Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Storm Systems

It has been one gray sky after another in Southern Arizona for the past 2 weeks.  And I love it.

The cool to cold air has been refreshing.  The walks are wonderful.

Birding has slowed down a bit which means I can just enjoy finding new year birds around Southern Arizona.

Our local, and rare-for-Tucson, wintering American Bittern has been VERY accommodating for pictures.  This has been the best view I've ever had of this species.

I've become enamored with "Stumpy" over the past visits at Sweetwater
I've been back at Sweetwater Wetlands and realized that I've missed the place.  Winter birders are back in great numbers and I feel safer parking my new vehicle in the parking lot.

A sneaky Plumbeous Vireo
My umbrella is always with me now.  So if it rains, I'm prepared.  There's nothing wrong about birding in the rain.  Sometimes it's the most beautiful thing in the world.

a curious Horned Lark
I ventured out to the grasslands on another trek and just enjoyed counting sparrows along the road. 

I broke my rule a little.  After we did our count in Pima county, I figured why not head to my favorite little town of Patagonia for a bit.

thirsty American Robins
While the skies were still gray in Patagonia, it didn't rain at all.  The birds were super active and we had a quite a show.  I almost fell asleep on the bench.

a rare White-throated Sparrow at Paton's Hummingbird House
Here's why I almost fell asleep.  I actually had tried getting up to Mt. Lemmon for a bird count but the rain and snow drove me out!  It was a white out on top.  The weather was actually good until I got to the top and then all hell broke loose!

Mt. Lemmon has crazy weather!
So plan B was to go to the grasslands.  At this point, I knew Micheal was up.  And the best way to motivate him was to tell him that I'd take him out to lunch.  Then we birded the grasslands and he wasn't having any of it.

Micheal doesn't like sparrows.  BOO!
So I conceded and took him to Patagonia where we could sit on the bench and watch birds.

a sexy red Fox Sparrow at Paton's!
More rain and snow are in the forecast and I'm in love.  Bring it on!

And here's one more shot of the American Bittern. Such a crazy looking bird. 

Finally, I'm excited to share with you all that the Great Horned Owls love our new nest that we've created for them!  Photographer, Jill Watkins, took these amazing shots of the owls as they prepare to nest. 

It's a relief and it's exciting.  A definite sign that spring is just around the corner.  Until next time....


  1. That American Bittern is fabulous, Chris, but the Great Horned Owls are, of course, my favourite! Best wishes from UK - - - Richard

    1. Thanks Richard! Still waiting on word about the lecture. I've been studying like a mad man. I'm so excited about birding there!

  2. I am just wondering how you are holding your umbrella while taking pictures?
    Such great pictures especially the look on the American Bittern's face which is worth its weight in gold!

    1. Very carefully! That's all I can say:) It's a balancing act. And some of the camera work was done from the car. Tricky business:)

  3. How sweet they are using the box, I really enjoyed my visit to Patagonia, it's nice to just sit back and let the birds come to you sometimes.

  4. Wonderful photos Chris especially of the American Bittern. If they are anything like English bitterns they are very elusive so all credit to you for getting such cracking shots :)

  5. Love the American Bittern but wow how lucky to have owls nesting. Very jealous. Enjoy your day, Diane

  6. Thanks to your wanderings I can see interesting birds. Our sparrow is not so colorful. The nest is interesting and the most important is that it already has tenants, cute owls. Greetings.


Thanks for stopping by!