Monday, November 21, 2016

Dreaming Trees

These Cottonwoods will be trimmed instead of getting cut down.  Many visitors signed petitions to keep the trees where they are. Storm damage had caused several of these trees to drop their large limbs around the San Pedro house prompting action.  These trees are home to several woodpecker species and owls and provide food and shade during the hot summer months. It's one of the few reliable places you can find Pyrrholoxias and Common Ground-Doves

This past weekend I quietly walked along the paths of the riparian corridors in Southern Arizona. 

Babs observes a rare juvenile Common Black Hawk on the DeAnza Trail
I was joined by Babs Buck for one of the treks.  We enjoyed wonderful views of many birds while celebrating the cooler temps again.

A Santa Cruz resident takes Molly, her horse, for a much needed exercise.
Our challenge? Could we find something rare? We went to find what we could find but without expectations.  It was a fun morning out.

Juvenile Common Black Hawk

It didn't take long before we spotted a juvenile Common Black Hawk!  It fed from grasshoppers along the Santa Cruz river.

The bird seemed to follow us along the DeAnza trail.  This hawk should be down in Mexico or Central America right now, but it has decided to hang around Tubac.  It has been an unusually warm fall so this may explain why this bird is still hanging around the Santa Cruz river.

While not rare, we found the orestera subspecies of the Orange-crowned Warbler.  It's not the most common subspecies here in the state.  Most of the Orange-crowned Warblers here in AZ fall under the brighter yellowish/green lutescens subspecies.

Orange-crowned Warbler(orestera subspecies)
This was an exciting addition to the other Orange-crowned Warbler finds.  Altogether, there are 4 subspecies. I can now say that I have officially seen 3 of the 4 subspecies.

lutescens subspecies

The lutescens subspecies is shown above with the orange-crown showing(rare).  The sordida subspecies was found on Catalina Island off the coast of California.  It has been mentioned that this bird may be separated as a new species down the road. It lives on the Channel Islands year round. 

sordida subspecies
Birding is so diverse.  You get as nerdy as ID'ing subspecies or meeting up with artists.  Here is Michael Summers inspiring onlookers with his talent at the Scottsdale's DeRubeis Fine Art Gallery.  Ideas were exchanged for an art show. It would be so much fun to collaborate with him BUT I need to clone myself.  Money for birding trips?  Or money for putting a photo gallery together? Such decisions!

Michael Summers at work
But on this weekend, I took it slow.  It was a quiet walk alone to several places.  I watched a juvenile Peregrine Falcon at sunset as I let my body absorb the cold temps.  It felt so good.  This summer has been relentless.  I am looking forward to the winter ahead.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon
The trees along the riparian corridor are rich with life right now. 

The trees are about to sleep for several months.

Babs snapped this shot of me.  We had a great morning out.
And as I walk under these dreaming trees, I plan to take my birding into a quieter chapter of my life.


  1. It will not be like you to take birding quieter but perhaps that's a new phase in your life. The photographs of the trees particularly the first and last are stunning as are the shots of the birds

  2. Beautiful photos as always Chris - love the Orange-crowned Warbler in particular :) Look forward to hearing more about new phases in your birding life as your plans develop.

  3. Come, watch and show beautiful birds, and interesting photos. Today, I grabbed a tree and seventh picture. Regards.

  4. Nice photos - as usual. Enjoyed my visit today. Jack


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