Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Five Warbler Morning

The punch line:
Townsend's warbler, Virginia's warbler, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Painter Red Start, Black Throated Grey Warbler. Plus 15 other species. Whew!

The April storm came through overnight. Yesterday winds around 25-30 wth gusts up to 55 mph were blowing everything around. Mid-afternoon, As l departed portal cafe after my 2 hour office visits through email and Skype, I looked east into the valley. Or at least tried because the winds had kicked up a dust storm in the valley below so I could barely see the mountains on the other side.

Fortunately we are in Cave Creek Canyon sheltered by high mountain cliffs which kept most, but not all, of the dust away. Back a t the campground we visited with our neighbors, all thankful we had solid roofs over our heads. Except one guy in a tent. I vaguely remember those days, in my youth where we would tent camp, backpack in and use bivvy sacks, reveling in the weather (most of the time).

Night approached and we settled into the evening quiet, enjoying the winds that rattled even our big motorhome. I looked out a couple times to see clouds coming in then later clear sky. The nights are so dark here and the sky is so clear. Clearer that home due to less light pollution. Down in the valley we had seen a cluster of homes, each with their own star observatories, so this must be quite the place for amateur astronomers. We had seen the NASA space station zoom across the night before. Crystal clear.

We heard rain during the night, one good hard rain and a couple little sprinkles. Waking up we saw clouds and the temp had dropped to low 40's. We began to se some hail and even a little bit of snow. We sat in the front seats of the RV, drinking our morning beverages, and began to watch the birds.
Colder mornings bring out the best in these avian wonders. The trees seems to fill. The trees birds of different sorts. The hummingbird feeder was, well humming with business.

The best times it seems to watch the birds right now is 7:30-9:00 AM. Air traffic was thick in the air. I don't have any good overall shots of this but got some good pix of individual birds.

Here are some photos from this morning
Bridled Titmouse in tree.  Moves fast.  hard to catch

Townsend's Warbler (fuzzy because through front window)

Scott's Oriole

Cassen's Kingbird

And best of all, Rufous Hummingbird

Location:Portal, AZ
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