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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hummingbird Banding

We are now in Apache Junction, AZ it's time to doing a little visiting with family. Ken is going to Vegas to visit his daughter and family and I'm staying here with the cats to visit with my mother.
Yesterday late afternoon we went to a Hummingbird banding at the San Pedro house in Sierra Vista. It was very interesting, the banding it self was done by Sheri Williamson who has written the Peterson bird book on hummingbirds and her helpers were all volunteers.They trap the birds by using a remote control net over a feeder. Sheri then takes all their data, weight, measurements, and other details. A volunteer than takes the bird to a feeder and gives it a drink and then an observer like ourselves has the honor to release the bird. The volunteer gently puts it in a hand and when the hummingbird is ready it takes off.
Here, Sheri is showing us the tail feathers that make the noise we hear when this Broad tailed hummer flies, it is the two odd shaped feathers.
This female Rufus hummingbird is in a hand of one the observers, she has also made a donation to adopt this bird, she named it Dahlia.

Ken is listening to a male Black chin Hummingbird's heart beat, I got to listen too, it beats so fast it sounds like a buzz of a bee.
They trapped around 12 hummers, several were already banded, one had been banded in '05 his name was Bisbee and the volunteers will send his info to his adoptive parent.
Ken has decided we need to visit Sierra Vista again, we now know where and when to find the birds.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fort Huachuca

We visited Fort Hauchuca today it has quite an impressive history and is a city in itself today as an Army Intelligence school. It has been an Army fort since 1877 defending citizens from the Apaches, then Poncho Villa and during WWII trained African-American infantry divisions, in the later half of the 20th century it was a proving ground for electronic weaponry and now the center for military intelligence training.
There are three museums to visit and there are other historical buildings and canyons to visit anyway that is what the brochure said. We were going to check out a canyon but they had conflicting road signs, one side said open the other side said closed so we turned around and left.

The roads are closed when they are doing maneuvers which we did see some activity in the area but no real sign saying closed for maneuvers.

Anyway, that was part of our day, we did go back to Ramsey Canyon to see if we could see any more birds. We did see the Brown Creeper and a few others.

It was just a beautiful day to be out.

We decided to stay an extra day to drive over to Patagonia to visit the birding area there, we discovered Sun. evening on the internet that it is closed Mon and Tue so we exented our stay.
I will be putting my photos of the Sierra Vista on Flickr soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Nature walk

I went on a 3 hr nature walk at Ramsey Canyon this morning while Ken hiked up the trail to see if he could find the Red faced warbler. I learned about the early settlers of the canyon, the trees, the birds, the frogs and many other little stories of the area the guide had to tell, it was a very good informational walk. Ken saw no warblers. Betsy our guide, showed us hummingbird nests, 2 occupied, one Hutton's vireo nest occupied, we saw the Hepatic Tanager pictured below, Dusky capped flycatcher, AZ woodpecker, Pewee, Hermit Thrush and a quick qlimpse of the Blue throated humming bird.
After a quick lunch, Ken and I just drove around checking out various places that were mentioned on the brochures, and as it sometimes happens they are written up sounding better than they actually are.

But while on the road we meet up with several of these old cars, they must have been on a road trip together, we saw about 10 on the road. They must see a lot of country going along at around 40 mph.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


We've been out birding and have seen 6 new Hummingbirds, a Hermit Warbler and Spotted Owls.
Magnificent Hummingbird
Others we've seen are the Broad billed, Broad tailed, Anna's, Lucifer's, Calliope, and Black chinned which we've seen in Texas.
I haven't gotten very good photos of many of them hopefully I'll have some more chances in the next couple of days.
A couple of B and B's have birding stations in their yards and they charge $5 per person to sit and view the birds.

This one was by far our favorite, the people are so friendly and helpful.

The owner's son is showing everyone here where his dog treed a bobcat and luckily one of the observers had a spotting scope so we could get a look since it was in a tree up the hill quite a ways.

We went to the Beatty's B &B Sat and they told us and other birders about the Spotted Owls up the trail about a half mile. Here we are all looking trying to find it, no one could Sat. so we were told we could come back Sunday and try again at no charge.
What really made the day was being locked in the area, the B & B is fenced off from the trail, one of the guests had locked it but lucky someone heard our whistle and went for the owner to unlock the gate.

Here's my photo of the Spotted Owls, there was also a Broad tailed Hummingbird's nest near by, the hummingbird was on the nest when I looked, Ken got a photo of it. They were concerned with it because of the snow and cold we had Friday, a naturalist is watching it to see if it hatches any babies she was there while we were up there today. She was telling us all when she was up there Friday watching it and some snow fell in the nest and the little mother worked to get it all out of the nest.
The next few days the temps will be in the 80's so spring is back for a couple of days til the next cold front comes thru on Weds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Some big flakes

We did get up to some big snow flakes this morning but the sky started to clear by nine so after breakfast at Denny's we went exploring.We visited the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area just a small part of it.
We did a walk along the San Pedro river and saw a few birds.
Then after a late lunch at Arby's we explored Carr Canyon, there we saw the Bridled Titmouse and the Mexican Jay plus a few TBD birds. We'll be going back to Carr tomorrow when the visitor center and nature area will be open.
It's nice to have free Wi fi again, we don't have to share the Verizon device. Television reception is not good, we get only one station and that is on the back TV as it is the new digital one.
Weather is to be warmer tomorrow, I'm looking forward to some warm AZ sunshine.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some rain some snow some sun

