Wednesday, July 31, 2019

More from Huachuca Canyon

Here are a few more photos from Huachuca Canyon:

Dusky Capped Flycatcher

Dusky Flycatcher

Painted Redstart

Wild Turkey
 I did stop by the Gift Shop at San Pedro National Conservation Area and picked up a couple photos there as well:

Western Screech Owl

Blue Grosbeak

Monday, July 29, 2019

Huachuca Canyon

Christine and I got away to hike Huachuca Canyon on For Huachuca. Here are a few photos from our visit:

Bridled Titmouse

Plumbeous Vireo

Spotted Towhee

Sulphur Bellied Flycatcher

Summer Tanager

White Tailed Deer

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mount Lemmon Birds

I took a quick trip up Mount Lemmon -- needing to get back before the rains came. Nothing unusual to report, but as usual, some nice photos:

Brown Creeper with Bug

Red Faced Warbler

Spotted Towhee

Western Bluebird

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Broad Billed Hummingbird

Hummingbird season is getting into full swing now. Here is a male Broad Billed Hummingbird that wanted his photo taken:

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Ash Throated Flycatchers

We have a pair of Ash Throated Flycatchers that must be nesting nearby. I got a nice photo of one of them this morning that I thought I'd share:

Ash Throated Flycatcher

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Injured Bobcat

There is a young bobcat that has been coming around our place on a regular basis for the last two and a half years. We know he is the same one because he is missing half of his right hind foot. He walks with a decided limp, however when he is hunting he is so low to the ground you can't tell he is handicapped at all. He came around this morning hunting for our abundant round tail ground squirrels. Obviously he is able to catch what he needs to survive. 

Here are some of the photos I took today, starting with one that shows his foot:

Now hunting:

Posing on a small mound

And finally walking right by me:

Monday, July 8, 2019

Baby Great Horned Owl -- UPDATE

First a brief summary.

The female Great Horned Owl began sitting on an "old Cooper's Hawk" nest about three months ago.  The nest is 70-80 feet high in one of our aleppo pine trees. Incubation is typically 30-35 days and about the same time for Nestling.  Three weeks ago a young owlet fell onto the welcome mat in our private courtyard. It stayed there for a week getting a little bolder each day. Then two weeks ago baby, mom, and dad left the scene and hadn't been seen or heard since -- until today.

All three are back in the neighborhood, across the street from us where they have lived for at least 19 years.

I just got back with photos:

Side view of the Owlet

Front view of the same Owlet

Here is the adult male:

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Elegant Trogon

It has been a couple of weeks since I last posted about the young Owlet. The Great Horned Owl family has now moved on. Presumably the adults are showing the young one the neighborhood.

In the meantime, we've been able to get away a few times to do some hiking/birding -- and, of course, photography.

Yesterday, we went with "former guests" (who have now moved to Tucson) to Madera Canyon. They had never seen (or heard) an Elegant Trogon. So that was the main goal of the day. While it took an hour and a half, we finally came across a very cooperative male Elegant Trogon.

I have seen and photographed them in the Chiricahua, Huachuca, and Santa Rita Mountains -- which are about the only places in the US where they can be found.

I have a couple of photos from yesterday that I want to show starting with this view:

What is interesting to me is the color of the back in this view. It is clearly blue! The head and nape are clearly green, as are the scapulars. Not having handled either a live or dead bird I had never noticed blue on an Elegant Trogon.  I consulted the many bird journals and found no mention of blue.

However, I found an interesting article on the coloration of bird feathers in the Cornell Lab Bird Academy. 

"The colors in the feathers of a bird are formed in two different ways, from either pigments or from light refraction caused by the structure of the feather. In some cases feather colors are the result of a combination of pigment and structural colors. The greens of some parrots are the result of yellow pigments overlying the blue-reflecting characteristic of the feathers."

There are three types of Pigmentation: Carotenoids, Melanins, and Porphyrins. These are substances in birds (plants, animals) that are in fact a specific color. A Cardinal for example has red pigmentation.

Structural Colorations are caused by light as it is refracted by the proteins in the feathers. The two types are Iridescent Feathers and Non-Iridescent Feathers. The most obvious example of Iridescent Feathers is the gorget of hummingbirds. And the most obvious example in hummingbirds on our property is Anna's Hummingbird whereby the crown and gorget can look "black" until the sunlight hits them and the red becomes striking. 

This brings us back to the Elegant Trogon that may well fit in that category of "... the greens of some parrots are the result of yellow pigments overlying the blue-reflecting characteristic of the feathers."

I am curious as to how often other birders have seen this blue coloration.

Here is a frontal view of this very cooperative Elegant Trogon yesterday in Madera Canyon: