In the window of the pet store Dogma-Catmantoo -- a poster from the Cat's Gallery of Art.
Monday, May 18, 2015
|A crowd of birdwatchers looking for one little Connecticut Warbler, May 16, 2015|
|Connecticut Warbler by|
John James Audubon
We joined the huge crowd depicted above, all hoping to catch at least a fleeting glimpse of a shy Connecticut warbler that was in the woods. Since we didn't succeed in photographing the poor bird, I included the John James Audubon picture.
Sadly, the crowds of birders appear to be putting enormous pressure on the birds along the boardwalk that allows access to the marsh. We read that a prothonotary warbler and a woodcock that were nesting near the boardwalk have abandoned their nests because of all the people nearby.
Environmental pressure from groups often occurs slowly, so that no single individual realizes that his innocent actions have tiny but real consequences. I've seen the term "future eaters" applied to this situation, where environmental damage accumulated slowly but inevitably. Birdwatching seems to be about as non-destructive as any activity could be. Is it?
|A prothonotary warbler (photo from last year at Magee Marsh).|
|A woodcock we saw from the boardwalk a few weeks ago.|
|Birders like these who were there on Saturday love Magee Marsh and who can blame them?|
I have already posted this on my food blog.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
While Len and the rest of the members of the Audubon Society who were on the trip were watching the warblers, I mainly enjoyed the beautiful blue sky and the wildflowers lit by bright May sunshine.
Monday, May 04, 2015
|Birdwatching at Magee Marsh.|
Above: a palm warbler, one of many warblers we saw from the boardwalk.
Woodcocks are marked to look just like the leafy background. I call this one Waldo Woodcock as in "Where's Waldo?" Obviously since you can hardly see them it's even harder to take their photos. For more bird photos, see Len's Flickr page here.
|We also saw this snake. I hope he doesn't eat warblers.|
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
|Hooded skunk, Patagonia, Arizona.|
After our walk, we drove to Madera Canyon, for our final days in Arizona. We are staying at the famous Santa Rita Lodge -- which is at least famous among birdwatcher folk. There are lots of birds and birdwatchers in the area.
Just at dark, an elf owl flew out of its hole in an old telephone pole while a large group with varying equipment were waiting eagerly, some flashing with large fresnel-lens-amplified camera lights, others just talking about how they were counting one more life bird. My photos were all solid black because it was almost dark by the time he decided to come out and forage for moths.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
|Swallows on the wall of the historic San Pedro House near Sierra Vista, Arizona|
|The San Pedro River is small but beautiful -- especially beautiful because the surrounding land is so dry.|
|Pond near the Santa Cruz River.|
|Animal tracks near the river.|
This is a whiskered screech owl which we saw this afternoon at the Nature Conservancy's Ramsey Canyon Preserve near Sierra Vista, Arizona. We walked up a beautiful trail along a rushing stream to find the owl, which other birdwatchers had told us about.
Here's a write-up about the owl:
"The Whiskered Screech Owl is the most mysterious of the three Screech Owl species. Found mostly south of the U.S. border, the Whiskered Screech Owl remains elusive.
"Very few nests of this species have ever been found. These owls tend to live at high elevations (usually around 5,000 feet) and nest high up in trees. In fact, they spend much of their time hidden in the tree tops, roosting in dense foliage and feeding on flying insects. Their nocturnal hunting habits and high elevation home make them difficult for humans to locate, but just like the other species of Screech Owls, this owl can be identified by its unique voice." -- from Owl Research Institute.Earlier this afternoon, we spent a long time at a nearby canyon, Miller Canyon, watching hummingbirds at the many feeders at the Beatty Ranch.
|Hummingbird at Beatty Ranch.|
Monday, April 13, 2015
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which we saw yesterday, is a combined natural history museum and zoo, entirely devoted to local species of birds, animals, reptiles, plants, and whatever else there is. We saw, among others: a coati, wild pigs called javelinas, a tortoise (depicted above), and a collection of local hummingbirds in a hummingbird house. The museum has recreated small outdoor areas representing the ecosystems of the desert, mountains, stream beds, and so on. The large outdoor museum/zoo attracts many wild visitors, as well as the captives.
The most exciting wild bird I saw today was this roadrunner...
The roadrunner was desperately trying to get INTO the cage where a captive female lived. He kept calling to her -- "meep meep!" and going right up to the glass wall that kept them apart. Tragic love!
We have also seen a couple of coyotes -- one was crossing the road as we drove away from the museum. Neither the real coyote nor the real roadrunner look all that much like their cartoon selves. We also saw a bunny (not Bugs).
To get back to the topic of food: here's a Gila Woodpecker sipping nectar from an agave blossom.
Sunday, April 12, 2015
|A dessert bunny was on the path just after we started our walk.|
|Our guide, Laurens, knew all about not only birds but also lizards, mammals,|
butterflies, and cactus. He was a fabulous bird finder!
His website is here.
|A black-chinned hummingbird on her nest. |
Nearby we talked to a group of people who
are banding the hummingbirds to trace their migration routes.
|Pyrrhuloxia, a beautiful bird we saw near the stream at Sabino Canyon.|