August 11, 2016 Twin Lakes, Colorado

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

The Blue Cup Returns to Action

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

Being unable to locate any wildlife on the roads here in the mountains of Colorado, to get my wildlife fix, I was forced to dig out the old blue metal coffee cup and lure in what wildlife I could find here at the campsite.

By right clicking on any image, you should an option to view a larger, shaper image in a new window or tab.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk

A little on the ” Blue Cup ” can be found in this older post, from my campsite in Pagosa Springs, where I first captured a couple of chipmunks trying to gain sole possession of a source of food.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

Here at the Lakeview Campground, I have Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels, at least three of them, in addition to about eight Least Chipmunks, and a flock of Juncos all competing peacefully for bounty contained in the cup and scattered around it on my picnic table.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chipmunks

Whereas the two chipmunks back at Pagosa Springs aggressively would drive the other away, here everyone seems willing to share the bounty. I have seen no aggression between species or individuals of the same species. Even the Juncos would hop right into the midst of feeding chipmunks to grab their fair share of seeds.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk

I started shooting at mid day and experimented with a couple of different backgrounds ….

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

… but wasn’t really pleased with the results.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel

So, bright and early the next morning, I moved my setup to the other end of the picnic table and waited for the sun to poke it’s head over the mountain to the east, and found the perfect background … the shadows of the surrounding pines.

Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks

There are times when there are as many as five little chipmunks all gathered around the cup chowing down, or waiting to get a spot inside the cup where the real goldmine of seeds is located.

Least Chipmunks and Junco
Least Chipmunks and Junco

Two or three Juncos will quite often come in to share the feast. They appear to have no fear of hopping right in amongst the chipmunks or the much larger squirrels.

Junco and Least Chipmunks
Junco and Least Chipmunks

The wonderful lighting conditions only last for an hour or so until the sun gets high enough to start throwing some bright areas into the background, so I have to wait another day to get more shots with this dark background. I’m afraid you haven’t seen the last of these little guys .. they continue to just crack me up.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

November 27, 2015 Salineno, Texas

More Birds at Salineno

Strutting Tom, South Llano, Texas
Strutting Tom, South Llano State Park, Texas

Hope everyone had a  Happy Thanksgiving  ( but I bet the individual in the image above most likely did not ) as I did here at the Salineno Birding Station. My co-hosts, Lois and Merle cooked up a small turkey with all the fixings and invited myself and another couple, who are hosting the Roma site, over for a great Thanksgiving dinner. For this forty year resident of New England, the 85 degree temperature, along with high humidity, certainly did little to lend a traditional feel to this holiday, but enjoyable nonetheless.

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

Female Northern Bobwhite
Female Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite
Male Northern Bobwhite

Northern Bobwhite Quail arrived on the scene this week with an even dozen now coming in to take advantage of the cracked corn, making several appearances every day.

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

The elusive, and much sought after Olive Sparrow, who normally keeps himself on the edge of the yard, very near some kind of cover, thus always in the shade …

Olive Sparrow
Olive Sparrow

… came out for a bath today and so I got to see him in the sunlight for the first time.

Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Olive Sparrow After Bath
Green Jay
Green Jay

The always entertaining, as well as colorful, green jays …

Green Jay
Help Yourself!

… have discovered where all that delicious cracked corn and sunflower seeds come from, and now feel free to just help themselves.

Audubon Oriole
Audubon Oriole

The Audubon oriole pair had us a little worried when they didn’t show for a couple of days, disappointing folks that came specifically to see them, but have now shown up again.

Black-crested Titmouse
Black-crested Titmouse

Finally had a chance to photograph the Black-crested Titmouse. These guys are constantly on the move and spend 99 per cent of the time in the trees above our heads, so are difficult to capture with the camera.

Kiskadee
Kiskadee

Kiskadee numbers are increasing and we now will have four or five in the yard at the same time.

Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Golden-fronted Woodpecker

And the Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, a couple of males and one female make several appearances daily.

We have a Sharp-shinned Hawk coming in on the fly almost every day now, making as many as a dozen passes through the yard in a day, looking for an easy meal. Unfortunately, I won’t be getting any shots of him as he comes in unannounced and traveling at an incredibly high speed, making a pass across the yard in about half a second. Despite many attempts, we haven’t seen him catch anybody … yet.

A list of species seen here so far ( 53 and we are only a month in! )
In years past the total number of sightings varies between 70 and 80.

