Friday, March 31, 2017

Take Notice

The San Francisco Peaks outside of Flagstaff
Back in Arizona, the sun was out and spring had begun. 

Common Gallinule
Nesting birds were everywhere.  I was gone for one week and in one week so much had changed here!  New birds had arrived!  

a nesting Greater Roadrunner
Hawks begin the migration cycle. Then the Lucy's and Yellow Warblers arrive with the Bell's Vireos.  They are followed by the gulls, terns and sandpipers. While all that is going on, the Black-headed Grosbeaks, Tanagers and Orioles also move forward. Hummingbirds and night birds start to fly into the scene and it can be quite overwhelming! 

Ornate Tree Lizard
Sometimes it's hard to pick and choose where to go because there is so much activity happening around us. The birds are most active in the spring as they call for a potential mate.  It is also during this time that birders will get quality views of the normally secretive birds.  

Lucy's Warbler
The wildflower show begins and is then followed by cacti blooming everywhere!

Parry's Beardtongue or Parry's Penstemon
We watch as juvenile Bald Eagles attempt to copulate or just practice aerial flights with other birds.  Here, we can see the size difference between these two birds as they fly over Mormon Lake up in Flagstaff. I didn't observe any aggression between the Bald Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk.  I got a sense that it was either territorial or that the eagle was practicing its flight moves with the hawk.  Human comparison?  Like two ice skaters in sync with each other during a performance.  

This was quite a show. 

I hear a Great Horned Owl make a call.  I follow his low hoot that echoes in the palms and find two ladies making out.  I said, "Hey, stop making out and look at the owl above you!"  They pulled out their cell phones and snapped shots.  Apparently love is the air for all living things. 

Great Horned Owl

"The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it."  Peter Pan 

I am a birder and always will be.  I cannot give up this journey.  Sometimes I question myself.  When is enough....enough?  And then something happens to remind me that without certain elements in my life, I'd be lost.

While my trip to the Pacific Northwest satiated my lifer search, it once again brought me back to reality.  Each day alive is a gift. I was reminded of that once again when one of my fellow co-workers unexpectedly passed away during surgery.  She was only 62 years old. I have met so many people that only have their work or kids that define them. Retirement is a reawakening for many people. But for some, it's the scariest thing ever. This teacher was always the first one at school helping the kiddos learn their math. Once she told me that if she didn't have her job, she wouldn't be sure what she would do. And that is a reality for many people. 

Curve-billed Thasher in Cholla nest
I get so busy with my own life that I forget to stop and think about those who suffer from loneliness. It's often said we surround ourselves with people who are like-minded.  I think most people are busy, happy and pursuing their passions.  But that isn't always the case.  I drown in my work sometimes and need to take the time to pay better attention to my coworkers around me.  I mean....I do it with the birds! And if I didn't pay attention to the details in my marriage, I'd be in big trouble:)

Hedgehog Cactus in bloom
 A moment in time.  That's all we have.  As spring arrives, I remember to soak it all into this brain of mine. My definition of work?  It's something I enjoy.  It grounds me and gives me a routine but it isn't my life.  That's not to say that I don't love what I do....but it doesn't define my existence.  My marriage, the birds, my friends, my family....and my cats take up a lot of my time. I'm a lucky guy and I never take any of that for granted.

"Hey!, it's time for a haircut!"
Life is an adventure. So is shaving a long haired cat. I know Ms. Harmon would have loved this because she was a cat person just like we are. We talked about cats way more than anyone ever should:)  Until next time....


  1. You love birds, you love family and now you have a problem. Go somewhere or stay home. However, I think that you will never give up bird watching. You showed them today beautifully. The bird of the third photo fascinated me and flowers. Regards.

  2. Life is short. Follow your heart. You set a wonderful example Chris.

  3. I've much enjoyed reading this post, Chris. You've even included an owl - and a cat!

    Spring is arriving in fits and starts here, but we'll get there eventually. I need to make sure I make the most of it whilst I can before the actions of a certain person in the Shite House wreck the climate for all time.

    With my very best wishes to you both - - Richard

    1. I hear yah!!! I enjoy spring but then I begin to think...ugh....summer is arriving. And as for that Shite House.....I'd take the e off of that word. That guy is trash. I absolutely hate him as do most Americans. His time is coming. It's not even a Republican/Democrat's just....get that asshole out of office and have Pence take over. We are not going to get things done with all of his stupidity out there. And what's interesting is that even with his ignorance on the environment, many companies are still continuing with their environmental guidelines. Even his own party is getting disgusted with him.

  4. Sorry, that should have been 'White House' - or should it?

    1. It'll be White when the Democrats win back their seats in less than two years:)

  5. Hi Chris. So sorry you lost a co-worker. She was relatively young! It's sad when people define their lives only by their jobs or family. There is so much more to life. You help us embrace the beauty every day in your posts!

    Loved the photos of the bald eagle and the red-tailed hawk! Awesome shots of everything. Our high desert isn't unlike Northern AZ. Loved seeing the San Francisco Peaks again! We will be back in AZ soon to pick up the rest of our things...I'm bracing myself for the temperature change! ;-)

    1. It is QUITE a shock to the system coming from where you are now to here. BUT hopefully the weather will play nice. We've had such weather extremes here lately. One day it 90 degrees and the next it was 66 degrees!!! Crazy! Let me know when you come down. I would really like to meet you:)

  6. Well spring looks to be in full force there in Arizona. We're getting there here in the PNW - still lots of rain though. Loved your Eagle shots, the cacti, the pretty flowers, and your big fuzzy kitty too.


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