Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Earliest Spring Migrants Arrive!

he migrants are here!

Yesterday was a truly beautiful day, sandwiched between more winter like weather. The temperature was in the 60s and the wind was blowing, but not at a gale like it has been – and is again, today.

Two great blue herons flapped ponderously through the sky as I noticed that there is a great deal more water in the pond – now well on it’s way to being a lake – in the reclaimation area. I haven’t seen a Great Blue for months. One flew away, and the other circled and dropped back down. I slipped up to the top of a ridge hoping to see him and discovered that the little mixed flock of ten or so ducks and grebes and coots that had spent the winter here had suddenly expanded! Canadian geese, mallards, shovelers, pied grebes, Widgeons, and others that I could not identify in the light of a setting sun covered the water. They were crowded and restless, flocks taking off, circling and landing back in the water and setting off yet another group to do the same.

The migration is on it’s way!

The only camera I have left is my phone, so this is the best pic I could get. But spring is on the way – and with it new life, and hopefully, new gadgets! Like a new, digital camera, maybe? (Pic didn't turn out, sorry)

I can hope!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Pair of Peregrines!

The title says peregrine, why am I looking at a tree?  Well, because this is as close as I can get you.  The falcons didn't feel like having their photo taken.

What with one thing and another in real life, I haven't been getting in my walks in the reclaimation area as often as I would like lately.  And I have yet to find a time that grants me as many great sightings as the early mornings used to - now that the hubby's dialysis schedule dictates that we are there from 3:30 to dark thirty.

But yesterday I had such a wonderful sighting that I had to share it as soon as I could.

Finally, I had time to have my nice, long walk in the reclaimation area just before sunset.  Sitting in one of my favorite trees, I began hearing a Peregrine Falcon calling over and over - and s/he was very close.  Like, in the next tree over - the one in this photo.  So I climbed out of my tree and made a very big circle around that tree - hoping to see the falcon without flushing it.  The birds here are pretty shy, and I didn't want to disturb him.  Unfortunately, I did, and one falcon flushed and flew to the next tree.  Thinking that was the one I was hearing, I moved to walk around under the tree, hoping to find a nice hawk pellet.

Which is when the SECOND falcon flushed and flew over to my favorite tree, which I had been sitting in earlier.

So, with all due apologies to both falcons for disturbing them - SQUEEEEEEE - maybe they're a mating pair, maybe they'll stay and nest!  Maybe I should keep my distance next time!

Of course, I did not have the camera on me.  I tried to get a photo with my phone - but as you can see this tree still has quite a few beautiful golden leaves and the falcons were not cooperating at all.  I could get glimpses of them, but nothing like a clear shot with the little phone camera.

So I hope you don't mind settling for a photo of the tree...

Good birding!

Summer Foovay

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

An Autumn Walk in New Mexico

Here it is October already.  I know the saying is time flies when you are having fun, but it seems to simply vanish when things are tough.  Now that we are a little more settled I am slowly but surely catching up and working my way through this years photos.  But I'd like to share the photos from last week with you as well.  So here is the "catch" from one evening walk through the reclaimation area in late October.

This handsome male purple finch posed pretty in the top of a tree and sang me a little song. 

Now that there is water in the little desert playa, there are water birds.  In the last month I've seen glimpses of ducks and a flock of coots, and a flock of killdeer have taken up residence.  There are six killdeer blending in remarkably well with the caliche' soil in the photo above.

 I have a soft spot for killdeer.  They were almost the only sandpipers we ever saw back in Oklahoma and they always remind me of the fun I had watching them back on the sandbars of the Arkansas River in Tulsa.

 This one lonely Monarch Butterfly was quite a treat!  We get quite of few of their mimics, so it was special to sneak up on this one and find it was "the real thing".  At the same time it made me a little sad.  One, single, lonely Monarch.  I remember them descending in vast flocks onto my mothers lilac bushes in Oklahoma City fifty years ago.

These two Variegated Meadowhawk dragonflies look quite different from each other - but I'm pretty sure they are both Variegated Meadowhawks.  It is autumn in New Mexico and that means lots of dragonflies.  I suspect these fellows may be territorial.  Each of them had his own bush that he was flying around and constantly returning to - using the same perch over and over.  Which gave me the happy opportunity to get some good photos of both of them!

I have been seeing this pair of purple finches in this tree every other day for at least a month.
But here's a new visitor - a Say's Phoebe in a small tree right at the edge of the water.  

 One thing that has always been a joyful surprise to me is wildflowers blooming in fall - and even in the winter - here in New Mexico.  I don't have a very good wildflower reference, so I'm not able to identify these little guys.  I left my big (women's size 7) feet in there so you could tell how tiny they are.
 Here is your proverbial mixed flock of small birds.  I followed them all over the place for half an hour and finally settled for this shot in hopes of being able to blow it up and identify a few of them.  I still am not sure enough to go putting a name on any out here in the critical world!

 I don't know the species of this little bird - but isn't she pretty?
 Same for the wildflower.  I really have to invest in a good reference!
 The two birds on the right are purple finches -but who is that stranger on the left?
 The sun setting behind these fluffy seed heads made the whole bush glow.  I was squatted behind it trying to sneak up on the ducks (still haven't succeeded) and decided the sunset was worth a shot in itself.

Tomorrow I'll get back to catching up with the earlier photos of the year - when I'm not having my walk and taking new ones.  Maybe I'll catch up with those ducks yet...

Good birding!