We went in to Sierra Vista and picked up some info on the area at the visitor center, lots of birding places hope we have time to visit most of them. We did go to Ramsey Canyon Preserve this morning, the sun was shining with big fluffy clouds and the tallest mtn had snow on it so we decided to start birding. Ramsey is one of the more famous birding sites, we did see the Red faced Warbler several times, Ken may have gotten a photo but I didn't. We saw a few other birds but it was cold with a few snow flurries.
Here's a view from the observation trail.
The snow started to come down a little harder and we were hungry so time to call it a day.
It was only raining at the RV park, I caught up on the laundry and we watched birds from our window, I counted 14 different species we've seen in our RV park.
We may wake up to a little snow on the ground tomorrow am, the temp tonight is to get down to 35. What happened to spring?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Now in AZ

We left Las Cruces, NM this morning after a busy day Tuesday trying to get several sights in, we went to White Sands NM, White Sands Missile Park and Museum, had an ice cream on the Mesaille Plaza and a short visit to Dripping Springs Rec. area. We wanted to leave before the strong winds came that were forecasted for Thurs and Fri but I believe we had them anyway. It was a tough drive most of the way to Arizona. The desert was very colorful in several areas on I-10.

We are now at Quail Ridge RV Resort in Huachuca City, AZ which is south of Benson. We plan on visiting the several birding areas. I'm having fun watching the Gamble Quail out the RV window we also several other good birds right here in the park. It's cool here as a cold front is going through which may bring rain tomorrow.

My photos taken at Las Cruces will be on my Flickr site.

Monday, April 19, 2010

In New Mexico

We've moved on, we are in Las Cruces, New Mexico thought we see the White Sands N.M.View of RV section of Prude Ranch.
I haven't taken any photos here in NM yet but I thought I post a blog to let you know where we are. It's nice to visit a Walmart, a fast food restaurant, watch TV and able to get on the internet in the RV although we have to share the Verizon dongle, it's been two weeks since we've seen the news.
I'll post my photos of Big Bend and Davis Mtns on Flickr tonight.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

An update

An update, we are still at Prude Ranch in the Davis Mtns we will be leaving tomorrow morning but at this time Ken has not decided where we are headed. We decided to spend a few more days here, Ken really likes it here. It may be because of the Davis Mtn State Park, it has a couple of bird watching stations and he can get some good photos of those new birds. I don't know how many hours we've spent here, I should have kept track.
I'll post my bird photos on flickr when we find a place with a good internet connection.
I will also post my scenic photos too like these flowers on the horse path on Prude Ranch and no we did not go horse back riding although that sounds like fun.
We have been able to add 25 new birds to our life list from the Big Bend area and the Davis Mtns. We learned that the Davis Mtn SP is a big birding destination, the big draw is the Montezuma Quail and Graces Warbler, we did see the Quail.
Well, till next time y'all have a great day.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Greetings from the Davis Mtns

Greetings from the Prude Ranch north of Fort Davis, TX. we arrived here Sunday afternoon.
We had a good time exploring the Big Bend area including the Big Bend Ranch State Park but it was time to move on we didn't move far tho only 120 miles or so.
Prude Ranch has 30 RV hookups as well as their lodge and cabins, we were greeted with a good thunderstorm with pea size hail. It has threatened to do the same this afternoon but so far just threats.We visited the McDonald Observatory today, it was interesting to learn about the telescopes we even viewed what was happening on the sun today, between the clouds anyway.

We will explore this area for a couple of days, see if we can get any new birds. We have an Acorn Woodpecker visiting the power poles near our RV, it's a new bird for us.
Again we have to go to the lodge to get online, we haven't even tried to see if we have TV what is interesting is it doesn't get dark til 8:45 so we've been reading. I've been reading about Hallie Stillwell and her family owners of the RV park we stayed at outside Big Bend, she was quite the cowgirl.
More from us later.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Greetings from Big Bend

We made it to Big Bend NP, we've been here since Sun afternoon.
We are staying at the historical Stillwell 4L Ranch and RV park just outside the park. This is the window view from Chisos Basin.
We have driven all the paved roads, hiked two trails and have seen at least 7 birds we can add to our life list, Spotted Towhee, Canyon Towhee, Scotts Oriole, Mexican Jay, Bushtit, Blacktailed Gnatcatcher and Vesper Sparrow.
The first couple of days the temps were in the high 90's, it has cooled off and turned beautiful today in the 70"s.
We have to go to the Chisos Basin Lodge to get on the internet, no TV, no phone in the area near us.
I'll post photos on flickr when we get to a RV park with internet.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter

Have a nice holiday!!
We'll be on the road somewhere in Texas.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Our last day at Hawk Watch

Ken has finally decided when we will be leaving the RGV, he's been watching the weather looking for a day not too windy, the gusts the last couple of days have been around 35 mph.
So today was our last day at the hawk watch, tomorrow we'll get things together to leave Sat. This is my try to get a Broadwing hawk flying over us.
Here is our volunteer record keeper tallying up today's totals, we had 6216 Broadwing hawks,
321 Swainson hawk, 40 Turkey Vultures, some Anhingas and a couple of Crested Caracara which are local birds and do not migrate. So it was a good day, busy day trying to count the gnat size hawks flying over us.

I have done some reading on the Big Bend NP which we will try to visit next week. I have a list of new birds to try to find there as well as exploring a NP we have never visited before.