|Apples=Fall! These apples had a shower thanks to Mother Nature.
We've been on the road since the beginning of September and this past weekend was one for relaxing and enjoying the bird feeders up at my friends' cabin on Mt. Lemmon. It's close to Tucson and completely in its own world. They have birds like Red-breasted Nuthatches, Steller's Jays, Yellow-eyed Juncos, Mountain Chickadees and other colorful characters coming to their feeders. So I loaded up their feeders with a book in hand, breathed in the pine scented air, got in my pj's, watched the rain come down and had my camera ready. And all in that order:)
|A wet Abert's Squirrel ponders if there are any nuts to be found
|Pacific-slope Flycatcher happens to pass by during a serious conversation! Yes it was awkward to say "Excuse me. I need to get this picture."
And thus began my studies for the weekend. Warbler migration is happening all around us and so I went to the top of Mt. Lemmon to get better photo documentation of Hermit Warblers. They currently are migrating down along the Pacific Coast regions back into Mexico and Central America. Every spring and fall some will pass through Southern Arizona within our Sky Islands.
Meanwhile, the Townsend's Warbler crosses over from the state of California and the North during the same time period as they head to their wintering grounds both in Arizona, Mexico and Central America. They not only cross paths but have also been known to crossbreed! Hybrids are possible between these two warbler species!
|Juvenile Hermit Warbler-I'm thinking female because there are no black markings on the throat and the underside is whitish overall
It was a relaxing weekend. I didn't have to go far to study my target birds. Plus I had a wildlife party at the cabin. Pygmy Nuthatches were out of control! They were not afraid of me at all.
I sat reading my book while 16 of these little birds clung to the large cylinder feeders. Then I noticed that one of the Pygmy Nuthatches got inside the feeder! I helped the little bugger out with assistance from his friends. They sat around me watching as I opened the feeder up so that he could get out. These days I feel like I have a stronger connection to the birds than I do with people! I wish someone had been there to witness the event. It was a Snow White moment as I sang.... "♪♪Aaaaaaahahaaaaa..♫..aaaahahaaaaa♪♪!" To be honest, my best work usually happens when I'm alone on these treks.
|An Abert's Squirrel and Steller's Jay at odds.
I arrived to the rainy and wet mountain top and all of my energy just drained from my body once the cool temps hit me. I miss the cool temps. The cabin had been quiet, but I made some calls to attract the local Steller's Jays. They came quickly as I set up my peanut feeders. Steller's Jays will also inadvertently signal to other birds that there is food nearby. Or at least that has been my observation from visiting the cabin over the past 10 years. Quickly enough, I had birds at the feeders. Below is a photo of the views I had from the cabin windows. It was quite the contrast from the hot desert floor below where it was sunny and in the 90's! All thanks to tropical depression Odile!
Soon the desert will be safe again to explore. Right now, it's full of baby snakes, reptiles and bugs! Herper heaven! I am a snake charmer(not by choice) and want to avoid contact with the scaled variety. My issue? Accidentally stepping on the poor things while I'm scanning the trees and sky! Over the past several years I've had many encounters. Take for example this Green Rat Snake. I almost stepped on the poor bugger thanks to a very vocal Hepatic Tanager. Then I discovered it was a Herper's dream to find one of these. Apparently they are hard to find! So we kept the location secret from the Sith Herpers who would illegally poach the area for this gem.
The heat and humidity are still too much to endure after being out in the desert for about 20 minutes, but the weather is cooling down each day. Here is a photo taken from my work place of the Santa Catalina mountains covered by the tropical remains of Odile. Summerhaven is up there and covered by the dense clouds!
|For my plant friends. In the forefront are the gorgeous Ironwood trees. The purple bushes are Texas Ranger and our course, the large cactus is our very own Saguaro Cactus. Yeah....Arizona has it all!
This past weekend was another successful study. Sometimes birders will become frustrated with poor observations of a life bird. Sometimes we only get a brief glance of our life bird before it disappears for good. So I'm thankful that the Hermit Warblers played nice this weekend. Here are some other common players found around the town of Summerhaven. And haven it was!
Top to bottom and left to right
Hermit Warbler; Yellow-eyed Junco
Wilson's Warbler; Mountain Chickadee
Pygmy Nuthatch; Pine Siskin
Steller's Jay; Townsend's Warbler
Thanks for tuning into Las Aventuras each week! For more birds from around the world check out Wild Bird Wednesday!