Graceful reintroduction of mankind into his environment

Author Archives: C.J.

‘One Spot’ Viewing

With most of the bats having migrated this week, servicing the 33 hummingbird feeders takes less time and early mornings now allow time to watch life from the Upper Hummingbird Patio. Sitting with tea in hand, the light was such that a camera was necessary. (ALL photos from the next hour save the final one.)

First light…
First light…

There wasn’t any hurry, so sipping tea allowed time to observe. Many small birds were moving to the ‘birdbath’ area and the Hackberry/Mesquite Trees above it. Climbing to the top of the Upper H-bird Patio wall allowed a view and excellent angle on activities. Color was abundant, in many shades and hues.

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler

Seed eating birds, bug eating birds, bathing birds, combinations of all working their way towards their individual goal. A female Western Tanager was detached from the fray, consuming Hackberry fruit from the upper reaches of the tree.

Lesser Goldfinch
Western Tanager

She ate constantly and quietly. Not could be said for this fellow, the Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps). It moved about making noise, assumedly about all the traffic in it’s home turf. It was gleaning the many bugs that reside in the bark of the mesquite.

Verdin
Verdin

The bathing birds were a great source of entertainment. Like people, some just ‘got their toes wet’, while others daintily splashed about or went completely for the big splash. The Western Tanager was a ‘dainty one’, she never really jumped into the water, but spent a lot of time curiously watching the others.

Female Western Tanger
Female Western Tanger
Checking out the bathing area…
Checking out the bathing area…

Calm communal bathing was briefly interrupted when our friend Felix emerged from under the juniper at my feet. The birds gave alarm calls, but he showed no interest. He had been sleeping down by the bike shop, but MaryEllen was making some noise, so he sought another place. Lazily, he scanned the BP Meadow before three bounds took him under the Mexican Elderberry Bush. He was so close, this is all I got…

Felix, pondering…
Felix, pondering…

He didn’t visit long, just a quick glance under the Lower Hummingbird Patio feed zone.

Cool cat…
Cool cat…

The Lucy’s Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae) was the first to return. It looked from the interior of the brush overhanging the bath before dropping to the ground.

Lucy's Warbler
Lucy’s Warbler

Skipping across the water with short quick bursts, it was soon very soaked and happy before flying immediately into the top of the Hackberry to warm in the sun.

Lucy's Warbler
Lucy’s Warbler
Lucy's Warbler
Lucy’s Warbler

The Hermit Warbler was hermit-like, choosing to stay in the cover, moving quickly and not allowing great views. the tell-tale unstreaked flanks are a distinguishing characteristic. The slight shadow across the bill (in the photo) can cause a slight hesitance in identification, upon first glance.

Hermit Warbler
Hermit Warbler

Not as shy as their ‘cousin’, the Townsend’s Warblers (Dendroica townsendi) enjoyed the clean bath. Upon sharing this photo with a friend (and you), while I’m going to identify it as such, we believe it could be a Townsend’s/Hermit Warbler hybrid, a very common thing.

Townsend's Warbler, perhaps Townsend's/Hermit hybrid?
Townsend’s Warbler, perhaps Townsend’s/Hermit hybrid?

Our winter sparrows are rapidly returning. Besides the Rufous-winged sparrows bathing, there were several other species. Two of three have been identified, both being rather easy. The Chipping Sparrows have returned in good numbers.

Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow

A juvenile Chipping Sparrow (see chest identifier…thanks Rick Wright) was present, just a bit reticent to bathe with all the traffic.

Lincoln's sparrow
Chipping Sparrow

The Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) was the best! First the feet, toes and tail-feathers were ‘dipped’.

Giving it a 'little test shake'…
Giving it a ‘little test shake’…

After a little movement to check the temp, ‘head and shoulders’ were plunged underwater!

…head first…
…head first…

Standing upright quickly and alert, it looked for any response of anything in the brush. Droplets were flying!

…up for air.
…up for air.

Apparently, it didn’t sense danger because the next step was crazy! PLUNGE and complete immersion, with rapid wingbeats!

Full Commitment!
Full Commitment!