Summer Foovay

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Pieces of April

By the end of April it was clear that the longer he was in the hospital, the sicker my husband became.  The doctors and my husband and I had reached an impasse where the doctor insisted on treatments we knew were clearly harming my husband.  We refused them - and of course then we were branded noncompliant.  Lucky for us, his nephrologist who has been with us for almost a decade, stood with us.  We were able to take him home and treat him there.  Of course, for us, home meant the nearest New Mexico State Park - Leasburg, which is just north of Las Cruces.

Sick as he was, we still found some joy in our stay.  Especially when putting out a bit of bird seed brought us these entertaining little fellows to watch.

 This is a Horned Toad - something you certainly recognize if you've ever been around this part of the country.  They aren't as common as they used to be - or so it seems to me from my own memory.  I am sure he isn't there for the bird seed - he's there for the ants who are there for the bird seed.

You may have heard the folk tale that they squirt blood out of their eyes.  It doesn't really squirt, in my experience, but it does sort of dribble if you capture one and scare him.  If you are a little more gentle, they can be coaxed to lay on their back in your hand where a soft belly rub will hypnotize them to sleep!  I quite perfected it as a child - but I'm too old and slow to catch them these days!

 Five-Striped Sparrow.  I've seen them in southern New Mexico in a couple of places - but this is the first time I've had a good clear photo.  Why is that a big deal?  Because the bird books say they don't live here.  I generally see them in a mixed flock of sparrows.  They are really attractive little birds with their striking markings.  Good thing they don't read bird books!

 This is a Green-Tailed Towhee.  I love this photo of the one who looks like he is running away with a beak full of seeds.

Next up is one of our favorite little critters to watch - a Spotted Ground Squirrel.  They are so beautiful with their rows of white spots and completely enchanting in their expressions and behaviour.  Their coats have a very shiny silver sheen when the sun hits them.

I have to admit, I'm not sure who this little bird is.  It is tempting to say he is another Five Striped Sparrow, except the white eye line is in totally the wrong position.  Hmm.  Any ideas?

Since you are smart enough to read and enjoy this blog - I'm sure you're smart enough to keep up, because I am going to be moving ahead with my most recent photos and entries, interspersed with the older photos that I am only now sorting through.  I don't want you to miss anything recent and intriguing while I sort through old history.  So the next post will be from this week...

Happy birding!

Summer Foovay

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Urban Coyote

Urban wildlife never fails to delight me.  I enjoy seeing wild things that manage to live right under our noses - generally without clueless city people even noticing them.

In April we had the motor home parked in the RV area off to the side of the Memorial Hospital right here in Las Cruces, when this cheeky coyote trotted right up for a visit.  There is an area of open land between the parking lot and a road that exits to the highway.  The first time we saw him he suddenly appeared at a dead run and leapt onto a rock squirrel we had been watching for days.  It wasn't good for the squirrel.  But we got some great photos of the coyote before he vanished into the brush.

Speaking of clueless city folk - this young man comes strolling through the parking lot - and we're pointing and yelling "Coyote!" He never did see it.

After leaving us a symbol of his opinion of the whole thing...
And having one last laugh ...

The trickster of legend disappeared into the brush.

Checkered White Butterflies

Now that the husband's dialysis treatments are in the afternoon to evening, I'm discovering what time is best to have my walk through the reclaimation area, and see the most wildlife.

The afternoons certainly are less populous than the early mornings.  After all, this is the desert, so only wild dogs and Englishmen (and the occasional bird watcher) are out and about in the afternoon and even the early evening right now.  It is October, but here it is still getting into the high 80s in the afternoon.

But yesterday I did happen onto these Checkered White Butterflies all roosting together on a wild rosemary bush.  The sun was on the far horizon and the air was starting to cool, so they were probably settling in for the night.  I have noticed that almost any time of day there are flocks of these pretty butterflies right in this area.  I don't know if they are somewhat territorial, or maybe they find rosemary tasty!

This little photo was taken with my phone as my camera is finally full!

Thank you for hanging in with me this year.  I have started the process of going through the photos from the year, so I hope to post more of them as the next few months go on.  We are slowly beginning to rebuild a life and a routine.  The other day I had the bills out and realized that the hubby has been in the hospital at least one day every month this year starting in March.  In fact, he was in for one day in August, the rest of the months he was in for at least one week or more.  To say the least, I haven't gotten to post on the blog the way I had hoped.

We are also having major Internet problems in our new location.  It has something to do with the placement of the trailer park in relation to a tower and some power lines, we think.  At any rate, when we take the MiFi to the dialysis clinic, it works fine, but here we have slower than dial up speeds and often no Internet at all.  We tried to get a cable Internet put in, but because we move the motor home on a daily basis (it is our only transportation since the car was stolen) they would not service it.  So to get good Internet, we're going to have to buy a car - LOL! That might take a little while.

I will do the best I can with what I have.  As usual!


Summer Foovay

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Migrants are Coming

Saturday at the Reclaimation area I flushed a Great Blue Heron from his hiding place under the trees fishing in the shallows of the playa.  Ducks swam in the deeper parts.  It was barely dawn and so I could only see them as dark silhouettes but I got the impression they were Shovelheads.  I wouldn't want to swear to it though.  Flocks of blackbirds arrowed by overhead.

Here at home I woke this morning to a yard full of little brown jobs, doves, and grackles.  Yesterday it was a flock of Starlings.

The birds are flocking up, and some of them are already on the move.  With water in the playa, I can't wait to see who shows up!

The photo above is an old one, clouds and a great blue heron flying over Turtle Mountain in Truth or Consequences, NM taken about this time of year several years ago.

You can subscribe to this blog on your Kindle by clicking here - and now would be a good time to do it!


Summer Foovay