Tuesday, June 27, 2017

On a Hot Summer Day in Tucson

First, just an interesting note. This morning I looked to see who was visiting our blog today: US and Canada of course; but also Brazil, Australia, Philippines, Pakistan, Russia, Czechia, Germany, France, UK, and Ireland -- and it's not even 7:00 am yet.

It's been a very busy year here at The Azure Gate. We're now in our summer months and yet business is still high. During the summer we get more guests from around the world. Last week we had someone from Taiwan (as I mentioned earlier), this week a couple from Qatar, our next arriving guests are from Switzerland; early next month a couple from Germany, then two weeks later returning guests from England.

We've been having record heat here the past week. So not much to report in terms of birding excursions. In fact, ABA Birding News has had very few posts this past week. Part of it is that birds are in hiding during the heat of the day -- and part of it is that birders are in hiding during the heat of the day.

Yet, life goes on here at The Azure Gate. Yesterday morning around 5:30 I walked out our bathroom door to swim and there at my feet was a beautiful Desert Kingsnake. I didn't have my camera with me, so here is an old photo to give you a picture of one:

Desert Kingsnake
After my swim I looked around for him but didn't see him. Then after getting dressed and on my way over to the office I saw what I thought was him crossing the driveway. As I got closer I realized in was a different snake -- a Sonoran Gopher Snake. I grabbed my camera but couldn't get a good photo before he hid in Christmas and Prickly Pear Cactus. Here is a previous photo to show what he looks like:

Sonoran Gopher Snake
As I returned to the office with my camera, I noticed a beautiful Broad Billed Hummingbird sitting in the big Palo Verde Tree outside the office. So I did get that photo:

Broad Billed Hummingbird
Thinking this was a pretty good start to the day I left my camera out where I could get at it quickly if I needed. During the next hour or so I got the following photos:

Black Tailed Jackrabbit

Male Cardinal

Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptail

Not bad for a day where the temperature reached 120 degrees. And I didn't have to go up Mount Lemmon (where it is 30 degrees cooler) to get any of these photos.

Now, an update. That was yesterday. After I wrote this post this morning I made breakfast for Christine and me. Just as we sat down outside to eat our resident Cooper's Hawk came in and sat at one of our bird baths. He was there for about 30 minutes; first resting, then bathing, then resting again. This is a fairly common occurrence which fortunately guests often get to see. In fact it happens frequently enough that I no longer rush to get my camera. I just sit quietly and watch so as not to disturb him.

We do love the wildlife here. (As do our guests from the US and from around the world).

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