Monday, June 9, 2014

It's A Dry Heat

Yellow-eyed Junco collects nesting materials
June has arrived here in the Sonoran Desert. And it is hot hot hot!  Birders get up at 4:30 AM to start their day! They can bird "comfortably" for a few hours before being forced to return home. The retired birder gets up early and birds.  Then they take an afternoon nap:)  For me, I am trapped inside my house during the day because of all the projects/conferences/appointments going on.  However, I still try to bird up on the mountain for some cooler temps and even cooler birds when I get the chance.  

Just a couple weeks ago, we lost yet another hiker on a popular trail in Phoenix.  The cause?  Not enough water to stay hydrated.   He passed out and never woke up.  These sad stories are always difficult to hear. For us desert rats, they are important reminders to carry lots of water.  Of course, no one should be hiking in the deadly afternoon sun for so many reasons. So what's a birder/hiker to do? Go early. Let someone know where you're going. Or go with others. Bring lots of water or a camel pack.  Wear a hat and sunscreen. 

Painted Redstart
So I went hiking up on the cooler Mt. Lemmon because I despise the heat. I followed several trails near the UA space observatories. At one point, I sat down observing the birds calling around me. 

House Wren
In one location, I sat near a puddle of water in the woods.  Here warblers and thrushes came down for a drink.

Red-faced Warbler
As of late, I haven't been able to really do any serious birding because of various projects.  El Presidio needed a parking lot makeover.  And so I supervised the project and funding.  After it was done, it looked so beautiful that I didn't want to park on it at all:)

El Presidio gets a little TLC
 As a reward for surviving the late morning temps with the parking lot crew, I quickly took a break and drove to a local park to find a rare Canada Goose. These birds are common everywhere but Tucson:) 

So I quickly walked and sweat my way in 111 degree temps to find this one bird.  It took 15 minutes and then it was back in my car. 

Canada Goose at Columbus Park
When I become antsy, I sit down, edit photos and watch my feeders from the windows.  

American Robin
I've been playing around with a different photo program on an Apple computer to enhance the details of the pics better. 

Hermit Thrush has quite the appetite
But even that gets to be a little too stationary for me. 

On the quiet trail, I looked down upon the Tucson valley.  I could almost feel the heat from where I stood.  There was no escaping it.   One day later, we headed into the hotter city of Phoenix for Comicon. 

I love art!  This is an Effie impersonation utilizing a sweet butterfly design from the Hunger Games movie!  
 I had a difficult time staying inside buildings surrounded by thousands of people.  It was a little too much.  To ease my mind, I looked for things that were nature inspired. 

And I found lots of interesting things that included wildlife into their designs.  We had a great time, but I still needed to bird a little.  There have been sporadic reports over the years about two Mute Swans hanging out at a cemetery.  We escaped the massive crowds and braved the 114 degree temps.  People like to say that in our desert, we have a dry heat. Yeaaaaah:)  It's still hot and we still sweat....creating humidity:)  So we found the swans without any issues, but the bugs were terrible around the grassy areas. That outing lasted 20 minutes. 

Mute Swan
So what do most desert people do during our driest and hottest month in Arizona?  We take trips to cooler places like San Diego, Flagstaff, Pinetop, attend any convention or event that has lots of air conditioning etc etc. 

My brother Matt(in a Batman outfit he made from scratch!) with Deathstroke and Bane

Star Wars action!

Richard Dean Anderson from Macgyver and Stargate SG-1
A very special epic and COOL trip is about to happen this upcoming weekend. More to come from Las Aventuras next week. For now, stay in the shade and drink plenty of fluids.  And thanks for stopping by!

Check out other birds from around the world at Wild Bird Wednesday!


  1. I raise a nice cold glass of cold water to you and to your next outing!
    And congratulations for the parking lot.

  2. You do have an interesting and varied life, Chris. We are starting to get that sort of heat too, although more often around 40C, and it is too hot to do much - even if it is dry! I do like the Hermit Thrush.

  3. Hi Chris, the heat sounds awful! But, after this past cold and snowy winter you will not hear me complain about hot weather!, love your beautiful birds, congrats on the rare sightings! Stay cool and happy birding!

  4. A great post Chris! I especially like the swan and all of the photos.
    Stay cool!

  5. beautiful junco and warbler!

    sorry about the hiker...

  6. You sure have been busy. Your brother's Batman costume really is impressive! Love the Canada goose and mute swan pictures.

