Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Hoot Suite

Blue-throated Hummingbird
Written the first week of June before the Guatemala trip. I should have been getting ready to pack, but instead I went into full birder mode before my trip to Guatemala. Is that terrible?  I promise those posts are coming up.  But I couldn't sleep at night knowing there were birds out there that would be gone by the time I got back.  I've noticed that the White-eared Hummingbird stops by for a brief month visit and then leaves elsewhere.  This year I didn't want to miss that visit and hung out at the hummingbird feeders.
White-eared Hummingbird (Lifebird 340)
I would have to say that this was one of my favorite days birding.  Pat was able to come along with me and see some amazing birds.  The White-eared Hummer flew quickly and near to me.  I had my eye out for this one as he would be the next new hummingbird to add to my hummingbird list.  If you'd like to see my Charm of Hummingbirds from last year, click on the link here.  You want hummingbirds?  Come to Southern Arizona.  They're all waiting for you:)
Magnificent Hummingbird
There was a man from the East coast with his wife at the CAS(the hummingbird feeder area) at Beatty's Guest Ranch.  It's the number one spot to see many of our North American hummingbirds.  Ash Canyon with Mary Jo also has a few others not seen up at Beatty's like the Lucifer Hummingbird.  Each place asks for 5 dollars to help fill those feeders etc. I sure do appreciate their generosity by allowing us a better glimpse at some of the rarer jewels found in the Huachuca mountains.  The visiting man was extremely nice and I helped him find his Blue-throated Hummingbird.  It's fun helping people find lifebirds. Normally it's the other way around:)   Their faces and expressions make me happy.  So what could be better than hummingbirds?  Do you really need to ask?
Look closely at the tree.  Past the blue throated lizard.  Beyond the gnarly branches.  Just below the second branch.
Life's little miracles.  Two Northern Pygmy Owlets are just about to explore our big world.   My smile was wide.  It was lifebird number 341.  Owls!
Northern Pygmy Owls(Lifebird 341)
For 30 minutes, we watched and watched the antics of these two little ones.
Some people find their target birds and quickly move off to see their next one.  Not me.  I watch until I can't watch anymore.  And sometimes that interferes with finding the other target birds.  There were 5 in Miller Canyon.  I dipped on the Northern Goshawk and Montezuma Quail.  I could hear them close by but I really wanted to see these Northern Pygmy Owls.
Owls make me so happy.   Like the man finding his Blue-throated Hummingbird, I smiled and smiled and smiled the whole time observing these little birds.   These owlets will grow to be just a little bigger than the Elf Owls.  Here's the Elf Owl below.  They are really tiny!  The pic makes them look bigger than they really are. I put the above shot of the tree to show you just how small these little holes in the trees can be.  The only way I can track them are with my ears.  If they don't make a sound, I'll walk right by them.
Elf Owl at Madera Canyon
There's a trick to owling.  I'm learning how to do it better.  Obviously the best(and easiest!) times to find them all are when they are nesting.  That's why this trip was important.  By the time I came back from Guatemala, they would have been gone.  These little birds are about to fledge.
I love all birds, but I am not embarrassed to say that I love owls and hummingbirds more.  Every bird has their place and beauty.  I see that every time I'm out looking for birds.  Even Turkey Vultures are majestic birds.
But there is something about the grace, intelligence, and gentle beauty of the owl that makes me fall in love with them everytime I see them.  Had Pat not spotted this Mexican Spotted Owl, I would have walked right past him:)  On this birdy outing, we had a beautiful hike up Miller Canyon.
Mexican Spotted Owl


  1. Wonderful, simply wonderful!
    The blue throated hummingbird is magic in this photograph and the owls are "enchanting."
    Does it mean that you are already back from Guatemala??

  2. Yes, but I haven't really been home for long as we've been on birding treks nonstop since Guatemala. Today I'm actually sitting down and relaxing!:)

  3. Awesome pictures! What a great combo of owls and hummingbirds pictures!

  4. You KNOW I just LOVE owls. This post was thrilling!

  5. Nice photos again today. We have one type of hummingbird that visits here during the summers, the green throated. It seems to pay no attention to me and comes up close. Is'n tGuatemala a beautiful place. I work with students teaching them English. They come here for complete immersion. It seems to work. They are able to pass the TOEFL test after only 10 weeks of working with me. So many nice "tie-in" to Guatemala. JC

  6. the white-ear is so cool!

    those pygmy owls are adorable!

  7. It's so wonderful....I like that...

  8. Wow, Chris! I would be in birdie heaven with the hummers and those cute owls around. No wonder you had to be out there birding instead of packing. Awesome birds and photos. BTW, when do the hummers leave AZ?

  9. Hola:)! The hummingbird migration has begun with the first wave of Rufous and Allen's Coming through the area. The height of hummingbird love is the end of July and into August with September and October becoming the waning months. Anna's and Costa's are permanent residents here. Broad-bills are commonly rare hummer in Tucson all year round. During several counts, we've spotted them at feeders during December and January! Permanent residents? Perhaps. The rest all head south, but several Blue-throated and Magnificent have also become year round residents at homes in the various canyons of Southern Arizona. It's quite fascinating:)

  10. Great that you saw the Fledglings! Wonderful stuff.

    Yet another year when I have missed that White-eared Hummingbird...
    I saw one of the Pygmy parents in that very tree hole in May--glad they successfully nested.

    Great post

  11. I remember you guys going on that trek. I thought by the time we'd make it there, it would be too late but we hit it at just the right time at about 5 PM. They were getting ready to fly. I don't trust the road up to Miller during Monsoon so it's always winter or June when we go:) Lots of cool birds around right now in the higher elevations.

  12. Hummingbirds will always admire, but also owls are pretty birds. It was definitely nice to look at their chicks. Yours.

  13. OMG, those Northern Pygmy Owls are precious! I still can't tell where that nest hole is. Oh, and the hummers are nice too.

  14. Wow, Northern Pygmy Owls in a nest hole are adorable! I've never seen an Owl in nature. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Lovely to see Hummingbirds and Owls again. You are so fortunate to have Hummingbirds in the wild :) and Owls are one of my favourite bird groups too :) Thanks for sharing Chris - great post and photos as always :)

  16. I agree, Chris, there's something special about owls. Those babies are so cute, lucky they were restless sleepers that day. I thought of you when I was at Inle Lake. So many birds, but I just couldn't manage to photograph them non=blurry. Except for one that I think must have taken pity on me and virtually posed for the camera.

  17. I think humming birds and owls, along with the blue wrens and wagtails would probably top my list too Chris. Totally adorable shots of the owlets peeking out at you, so happy that you didn't miss them..Happy birding!

  18. Goodness but that owl is magnificent! I see you have elevated him to header status.

  19. The owls in the tree hole are just too cute!
    Owls certainly are fascinating.
    Love the hummers too. Always the teacher helping others find their birds.

  20. Great photos of the baby owls. Reminds me of the photos I have of the baby Bluebirds peeking out of their nest....Your owls are adorable. So glad you saw them!!!!!

    IF we have owls around here, I never see them.. BUT--I'm not the intense birder that you are. I just love the ones that come to my backyard feeders.

    We do have some Hummingbirds --and I have 3 feeders out for them.. We usually had Ruby-throated ones here.

    Have a great weekend.

  21. Great Hummingbirds photos and the Owl, superb.

  22. Many nice creatures you hav "catched"! :)

  23. Those tiny Elf Owls are just superb and as you and their name says, "tiny" indeed. I think showing the tiny hole in the tree did the trick Chris. Must be hard to find all those tiny hummers too - concentration required I guess. Congrats on the lifers.

  24. I love seeing your owl pictures Chris, they are a wonderful group of birds indeed. I put an owl link up on facebook you might enjoy (if you have a weird sense of humour like me!) but for some reason it wouldn't let me tag you.

  25. I like both hummingbirds and owls, and I've been wishing to photograph them. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to spot them yet, let alone photograph them. But I'm so glad to see all your pictures of birds which are beautiful as always. Your birding adventures too are interesting to read.


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