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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Electrical problems

All the Big Bend area had power outages this afternoon and Alpine again this evening, so my blog is late tonight. Not that there's much to blog about. I rushed to town to start drying apricots but with the power out they've been mostly languishing in the dryer thus far.


And I have a strange bush at the oasis. Years ago when I was in E TX I brought home seeds, or maybe a small plant, of a Coral-bean.  After watering it for years and never having it bloom, I gave up and quit watering it a week or so ago. Today I discovered it was blooming! Hidden down under acanthus that had overgrown it, but nevertheless, blooming. Go figure!


There's been a bunting at the oasis feeders that I can't quite ID. The wing bars made me think Indigo bunting female, but after Mac sent me these photos of it tonight, I'm thinking female Varied Bunting. To be sure I sent these pics to Kelly, but I don't see the throat as being white enough for an Indigo, or enough of an eye-line for an Indigo. 



Whatever she is, she seems to love the rope I installed for raising and lowering the bucket feeder.

UPDATE: Kelly confirmed it's a Varied Bunting.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Courtyard in a new light

For nearly 40 yrs I've looked at my courtyard but have never seen it look like this. I don't know how Mac does it.


In town today I saw a fresh male Western Giant Swallowtail.


Migration is pretty much over. Just waiting for rain and flowers now.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Bell's Vireo activity at CMO

A couple of weeks ago, while watering my trees I accidentally flushed a Bell's Vireo off its nest, unaware the nest was there. I immediately backed away, it returned to the nest, and I roped off the area so that couldn't happen again. Since then either Mac or I have been monitoring the nest, hoping for a quick chance to check it for cowbird eggs. But the nest was never left alone for one second. One adult didn't leave until the other was there to slip into its place. I presume that's how they've adapted to the presence of cowbirds.


I'm in Alpine today, but Mac saw feeding activity in the nest today. Above photo courtesy of Mac.  The nest is in a Chisos Rosewood (vaquelinia angustifolia).

I don't know the status of the new vireo nest above the walkway. Will post more on that soon.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Tank cleaning

When I fixed the water line going into the stucco tank's pump awhile back, I cut out the part that was leaking. Now the line is too short when the water level is real low. So I thought I'd raise the level by adding water from the big concrete tank, but needed to clean some of the silt out of the stucco tank first. I don't want to add too much water because evaporation increases when I cover the whole stucco tank's floor. I just need to keep a puddle in there, which means I'll have to make the line longer. Meanwhile, I cleaned some of the silt out before adding a few inches of water. But when I get back to CMO I'm going to have to lengthen the line. I'm in this first picture somewhere.




Late yesterday afternoon I saw a Scaled Quail perched way high on the power line. I didn't even know they could fly that high.





Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mac's recent photos

Here are some of my favorite shots of Mac's from the last few days at the oasis. He so kindly lets me share them on this blog.

Two male Lucifer Hummingbirds

Bathing Varied Bunting
MacGillivray's Warbler
Blue Grosbeak

Birds and birders

The oasis is a beehive of activity. Birds are abundant due to the horrible heat and drought. 


When it's real hot the Bell's Vireo sits high in the nest and when it's cool you can barely see her head and tail peaking out of the nest.




I spent some time in the shade this afternoon (103°) practicing with my Canon. Here are a few of my best ones, but of course, not nearly as good as Mac's. The first two are of a gorgeous male Yellow Warbler.  It would not be still for one second!



Next is the Lazuli Bunting that's been hanging around for several days now. He's irresistible to photograph.


Yellow-headed Blackbird

San Luis House Finch with beak full of seeds