Green jay
Golden-fronted Woodpecker
Northern cardinal
Olive Sparrow
Altamira Oriole
Audubon Oriole
Inca Dove
White-tipped Dove
White-winged Dove
House Sparrow
Great Kiskadee
Common Yellow-throat
Osprey *
Turkey Vulture *
Crested Caracara *
Northern Mockingbird
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Long-billed Thrasher
Plain Chachalaca
Black-crested Titmouse
Hooded Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
White Pelican *
Bewick’s Wren
Orange-crowwned Warbler
Mourning Dove
Lesser Goldfinch
Ringed Kingfisher *
Eastern Phoebe
Verdin
House Wren
Blue-headed Vireo
Pyrrhuloxia
Gray Hawk *
Couch’s Kingbird
Black Phoebe
Lincoln Sparrow
Common Grackle
Bronzed Cowbird
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-crowned Sparrow
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher *
Snow Geese *
White-fronted Geese *
American Robin
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Eastern Screech Owl
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Northern Bobwhite
Pine Siskin
American Goldfinch

  • Denotes Flyover

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

March 24, 2015 Sierra Vista, Arizona

Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker

Drawn Back to the Birds at Ash Canyon B & B

Rising early, once again I headed south to the Ash Canyon B & B to see if any new birds had yet arrived. I arrived around 7:30 AM on yet another beautiful, warm, blue sky Arizona day.

Ash Canyon B & B Driveway
Ash Canyon B & B Driveway

Don’t let the driveway scare you, the B & B is located just a short distance off Route 92. You turn west on Turkey Track Road off 92 and follow it out until it ends about a quarter mile in at this simply incredible bird viewing venue.

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

Ash Canyon B & B
Ash Canyon B & B

You will see the sign as you come to the gated end of the gravel drive.

Ash Canyon B & B Gateway to the birds
Ash Canyon B & B Gateway to the birds

Parking spaces for birders are clearly delineated and a collection jar hangs on the back side of the wrought iron gate. Be sure to drop your $5 in the jar, although there is nothing to stop you from adding a donation of any size to your price of admission, I’m sure you will agree it is well worth the price.

Ash Canyon B & B Hummingbird Garden
Ash Canyon B & B Hummingbird Garden

Just inside the gate there is a hummingbird garden with flowers and feeders to attract the many different species of hummingbirds found here as well as butterflies. Unfortunately for me on this trip, since it turns out that I am a little early for the big show, Mary Jo hasn’t yet hung all the nectar feeders ( since the hummers aren’t here just yet and the nectar feeders have to be changed and cleaned very few days ).

Ash Canyon B & B The Veranda
Ash Canyon B & B The Veranda

Mary Jo keeps a library of books for identifying birds and more, as well as a small refrigerator with drinks, on the shaded veranda. This area gives viewers a chance to get  out of the sun and I am sure is quite welcome a little later on in the season.

Ash Canyon B & B Morning Birdwatchers
Ash Canyon B & B Morning Birdwatchers

When I usually arrive, early around 8 AM, I generally have had this area to myself, but by late morning, it tends to fill up a little. On this particular day, there happened to be a delightful group from England here admiring North American birds. I have always been a sucker for the British accents and got a kick out of chatting with these friendly bird watchers.

Ash Canyon B & B The Veranda Afternoon Shade
Ash Canyon B & B The Veranda Afternoon Shade

Some of these folks shifted over to the veranda in the afternoon. As you can see from these two images there are plenty of chairs around, all with a great view of the many feeders Mary Jo keeps filled with food. On all three occasions I have been here this spring, Mary Jo has been out with her guests, providing identifications of the many species of birds and animals drawn in here. She is incredibly knowledgeable, as well as friendly and accommodating to all. If you look closely at the first image, you will notice a woman who just happens to have a parrot perched on her shoulder, and that woman would, of course, be Mary Jo.

She tells me that the best time to be here is mid-April through mid-May, as the yard fills with the arrivals of birds that nest in the area as well as all kinds of migrants that stop here on their way farther north to take advantage of the bounty that Mary Jo provides. She stocks this feeding area year round and has been doing so for twenty years. In late August, after the monsoons, and through September is also a peak viewing period, when the surrounding area is lush with new green growth and many of the migrants are heading back south. Now I have missed both of these prime time periods and am still blown away with the number and variety of birds here, as well as with the comfortable and friendly atmosphere of the Ash Canyon B & B.  There is a wealth of information on her website, so please go and check it out.

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey

There was a new arrival here today, a male wild turkey ( Gould’s subspecies ). He wasn’t the least bit shy and wandered in only 20 or 30 feet from a crowd of admirers.

Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey

Quite neat to be able to see such a colorful beautiful/ugly bird at such a close range.

Scott's Oriole
Scott’s Oriole

There seemed to be more Scott’s Orioles here today, although the Hooded and Audubon Orioles still haven’t made an appearance.

Scott's Oriole
Scott’s Oriole
Immature Scott's Oriole
Immature Scott’s Oriole

A few immature Scott’s were mixed in with several mature males.

Immature Scott's Oriole
Immature Scott’s Oriole
Bewick's Wren
Bewick’s Wren

Though not very colorful, this tiny Bewick’s Wren was one of my personal favorites …

Bewick's Wren
Bewick’s Wren

… lots of attitude for a small guy, and very active.

Bewick's Wren
Bewick’s Wren
Red-shafted Northern Flicker
Red-shafted Northern Flicker

The outstanding Red-shafted Northern Flicker made another appearance.

Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acorn Woodpeckers were constantly flying in and out, along with Gila and Ladderback Woodpeckers.

Mexican Jay
Mexican Jay

The large Mexican Jays were once again present in large numbers.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

Gambel’s Quail were here along with other ground feeders such as several species of sparrows  ( Lincoln, Rufous Crowned, Chipping, and others ) ….

Dark eyed Junco
Dark eyed Junco

…Dark-eyed Juncos ..

Canyon Towhee
Canyon Towhee

… and Canyon Towhees.

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher

Curve-billed Thrasher,

Orange-crowned Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler

Orange-crowned Warbler and Yellow-rumped Warblers were present.

Broad-billed Hummingbird
Broad-billed Hummingbird

And lastly, although the crowd has yet to arrive, there were Broad-billed, as well as Magnificent, Black-chinned, and Rufous Hummingbirds here today. I truly wish I did not have to start heading north so soon, I would love to stay for the arrival of all the spring birds, but Oregon and Alaska await !

Broad-billed Hummingbird
Broad-billed Hummingbird

 

Broad-billed Hummingbird
Broad-billed Hummingbird

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

October 18, 2013 Espanola, New Mexico

Stellers jay
Stellers jay
Scrub jay
Scrub jay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Went into Sante Fe this morning and took Canyon Road out to the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Sanctuary at the end of Upper Canyon Road. I took a hike on their trail that leads you through a few meadows and up into the Ponderosa Pine forest, but saw very little ( actually absolutely nothing ) in the way of bird activity.

Juvenile curve-billed thrasher
Juvenile curve-billed thrasher

 

Rufous Sided Towhee
Rufous Sided Towhee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, in the small flower garden right behind their visitor center, I did have some luck with some jays and a few other birds that were coming in to their feeders.

After an hour or so in the Audubon gardens, I decided, since our federal government has decided to reopen our parks, ( at least for the next couple of months before we get treated to another round of this farce ), to go on out to Las Vegas ( New Mexico, that is ) and check out the Las Vegas NWR. The refuge is touted as home to many species of ducks, as well as geese, sandhill cranes, and turkeys, as well as several types of raptors. The website states there are over 40 small ponds on the refuge and that the 8672 acre refuge overlaps 3 unique landscapes including the Rocky Mountains and eastern prairies. The refuge is also home to Rocky Mountain Elk.

Sharp shinned hawk
Sharp shinned hawk

Unfortunately, all that you can actually see from the the short loop road in the park are 2 small lakes and a lot of fenced off area beyond the edge of the road. Although I did see a couple of small groups of Sandhills in the distance and one sharp shinned hawk that did fly across the road in front of me, the opportunity to actually see anything on this refuge is very limited, a major disappointment for me after driving 100 miles ( roundtrip ) out of my way to visit. There were absolutely no ducks or geese on the 2 small lakes visible along the drive and, surprisingly, no small birds visible anywhere. Altogether, this visit was a major disappointment.

 

 

Scrub jay
Scrub jay
Stellers jay
Stellers jay
Scrub jay
Scrub jay

 

 

 

 

 

Stellers jay
Stellers jay
Yellow eyed junco
Yellow eyed junco
Stellers jay
Stellers jay