I want to reiterate that ALL of the previous photos were taken from one location, not moving a foot! Our place is getting a following for the hummingbirds, but, with several acres of restored habitat, we are so much more than ‘just hummingbirds’. So, with that, here’s a closing hummingbird ‘feeder’ shot, taken in the evening (from the same patio). This is a male Broad-billed Hummingbird (Cynanthus latirostrus).

Broad-billed Hummingbird
Broad-billed Hummingbird

Thanks for looking!

Private Groups/ 2nd T.A.S. Visit!

Quite the busy week, with private groups on Sunday and Tuesday. Great guests from Madison Wisconsin Audubon Society. thanks to Jim and his friends for visiting. On October 1, we were fortunate to have another enthusiastic group of guests from Tucson Audubon Society, led by guides Bob & Prudy Bowers. Many more species of birds were seen in comparison to the vist of just a few days past. Here’s Bob’s synopsis of the visit: “We had another nice group of folks join us this morning for an outing at Wild Outdoor World in Catalina.  The aggressive Cooper’s Hawk from last Saturday’s trip was occupied elsewhere, so more birds were documented… Continue Reading

Tucson Audubon Visits!

We were again excited to have a group of birding enthusiasts visit on September 27th. WOW Arizona provided refreshments for the group of guests. Many people donated to our ‘Feed Fund’ and we are very thankful for that. Our sixty bird feeders require a lot of filling as well as maintenance. There were many happy faces! Guides Bob & Prudy Bowers were excellent in handling such a diverse group. Here’s there account of the day! “Hi all, Another great field trip to Worlds of Wildlife–Arizona yesterday.  Hosts Christopher and Mary Ellen continue to outdo themselves with improvements to the viewing areas and paths, not to mention making coffee and water… Continue Reading

Blur…

The pace of life around here is crazy. Our friends Art and Ellen have been coming to ride for years. Now, they made the plunge and got their own little slice of heaven in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Now, every time I ride up RollerCoaster, I glance over my left shoulder and grin. I can see their house from there!   While they were here, we benefited not only from their excellent company but also from their strength and knowledge. Our great friends Pat & Pete Kollar gave WOW Arizona the gift of a wonderful fountain. Only drawback was the hundreds of pounds of weight. With Art… Continue Reading

Breakfast Tea Patio Shots

Early morning was steamy, with beautiful colored light ever-changing  as the clouds bustled through the sky. I got these photos while seated on the patio with a cup of tea. The Rufous Hummingbirds (Selaphorus rufus)have returned, by the hour, it seems their numbers increased. A few mature males, several females and a lot of juveniles, like this one…   Broad-billed Hummingbirds (Cynanthus latirostris)are here in HUGE numbers, a recent Tucson Audubon Guide remarked she had NEVER seen so many in one spot!   The Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) are some of the earliest to sing and hung around until the storm clouds started to build. There was a bit of ‘displayed… Continue Reading

January Riding

Out a lot, all on the Niner RIP 9. Exceptionally warm weather meant exploring the higher trails was in order. Baby Jesus Trail was ridden multiple times. Also did a few miles in town on the River Path/The Loop, trying to get Andrew to be a bit more activeIt was a great month for a lot of miles!   Continue Reading

Sleepy Kitty

Our bobcats have gotten incredibly comfortable, around here. Ms. Bobcat has three offspring still with her. The littlest guy naps near me, quite often. Today, the birds alerted me, I went outside with a camera and he just walked by and climbed under the junipers. Continue Reading

Snakes!

Snake action from the gardens! Last night, the ‘Evening Feed’ for the birds was much more interesting than usual. Four rattlesnakes in one small area… …one being a new individual! No name, yet… …but, I love the eyebrows… This is ‘Sazusa’… …in one of her favorite spots. Cheech was just inches away. Cartman had just eaten an adolescent quail and was curled under the salvia, in one of his favorite spots. You could just catch a glimpse. We’ve had a lot of other snake species, too. On Saturday, I got these shots of a Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer). It was cruising through the grass… and seemed to following a scent… Continue Reading

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Graceful reintroduction of mankind into his environment