I would like to say that this week has been a week of crazy. The month of September is one hot blazing mess. Many people not of the desert wonder what we do during the day. Well I'll tell you that we work in air conditioned buildings. Or stay inside our air conditioned homes. It's at night that we all become vampires. So during this past week, Kathie and I have done some late night birding together with some really fantastic finds BUT I won't bore you all with the details. I'll just share with you all what has happened on our last two outings together on this Friday night roundup.
One night we headed out to explore several recharge basins to find some new birds for our Arizona list. We accomplished our mission by finding the Pectoral Sandpiper. And I accidentally found the Black-bellied Plover thanks to some Northern Pintails and noisy Killdeer. Overall, the night was wonderful. We sat under a gazebo in the dark and went over our lists together. No one was around except us. Or so we thought. Normally I wouldn't hang around the area but because Kathie was with me, we stayed a few minutes longer. Rattlesnakes are still out and about and they love the evening hours. It's also during this time of night that the temps are actually enjoyable! The next day I found out someone had committed suicide not too far away from where we did our counts that night! Creepy! We were the last people there. A poor morning walker found the person hanging. The strange bit is that I didn't hear a single thing about it on the news. But the birder world knew thanks to a rare bird spotted in the area. Thankfully we both only saw birds. As you'll see in this post, people aren't the only ones out there past dark.
In the darknesss, birds begin to hunker down. Nocturnal animals, birds and reptiles wake up and begin their nightly hunts. Kathie and I both reunite up again on Thursday for dinner and a quick evening survey of night birds around Saguaro National Park. We hear a Great Horned Owl, Common Poorwills and see a Lesser Nighthawk. A fat rattlesnake also moves out in front of us along with several Kangaroo Rats. Then we head back to her place to observe the many Nectar Bats feeding from her hummingbird feeders. And it does not disappoint! We ate the quiche she made(yum!) and watch bats at her feeders. At one point, one of the bats went to the bathroom on my arm. It was like a drop of rain but not.
|The giant Jackrabbit|
My night vision isn't so great. My targeting on the lens had to go to manual and I had to be ready for these fast moving bats! So while I am happy with this shot, I was even happier with my next one.....a surprise guest...well....surprised us. My hearing and sense of smell are both top notch. They make up for that blind eye I have. I sensed a disturbance in the force........
......and I looked up to see this Ring-tailed Cat watching us from Kathie's roof! I am tall so I was able to watch this silent mammal run across her roof with lightning speed. The long tail and smooth body reminded me of the old cartoon Rikki Tikki Tavi. He would come back several times watching us and then quickly vanish again. A life mammal for me. And as Kathie discovered on this night, a resident. I manual toggled my camera and was able to get off three pics before he disappeared. We heard him climb around the building. Apparently Nectar Bats are delicious. We both could smell a strong and not so fresh smell. As we traced the source of the smell, we were led out to her front yard where we discovered that this mammal(not a cat but related to the raccoon family) sprayed around her mesquite tree. We also discovered that he did indeed use that tree to get onto her roof.
Birds, mammals and quiche with a friend. It doesn't get much better than that. So Kathie's boys watched football(since when is it on Thursday nights??!!!) while we watched the live action stuff going on just right outside her sliding doors. Now that is what I call fun. Happy weekend everyone!