Monday, May 11, 2015

Above and Beyond

Cascarones and Cinco De Mayo
It has been utter chaos.  Too much going on! The above picture is how I felt this past week.  Final exams, a retirement party and a whole lot more!  So I'll try to piece it all together the best I can. 


Coach Dee in the middle and Ms. Tami(aka Zumba Diva)
First off, we had a retirement party for an amazing teacher.  We are going to miss Coach Dee's loud and crazy antics around school.  I don't do work parties or really hang out with work friends, but this woman is an inspiration and I, along with so many others, will miss her. 


Red Yucca-a good choice for Tucson!  Anna's Hummingbirds will love this plant while it is blooming!
Meanwhile, we're seriously planning for wedding stuff and trying to get everyone on the same page for the October event.  I'm overwhelmed with finals preps and grading.  None of it is very fun.  So on my breaks at work, I walk outside and just find a corner on campus and listen to the birds singing.  There is so much nesting going on!


Scaled Quail
During the weekend, I worked with Magill on the "Big Sit" and Cornell's "Global Big Day".  This was way more interesting! Saturday began with an idea and evolved into something more.  We headed to Willcox Lake and counted the birds which was productive, but the idea of sitting around this lake for a full day was a bit much.  We decided to combine these two events into one. 

Gambel's Quail
The Quail were posing as were the Orioles, Tanagers and lots of other interesting birds!  Eventually, we get to Coachline Lake and set up our gear for the Big Sit.  I pull out the cooler and chairs. We get the snacks out and I pop open a nice cold beer. After a day of hiking, it was good to sit down and relax for about 4 hours under a tent. 


Magill made awesome shirts for our Coachline "Big Sit".  Little Ground Squirrels kept us entertained while we counted the birds under the big tent. 


We ended the day on a high note as 60 Lesser Nighthawks serenaded about us catching insects.  It was quite the sight!

Round-tailed Ground Squirrel
We both went home exhausted but happy.  It was a nice day out.  Sunday, I wanted to really hike and take advantage of the nice cool temps. So on Mother's Day, Micheal and I headed out to the beautiful Miller Canyon. 

Black-chinned Hummingbird
Again, we had a wonderful day out.  There was lots of hiking and lots of great finds.  While we didn't find the Flame-colored Tanagers, we did see Mexican Jays chasing a Northern Goshawk, a nesting Blue-throated Hummingbird, and lots of amazing critters.

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard
For nearly 4 years, I have been birding.  June will mark my 4th anniversary as a changed man.  During these years, I've only had two sightings of the rare Chiricahuan Leopard Frog.  My first time was in Ramsey Canyon.  And my second time was in Miller Canyon on Sunday while crossing a stream.  


I think without current human intervention, these frogs would be extinct by now. I once heard a local naturalist tell another that it's only a matter of time before they disappear.  I also heard another report from a different naturalist who thinks they are making great progress.  What do I think?  Well, it's great that I saw a frog in this canyon.  Before the Miller Canyon fire, they were plentiful.  After the fire, they all but disappeared.  Finding one on Sunday was hopeful. 


And finally, here are some Southern Arizona flowers that really make a statement.  Below, the Golden Columbine is found at higher elevations around our Sky Islands.  


While this Mountain Rose Mallow is currently blooming in our butterfly garden at El Presidio in Tucson. This is one tough little plant!


Have a great week and stay tuned for more next week!


22 comments:

  1. Joli post !
    Bonne journée à toi.
    Cath.

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  2. Excellent the variety is superb but the spiny lizard is the star for me.

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  3. What a wonderful way to spend your time Chris. How is the garden at El Presido looking nowadays?

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    1. Hi Gary! I'll have to do a post on the garden. It's all growing in nicely and looks great. I'll snap shots for next week's post.

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  4. A great post full of color, interest, and beautiful images, Chris.

    Best wishes from England - - - - Richard

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  5. Wait a minute Chris!!!! Did you say wedding? Are you getting married in October? Exciting!!

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    1. Yes we are:) Exciting and stressful:)

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  6. Amazing hummingbird photo and love the quail shot, too!

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  7. Besides the birds you see and photograph, I also love the Southwestern wildflowers! Loved this post!

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  8. Hi Chris, cool sighting of the Nighthawks. And the hummer is gorgeous. Love the cute lizard and frog. Beautiful wildflowers.. Wonderful post and photos..

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  9. Wonderful set of images and I love the colours in the Lizard

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  10. awesome critters! love the quails!

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  11. Great pictures ;-)
    Céline & Philippe

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  12. The ground squirrel shot is so darn cute.

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  13. Sitting quietly under a tent with cold beer sounds like my kind of birding, but I'd miss the hiking part. How exciting to see the Chiricahuan Leopard Frog. Hope they're making a comeback. Schools almost over and then you'll have more time to play. And plan the wedding.

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  14. That quail looked like it was posing for sure! Happy 4th anniversary, I have a feeling there will be many more to come.

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  15. So many beautiful images, your life does sound a bit hectic at the moment. Happy birding.

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  16. I look forward to your posts every week SOO much! I love the places you go and the things you see, photograph and write about. The tent by the lake is my kind of birding! :-) Of course you know we can't walk much, and that is why. I love that you saw a blue throat nesting! Wow!!!! And, that leopard frog is amazing! Something I wish I could see during these coming monsoons or right after, is a spade-foot. Your photos are wonderful, as always!

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  17. Cold beers while birding sounds fun. I'd need to set a limit though as I might have some unexpected counts and a whole lot of unlikely species.

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  18. Wow! Chris so many amazing photos. You sound so busy at the moment - but its good that you can still escape into nature :) The little leopard frog is wonderful and I love the Red Yucca - would very much like one of those :)

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  19. Such beauty surrounds you, Chris! I am glad you and Magill had so much fun and so so many amazing birds!

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Thanks for stopping by!