  7. Hi Chris Great post with marvelous shots. I especially like the Hermit Thrush and the Mute Swan.

  8. Excellent post Chris.
    I'm certain I wouldn't cope with all that heat ... I'll stick to our temperate (rainy) climate for now!

    Congrats on seeing the CG.

  9. 114 degrees. Even in my wildest nightmares I can not imagine such heat, but it certainly looks hot (and sweaty) from the quiet trail. It's a lovely shot of th Red-faced Warbler - one I never heard of, but if you need a Canada Goose we have lots of the nuisance birds here in the UK. In some parts the Canadas are culled - now there's irony.

    In answer to your question Chris. The shore birds in my locality, Lapwings, Redshanks and Oystercatchers haven't moved - they're gone - for good.

  10. I'm sorry Phil. That makes me sad. I wish the local or big government would take measures in some of these areas to reestablish these birds. I'm not just talking about over in your neck of the woods but all around the world. I enjoy reading your observations and reports. So thank you for sharing from your neck of the woods.

  11. I'm sorry to hear about the hiker. I'm glad we don't have the kind of temps you're having. Macgyver was my favorite tv show when I was little.

  12. After a cold winter, you should be glad that it is warm, but it is a little heat, lol. Love those birds there.

  13. Great photos of all the beautiful birds. A very interesting commentary on how to manage the heat!Early mornings are great and then I am glad I don't have to keep working in the middle of the day any more!

  14. The heat is unbearable! Glad you were able to get out some. You got some really nice shots. Plus, Comicon looks like it was great fun!

    We got up to Mt. Lemmon about three weeks ago and I actually got some bird photos! But I haven't posted them because I want to finish the series of Madera Canyon pictures first.

  15. I love your photos from ComicCon. I went to the one here in Melbourne last year, first time attending, and it was so much fun( I look forward to going again this year.

  16. I think that I could feel the heat, just by reading this post, Chris! I don't think I'd venture out for more than a few minutes at a time with temperatures like that - unless it was to find premises with aircon. Thankfully, in UK where temperatures over 100 are uncommon and few homes have aircon, I've not felt the need to do this very often - but I have done occasionally, even if it's only to take a relieving drive in the car.

  17. I beg to's NOT a dry heat in the summers in AZ. During the build-up of the humidity and then, monsoon season. It's almost unbearable at that time of year.

    LOVE the painted Redstart.

  18. I'm glad you were able to capture these gorgeous birds during short jaunts here and there. That heat sounds just awful! We haven't gotten to the 100 degree mark, but as soon as these crazy spring storms go away I know it will be here. Nothing like what you have though. Be careful on your hikes!

  19. Beautiful photos Chris. Must admit I can't even begin to imagine how you bear the heat - I wilt at 25 degrees centigrade!!

    Interesting about the Canada Geese - they are so "common" over here. Love the Convention pictures - I get the same as you in crowded places like that and looking for anything to do with wildlife can provide an "escape" :)

  20. Your bird shots are brilliant Chris, so sharp and clear, loved the parrots from last post. I know what you mean about the heat, it's exactly the same here in summer, early morning the best time for outdoor activities. You did a fab job of the car park, lets hope everyone respects all the hard work and keeps it nice :)

  21. It was in the 50's here last night and most likely won't make it into the 70's today. Rain rain rain.
    Love all your pics, they are getting better and better.

  22. Whoa, way too hot for me. Scary story about the birder dying in the heat. You are brave to endure those temps, but thanks for the delightful selection of birds.

  23. Hola, beautiful pictures! I'm sorry for the hiker, I hope people now take enough water when going hiking at the Sonoran Desert.

  24. Great shots and commentary, Chris. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Your close-ups are amazing. I'm impressed. Seems like you have a fun time and your brother looks the part as Batman.

  26. Your pics are gorgeous. Just stopped by to wish you a fun journey to a cooler clime! Enjoy your visit with Kathie. I'm looking forward to hearing all about it.

  27. Great part of the world - but I think I'm glad I was there in the winter!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  28. Yikes. How do the animals cope? I feel the same way about animals here in winter. They sure are tough.

  29. You are crazy and that heat would keep me inside too! Though not with such crazy characters, LOL! Love the red-faced warbler and painted restart shots!

  30. You are crazy and that heat would keep me inside too! Though not with such crazy characters, LOL! Love the red-faced warbler and painted restart shots!


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