Summer is here and hot temps continue. When the monsoon rains arrive, usually by mid-July, the cloudy skies and rains will bring some relief. I never tire of the beauty of the walls of Cave Creek Canyon near Portal, AZ. As I was taking the header photo, I noticed there was an arch that I hadn’t seen before.
View Flickr album for higher resolution photos – Summer Doldrums
Nesting season is in full swing. Like many bird species, the Elegant Trogon parents share the duty of incubating the eggs. During the hot part of the day, the one sitting on the eggs may come out of the nest for a few minutes for a snack and some relief from the heat. Many birds, including Elegant Trogons, nest in the Arizona Sycamores found in the riparian areas.
A pair of Thick-billed Kingbirds has been nesting in a nearby spot for a few years now. They are uncommon in this area, so birders have a lot of interest in seeing them. The nest is right on the road and the birds don’t seem to mind the traffic too much.
One afternoon when I was visiting the bird feeder station at Cave Creek Ranch, there was a bush that was loaded with Queen Butterflies. There haven’t been too many butterflies yet, but they should increase as we get further into summer. Each August a butterfly count is conducted in the Canyon. I look forward to participating in it this year. Hopefully I will learn to identify some new species.
This pair of Whiskered Screech Owls had one fledgling. I saw Mr. and Mrs. sitting out during the day, but missed seeing the fledgling by one day.
We also had two rare hummingbird visitors whose normal range is Mexico and down into Central America – a Berylline and a White-eared. They were both visiting a temporary nectar feeder. The Berylline also was working on a nest. White-eared hummers have nested in this area in the past and hopefully that will happen again this year also.
The tiny Cliff Chipmunks continue to visit my campsite. There are at least three – a male and female and another that is possibly their offspring. Their body is only about four inches long. Their tail is continuously flicking as they dart from place to place. They are just too cute! This one was in the tree by my door just chattering away.
Located in the San Simon Valley, Willow Tank was restored by Friends of Cave Creek Canyon and other groups over the last several years. FOCCC (which also operates the visitor center where I am volunteering) continues to maintain Willow Tank with the help of many volunteers. As one of the few ponds in this desert area, it attracts shorebirds and other types of birds. There are usually several Killdeer around the shore, a few Mexican Ducks and others. Raptors are also frequently seen there. Over the years many rare birds have also visited. When I am down that way, I like to stop by to see what is there.
I had thought I would be leaving here in July, but with the rebound of the virus in many states, I have decided to stay on. It will be nice to experience the other seasons here in the canyon. Soon we will be seeing spotted fawns and perhaps bear cubs. Fun!
I enjoy taking photos of the moon for some reason! And sunsets!