December 21, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird

Just Birds

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

I’ve had the hummingbird feeder out since I arrived here and it has attracted a few hummers, but not many. Today I finally managed a couple of shots of them as I waited around for the quail to show up.

Photo Setup
Photo Setup

All that gold/brown vegetation out there has made for some nice backgrounds for my setup here at the campsite.

Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch

Two new arrivals here today, this Lesser Goldfinch who flew in, took a look around and decided he didn’t see anything he liked …

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

… and this Roadrunner, who showed up as I was downloading images to the computer. The two shots of him were taken through my dinette window.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

It really didn’t seem that cold to me at the time this shot was taken, around noon, but here he is in the classic “radiator” position.

Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail

The quail numbers continue to increase as does their frequency of showing up.

House Finch Lineup
House Finch Lineup

As always, lots of House Finches.

House Finch
House Finch
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

And the same old assortment of LLB’s.

White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Chipping Sparrows
Chipping Sparrows

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February 15, 2016 Salineno Birding Area, Texas

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

Beep! Beep!

For the last couple of months, we have had an occassional roadrunner come through patrolling the yard for any easy pickings. Since everyone seems to get a kick out of seeing one of these guys up close, I decided to see if he would be interested in finding some easy fast food  here and thus come through on a more regular basis.

It turns out we have a very local source of fresh, fast food for him right here, under our very noses … mice. Both myself, and the other cohosts here have a bit of a problem with mice wanting to invade our RV’s, most likely the result of so much birdseed being stored and scattered around them. As a result, we both have mouse traps set in our basement storage areas and quite often find them successfully doing what they are intended to do.

So, I started putting little dead rodent bodies along the side of the feeding area, and sure enough, the roadrunner came in and found them to be quite the treat.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

Next, I put one out in the center of the yard, in plain view of our visitors, and the roadrunner accommodated us by coming right out in the open and snatching up his prize.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Takeout Food
Takeout Food

Then amusing us his version of fast food takeout.

So I figured, why not take this one step farther and perhaps make him work a little harder for this free and easy meal.

Tormented Roadrunner
Tormented Roadrunner

I figured if I tied a mouse by the tail a few feet off the ground, in the same area I normally placed the bait, perhaps he would give us a little show by jumping up and snatching it.

Tormented Roadrunner
Tormented Roadrunner

A loose little slip knot around the tail and the mouse would easily slip out of the knot and the roadrunner could zip off with his lunch.

Tormented Roadrunner
Tormented Roadrunner

Well, the roadrunner certainly did his part in a very entertaining fashion, leaping up and grabbing mouse time and again, but perhaps i should have consulted my old Boy Scout Handbook on knot tying, because no matter how many times he tried, the knot didn’t let go as intended.

Tormented Roadrunner
Tormented Roadrunner

And try, and try again he did … to no avail.

Tormented Roadrunner
Tormented Roadrunner

After perhaps a dozen attempts, he finally gave up and walked away. Feeling guilty, and a little embarrassed, I walked out and untied the knot and placed the mouse on the ground, and, on his next trip in, the roadrunner did finally get his snack.

Yet More Birds in Flight

Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Altamira Oriole
Audubon Oriole
Audubon Oriole
Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal
Female Northern Cardinal
Prryhuloxia
Prryhuloxia
Green Jays
Green Jays
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Green Jay
Great Kiskadee
Great Kiskadee

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March 16, 2015 Sierra Vista, Arizona

View from Carr Canyon Road
View from Carr Canyon Road

A Climb Up the Carr Canyon Road

Carr Canyon Road
Carr Canyon Road

I drove part way up the Carr Canyon Road last weekend, past a dozen cars parked along the side of the road, all but blocking passage, just before reaching this ominous warning sign ” NOT RECOMMENDED FOR PASSENGER CARS “. I proceeded just a little farther, then chickened out and returned home thinking perhaps I would dare return on a weekday with fewer folks around and see how much farther up the road I might be able to venture in the Prius.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

View from the beginning of Carr Canyon Road
View from the beginning of Carr Canyon Road

Well, today being a beautiful blue sky day, I headed out at 7 AM to see how far I could make it up this road.

Foothills pasture
Foothills pasture

The first few miles are on a paved road past scattered houses and pretty foothills,

Along Carr Canyon Road
Along Carr Canyon Road
The Border Patrol's " Eye in the Sky "
The Border Patrol’s ” Eye in the Sky “

past the Border Patrol’s ” Eye in the Sky “. a tethered blimp filled with all kinds of cameras, no doubt.

Carr Canyon Road
Carr Canyon Road

It turns out the gravel portion of this road is quite well maintained and I was able to drive the entire length of the road with no problem in my no clearance, two wheel drive Prius.

Carr Canyon Road
Carr Canyon Road
Carr Canyon Road, a looong way down
Carr Canyon Road, a looong way down

That being said, if one were a bit squeamish about heights, I would think twice about driving this road. Most of it is a fairly narrow single lane road with many sharp switchbacks and several places where it is straight down more than a few hundred feet if you were to slip over the edge of the road. But the views are spectacular !

View from Carr Canyon Road
View from Carr Canyon Road

THe dark areas in the distance in the above image are burned areas of the Fort Huachuca Army Base along the Garden Canyon Road, another road I would explore later in the day.

