Thursday, May 12, 2016

Crafty Playmaker

The rare Flame-colored Tanager
I have realized that I cannot bird 24/7.  I have thought about cloning myself but I don't know how to do it. Yet.  With final exams, visitors from others states, and other demands, I find myself often exhausted. But it's a good exhaustion. April and May bring in the best birds, but they are also some of the busiest for me. Most of the time, I do a good job making people believe I don't have a job.  But then April comes and the truth is revealed. But. And. But. And. But......yes, my writing in May takes a hit:)

Luckily, much of our "tah-dahs!" in Arizona revolve around outdoor activities.  So when visitors come, I carefully schedule beautiful hikes and visits to some of our most incredible places.  Take for example Ramsey Canyon(above).  A Flame-colored Tanager was hanging out there, and what a coincidence!  So were we:)

Hammond's Flycatcher
Tucson isn't hot or cold right now.  It's juuuuuuuuuust right!  So I like to take my teaching outdoors.  On this day, we had a fun break from grammar lessons and celebrated Guacamole Day!  

While the kids were having fun, I was also monitoring our nesting Great Horned Owls.  

Great Horned Owlet
 Or were they monitoring us? Perhaps they had a taste for avocado?:)  Either way, the parents and their owlets were in good shape. This year they had 3 healthy owlets!

Meanwhile, the students finished up their guac and began tasting each other's work.  While we were sitting down at the picnic tables, I had them move back a little from an area I was staging. Then I taught them how to "bird whisper" with a few crunchy tortilla strips.  "Profe, there are no birds here!"  I responded, "They are all around us watching." A few moments of silence and some crunchy tortilla bits did the trick. A massive flock of sparrows, doves and other birds flew onto the scene. "No way!!!" Maybe I'll get one of them addicted to this birding passion besides learning Spanish:)  Or better yet, they become a Spanish speaking Ornithologist!  I can dream, can't I?

Spotted Towhee
Over the weeks, a rare Caspian Tern would show up as would many other beautiful and wondrous birds. 

My Dad would visit.  And as a transition between work and his visit, I would bird for 20 or 30 minutes quietly each day. I am overwhelmed by people's conversations non-stop all day.  So it's important that I shut down away from people for just a few hours each day.  Birding allows me this opportunity. I observed Common Poorwills and Lesser Nighthawks feeding at sunset.  

While the locations weren't exotic, I didn't care.  I just needed to connect with the outdoors alone.  People make time to exercise or go to church or whatever.  I make time for nature.  Without it, I would go stir crazy. 

Black-crowned Night Heron
We had a great time.  My Dad saw lots of wonderful places.  And he got to meet some great people like Anne and Christopher Lucic of Oracle.

Anne proudly stands next to her hubby Chris.  They both are artists who live in Oracle and the sculpture behind them is his work!  The Oracle Sailcart
They invited us to explore Oracle State Park and the ranch house.  What an amazing morning out! I discovered where the Western Scrub-Jays hang out on Mt. Lemmon:) I fell in love with the artsy little town of Oracle.  Thanks Anne for the wonderful tour!

Now it's off to explore again.  It's time to find more life birds.  An epic journey is about to take place.  After finals are over, it'll be time to fly again!

Until next time friends......


  1. The Caspian Tern is stunning! I still always love the owl photos too.
    Sounds like a lot of fun happening. Fun can be tiring. Not sure what your cat is thinking there in the last photo.

  2. Maintaining a healthy balance is the key. I definitely prescribe myself a daily dose of nature.

  3. Don't you go overdoing it. I was tired reading this.

  4. Grat that you can take your class outside and do some birding at the same time. The Owls with their young are looking great.

  5. Wonderful post Chris and lovely to hear (and see) how the Great Horned Owls/Owlets are getting on.

    You can't beat a daily dose of nature for recharging the batteries - would also go round the bend without mine.

  6. So great and lovely photos. I like read your writings. Great post!

  7. I'm not 100% sure that the cat is having a good time in that picture! Great range of birds - including one I can see - Caspian Tern.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  8. That Night Heron is a real beauty.

  9. Wonderful bird photos Chris. I love the one of the owl peeking out of the nest & the Flame-colored Tanager is stunning colours. Although I do think your Cat is less than impressed

  10. Such lovely shots, Chris! As I face leaving in a few months I realize all the things I DIDN'T do! I haven't been able to check out so many of the places you feature, mostly because hiking is now so difficult (and impossible for my husband) and I regret the sights (and birds!) we have missed! Always love your beautiful photos! Yes, April & May are such great months here but it is now beginning to heat up and we will be indoors so much more. Plus, I've been painfully aware that my birding (what little I have done) is already suffering with the demands of this upcoming move! :-(


Thanks for stopping by!