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smskelton

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    Oro Valley, Arizona and Elk Lake, Oregon

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  1. I was sitting on my patio in Arizona several days ago messing with my camera when this Phainopepla went after a bug in the evening. This bird, a bug eater, likes to hang out near the Quailblock bird feeder and watch the other birds. Often when we hike in the State Park near us a Phainopepla will follow along and watch us from the tree tops.
  2. This was a golf course that closed about five years ago and now has six miles of cart paths that tour a nature area. Lots of Arizona Cottontail rabbits. Prime hunting area for coyotes. Good birding too!
  3. In the small city of Patagonia in Southern Arizona there is an Audubon center named Paton Center for Hummingbirds. It is a residence that was donated to the Audubon Society to promote interest in wildlife. There are lots of feeders and benches and a covered viewing area and docents there to help with identifications. These two squirrels were there helping eat the bird seed. One is a Rock Squirrel and the other is a Gray Squirrel. Gray Squirrels tend to sit and eat with their tails in the air. It's up to you to figure out which is which. There are lots of Rock Squirrels but experts think the Gray Squirrel should be listed as endangered.
  4. My wife and I were walking down a riverside trail on Cave Creek near Portal, Az one evening at dusk, bird watching when she stopped and said “I think there is an owl looking at us from across the creek.” This area is one of the few areas in the US where you can see the Whiskered Screech Owl. Looking through the binoculars, we could just see two ears and the top of a forehead above a pine branch. The head looked to be about 3 ½ inches across with ears. We sat down and waited for more movement. Eventually we found that we were wrong. It wasn’t a Whiskered Screech Owl, but a Chiricahua Fox Squirrel that was huge. They have a huge bushy tail and are around two feet long. This one was being very cagey and kept itself screened in the branches well. Researchers are worried about the survival of this squirrel in the Chiricahua Mountains after a big fire threatened its habitat and teams of watchers have been combing the forest for sightings. In the picture, looking into the foliage you can see the size of the tail.
  5. I have seen this quantity of the white foam produced by frogs in Africa to protect their eggs.
  6. My Parrots in Paradise story. We toured the sanctuary with our hosts, who also run the Air B&B. Some parrots had to be kept away from visitors because of their behavior. Others were very social and would immediately land on your shoulder or head and start vocalizing. This one was one of the favorites of the director of the center, as it loved to talk and didn't swear. It rode around on his shoulder much of the time. He asked if we would like to have it visit? Sure. It immediately landed on the top of my hat, pried the button off the top of my baseball cap and flew to the top of the cage and began chewing on it. It refused to come down or come close to us as it played with its new toy. I'm not sure what kind of parrot it is other than "thief."
  7. Sorry, I'm pretty new to this site and have not figured out where all things go.
  8. On the Big Island, Hawaii near Kealakekua there is a place named Parrots in Paradise Sanctuary that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes parrots that are no longer wanted, or have outlived their owners. They had about 100 birds in the sanctuary. These Sun Conure pair were two of them. There is also an Air B&B on the site where we stayed.
  9. I get up early at our summer home in the Oregon Cascades, or the Stellar's Jays will sit on my railing looking in the windows reminding me it's time for the feeder to get attended. In the fall we get some nice sunrises primarily because the days grow shorter and it's still dark when we get up to see them happen.
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