Carr Canyon Road
Carr Canyon Road
Looking up at some colorful cliffs
Looking up at some colorful cliffs

As I was heading up the road, I was fascinated by these colorful cliffs up in the distance, little did I know that ….

Looking down on the same colorful cliffs
Looking down on the same colorful cliffs

…. farther up the road I would be looking down on the same colorful cliffs.

View from Carr Canyon Road
View from Carr Canyon Road
View from Carr Canyon Road
View from Carr Canyon Road

The road just kept climbing and climbing, through multiple sharp switchbacks, and, of course I  had to keep stopping and shooting pictures of the remarkable views. In places the road was just wide enough for one vehicle, making my decision to do this trip early on a weekday morning seem rather wise. Though there are many places all along the road where two cars could pass, if there were a lot off traffic on the road, there would have to be some disconcerting backing up one would have to do if meeting oncoming traffic in the wrong spots.

View from the top, Carr Canyon Road
View from the top, Carr Canyon Road

Eventually you ascend into another world that is covered in tall trees and what I am guessing may be mountain laurel, just now thinking about blooming, quite a remarkable change in plant life from the beginning of the road. Quite a change in temperature also, about 20 degrees cooler than at the bottom, a brisk 40 degrees this morning.

Mountaintop campsite and the end of Carr Canyon Road
Mountaintop campsite and the end of Carr Canyon Road

The road ends in a turnaround through a very nice small campground among the towering pines.

The road, at least at this time of year, is very passable for any passenger car and I would say it should be a must do drive for anyone that appreciates spectacular views. Now, I would recommend checking on conditions following heavy rains since it did appear that there were a couple of spots that perhaps could be problematic following storms.

Garden Canyon Road, Fort Huachuca

After a slow descent of the Carr Canyon Road I headed back through Sierra Vista and onto the Fort Huachuca Army Base and headed out along the Garden Canyon Road. There is not a lot to see as you drive through the base’s shooting ranges as you make your way towards Garden Canyon. At about the four mile mark, you come to an information kiosk and picnic area and I stopped here to read up on the various points of interest on the road ahead. Only a little ways past the kiosk, to my dismay, I found the road gated, I believe, due to flood damage to the road. I will have to put this on my to do list on a future visit to the area.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

As I backtracked through the shooting ranges, a pair of roadrunners appeared on the edge of some woods along the road, and raced me as I passed. Perhaps they wanted to cross the road and were attempting to get out in front of me to do so.

Beep ! Beep ! Roadrunner on the run
Beep ! Beep ! Roadrunner on the run

I have gotten several shots of these birds in the past, but have never been able to catch them doing what they do best … running !

Beep ! Beep ! Roadrunner on the run
Beep ! Beep ! Roadrunner on the run
Beep ! Beep ! Roadrunner on the run
Beep ! Beep ! Roadrunner on the run

So my trip on into the gated Garden Canyon Road turned out to worth doing after all, now I have some roadrunner action shots.

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January 3, 2015 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

Yuma’s West Wetlands Park

After finding some information on the possibility of finding some burrowing owls at the West Wetlands Park in Yuma, I arose before dawn this morning and headed into the city to check it out. The park is located just off I-8 and easy to get to. The area that supposedly houses some of these owls looks more like a construction dump site than a natural habitat for these birds. I am guessing that all the 8 inch PVC pipe sticking out of the rock rubble on the site is actually the intended homes for the burrowing owls … and they well could be in there, I just didn’t see any this particular morning. Not too sure how great a photo it would make if I did happen to catch some of these little guys hanging around the end of some white plastic pipe.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Since I was here, and the park had some other interesting areas to explore , I walked on down to the hummingbird gardens to see if there was any activity there.

Roadrunner warming up the engine
Warming up the engine

As I was walking in that direction, I saw a roadrunner come out from the bushes and hop up on a large boulder along the trail. He stood erect, hunched his shoulders forward and exposed the dark, downy feathers on his back to the rising sun … his way of warming up the engine on a very chilly morning, I guess. Intent on getting some relief from the cold, he allowed me to get fairly close for some closeups, something I haven’t been able to do before with one of these guys.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner
Female Costa's feeding
Female Costa’s feeding

When the bushes are in bloom, the hummingbird garden must be something to see, and no doubt would be buzzing with hummers.

Female Costa's feeding
Female Costa’s feeding

This morning there were only a few blossoms here and there, yet there were a fair number of Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds flitting about.

Unknown to be, warbler?
Unknown to be, warbler?

I also got some looks at little warblers or who knows what else hopping around in the trees overhead, but they were moving much too fast for me in the very dense foliage. I have a lot of difficulty attempting to identify this type of little bird so forgive me for not attempting to mis identify it. If you are in the area this is a park worth exploring, even if you don’t get to see the burrowing owls.

Coopers Hawk
Coopers Hawk

Since I was out and about, I hopped back on I-8 and headed east to Exit 30 in Wellton to check out a potential boondocking spot a neighbor in Quartzsite had mentioned to me. Heading south from Exit 30 about 4 or 5 miles, you will see several RV’s camped out on the east side of the road just before the road crosses over a water canal. Easy access, flat with lots of decent spots to park, I may head down here when I leave my present location later this week. This Cooper’s Hawk ( I think ) flew in front of me while I was checking out potential sites here.

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