Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Goldfish Thief

We have a gold fish pond/fountain in our oasis. It has had two residents over the past 16 years. The first was Wyatt who died after 8 years. We immediately put two new goldfish in the pond. After a couple of years one (Virgil) "disappeared -- without a trace." We never knew what happened to him.

Yesterday, our remaining goldfish (Morgan) who we've had for over 8 years, was taken from us.

One of our guests was sitting outside when this happened. He had his camera with him at the time. Here is what he saw:

On the far wall
On the near wall

On the patio deck near the hummingbird feeder

Above the fountain
Checking everything out above the fountain

Eyeing it's prey from above the fountain

And then in a flash, speared Morgan, and took off.

Photos by our guest Gene.

P.S. Thanks to Gene for sharing and solving the mystery for us.

Gotta go now and get some new goldfish.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Great Horned Owls

Having nesting Great Horned Owls across the street from us, and hunting from our Aleppo Pine trees at night for the past 16 years it, shamefully, becomes so common that I don't take photos anymore. I suspect I have a hundred or more "keeper" photos.

It's also been quite a while since I made a post about them, so yesterday I took a few photos:

Female Great Horned Owl

Male Great Horned Owl

Female Great Horned Owl

Saturday, October 20, 2018

El Rio Open Space - Part II

Although I was focusing on the Reddish Egret, I did take a few other photos:

Great Egret

Great Egret

Green Heron

Green Heron

Vermillion Flycatcher Female

Thursday, October 18, 2018

El Rio Open Space: Reddish Egret

El Rio Open Space, a.k.a Coachline Gravel Pit, is a wonderful birding spot from August to Spring. Although mostly or totally dry in June, once the Monsoons come the wetlands fill up quickly drawing all sorts of water birds. Occasionally, a rare bird makes its presence known.

The Reddish Egret (Egretta rufescens) is a medium-sized heron - larger than a Black Crowned Night Heron, but smaller the Great Egret. In the US it is found along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas.
According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, there are only 1,500 to 2,000 nesting pairs of reddish egrets in the United States — and most of these are in Texas.[3] They are classified as "threatened" in Texas and receive special protection.

The Reddish Egret is considered one of the most active herons, and is often seen on the move. It stalks its prey visually in shallow water far more actively than other herons and egrets, frequently running energetically and using the shadow of its wings (see second photo) to reduce glare on the water once it is in position to spear a fish; the result is a fascinating dance. 

Because it is active, with a little patience, it should become available for viewing and photographing. 

Due to its bold, rapacious yet graceful feeding behavior, author Pete Dunne nicknamed the reddish egret "the Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Flats". 

It eats fishfrogscrustaceans, and insects. The bird's usual cry is a low, guttural croak. So with a little patience, it should become available.

It is generally a solitary bird, though it nests in swamps often with other herons.

Here are a few photos:

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Lakeside Park: White Fronted Goose

Also at Lakeside Park, there has been a single White Fronted Goose for the past two weeks. He has been hanging out with the Snow Goose. So today, he too was feeding in the grass:

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lakeside Park: Snow Goose

Lakeside Park gets some rarities frequently. Among them Brown Pelican, Common Tern, Elegant Tern, Forster's Tern, White Fronted Goose, and for the past couple of months a single Snow Goose. Today he was feeding in the grass around the lake.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Lakeside Park: Great Egret

Often there is one or more Great Egrets at Lakeside Park. This day was no different:

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Lakeside Park: Great Blue Heron

Continuing with Lakeside Park, photos of a Great Blue Heron:

Monday, October 8, 2018

Lakeside Park: Black Crowned Night Heron

Lakeside Park in East Tucson is perhaps the most reliable place to find Black Crowned Night Herons. 

There were eight or so the other day, both Juveniles and Adults. 

One of the nice things is that there are almost always a few people fishing, so the Herons and Egrets are accustomed to people and you can get very close.  Here are a few photos:

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Lakeside Park, Tucson: Forster's Tern

I stopped by Lakeside Park in East Tucson at dawn to see what was there. As luck would have it, wonderful closeup photos of a Forster's Tern, White Fronted Goose, Snow Goose, and the more typical Great Blue Heron, Black Crowned Night Heron, and Great Egret. Did get photos of a Green Heron flying low over the lake too.

Today, the Forster's Tern which is rare to Southern Arizona: