Once again I have wheedled Peter Moulton out of some Facebook photos, which constitute our offering for today. His notes:
Here are a few new images, including some you specifically asked for. My significant other and are just back from our annual Labor Day weekend trip to the east side of the Huachuca Mountains in southeastern Arizona, and most of the pix are from that trip.First up is the Lesser Nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis, on its dayroost in the parking lot of the Desert Botanical Garden. Lesser Nighthawks have used this roosting site annually for at least ten years, and it’s well known to the local birders. Birds can be found there from late August through September.
Over Labor Day weekend (2-5 September, for those readers who don’t know) we stayed with some friends in Hereford, Arizona, a few miles south of Sierra Vista. They’ve set up their yard as a bird and photographer-friendly spot with a photo blind (‘hide’ for European readers), a water feature, and feeders. The yard most notably hosts a nesting pair of Elf Owls, Micrathene whitneyi, from March through June, but the owls return to Mexico shortly after the young are on the wing and self-sufficient. No matter–many other birds like the yard just fine, and photo ops abound. I photographed Acorn Woodpeckers (Melanerpes formicivorus) there every morning before we set out on our planned activities. This image shows an adult male on the right, with one of this year’s youngsters to the left. These are real clowns of the avian world, and great favorites of my brother, who doesn’t get to see them where he lives.
We spent a lot of hours visiting with another old friend at her house in Ash Cañon, only about three miles from where we stayed. Her yard is one of Arizona’s premier hummingbirding spots, and we observed at least nine species there during the weekend. One I particularly wanted to photograph was the male Lucifer Hummingbird, Calothorax lucifer, because its gorget is especially spectacular. Here are a couple of perched adult males showing their gorgets, and an in-flight of a juvenile male, which shows the curvature of the Lucifer’s bill.
Finally, one for the herpetologists in the crowd: a Clark’s Spiny Lizard, Sceloporus clarkii. Clark’s is more arboreal than other spiny lizards, and is much shyer and harder to photograph than its congeners, so I ended up standing off at some distance and shooting it with the lens zoomed out to 400mm, just like shooting a small songbird.