireo at Sweetwater

Seem's like I am finding Bell's Vireos everywhere these days. Here's a nice photo from Sweetwater Wetlands:

Bell's Vireo

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bee Swarm at Sweetwater Wetlands

Bee swarms are one of nature's interesting phenomenons. We get them occasionally here at The Azure Gate (see post from January 13, 2015). While birding at Sweetwater Wetlands last week I came across another:

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Azure Gate's Lucy's Warbler

Sometimes something you might like is right under your nose. Most often when I go "birding" I get in the car and drive somewhere. However, our birding guests seem to find birds right here on our five acres. Guests a year or so ago said they saw a Black-throated Grey Warbler in one of our Mesquite trees. Yesterday one of our guests said they have been seeing a Lucy's Warbler behind their guest house for the last couple of days.

Although I have seen and photographed them both, I had never seen one here at The Azure Gate. So today I went looking where our guests said they saw the Lucy's. And, sure enough there one was. Here are a few of my "new" Azure Gate Lucy's Warbler photos:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Anna's Hummingbirds Nesting: The Azure Gate Bed and Breakfast

We have two (that we know of) Anna's Hummingbirds nests close to our main house. In one case, it is just outside the courtyard of one of our guest rooms (in a Palo Verde Tree). Our guests are birders so have been watching each day to see what's going on. The second is also in a Palo Verde Tree but near our carport. There are stairs up to Christine's studio so we can get a very good look at what is happening in the nest from that point. Here is a photo I took just minutes ago:

I am convinced that hummingbirds have a Ph.D. in Nest Engineering (as opposed to Doves that seem to have flunked 3rd grade). The hummingbird nests are very tightly woven and swing perpendicular to the ground no matter how strong the wind. It is as if the nest is part of the tree. You can see the threads holding the nest onto the branch in the photo.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Black and White Warbler: Sweetwater Wetlands

The Black and White Warbler is an uncommon visitor to Southern Arizona. Rarely found west of East Texas, it's feeding behavior is more like a creeper than typical warblers. If in the area it is relatively easy to find and photograph because it feeds essentially from the trunks and larger limbs of older trees.

Such was the case on Sunday at Sweetwater Wetlands here in Tucson. Here are a few photos:

Monday, April 3, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 10

Here a Juvenile Cooper's Hawk cooling off in one of our birds baths by the office:

Cooper's Hawk

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 9

Here two siblings from a pair of adults that nested in McDonald Park just two miles from us:

Cooper's Hawk