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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Air Quality Alert

First 3:  Curve-billed Thrasher
Now that there's another fire burning in the bootheel we're under an air quality alert until 3 p.m.  Truthfully it didn't seem that much worse than what we've been experiencing the past few days.

We did our regular hike this morning, and I noticed as we started off that Mr. White Hat's van was parked at the Tellbrook/Sonoma Ranch corner pullout, which meant that he and his dog were out there already.

We didn't see them, though, and we saw no one else during our trek.

View of Tortugas Mountain foothills

Looks like a juvenile House Wren

Last 2:  Willow and Frio in Right Branch Arroyo


Monday, May 30, 2022

A Tag Along

First 3:  probably a New Mexico Whiptail
Dr. K came along on the morning hike with Willow, Frio and me.  There were a few other outdoor enthusiasts in the desert today, but we ran into no one.

We did our usual trek:  LDR-A arroyo, east/west cross trail, left branch, middle branch and right branch of the new arroyo, and then up and out on the hill west of the right branch.

After the outing we took a nice drive around several different neighborhoods, marveling at how beautiful some houses and their landscaping are, commenting about how dry weather conditions have been and, seemingly, will continue to be.

Ocotillo flowers

Ocotillo buds

Heelers with Dr. K

Willow and Frio

This & next:  Heelers with Dr. K

This & next:  Black-throated Sparrow

A male Gambel's Quail through a patio window


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Bad Air, Wind and Birds

Cholla flower
There was a lot of smoke from the fires in the air when we started off this morning; and the wind was pretty bad.  Gusty conditions won't help with the forest fires burning in our state.

We did our regular hike today, and were entertained (at least I was) by the many birds we spotted out there.  A White-winged Dove tolerated our presence for a long spell; I was photographing it while it consumed Ocotillo seeds.

We took plenty of shade breaks in the hot desert during the trek, several in Right Branch Arroyo as we made our way out.

At home I had the pleasure of photographing a juvenile Say's Phoebe hunting insects near the house.  It kept coming back to the trellis near the front porch, and I kept snapping pictures of it.

White-winged Dove

Black-throated Sparrow

Old and new again


This & next 5:  White-winged Dove eating Ocotillo seeds

Lone Ocotillo flower

The long view

Willow and Frio on break in a yucca shadow

The rest:  juvenile Say's Phoebe


Saturday, May 28, 2022

Shade Breaks Galore

First 2:  Willow and Frio on shade breaks
With no breeze and a blazing sun the 72F temperature felt hot when we started off this morning.  We remedied that, in part, by taking plenty of shade breaks.  Willow insisted on it.

Mr. White Hat and, presumably, his dog were already in the desert when we began our trek; I saw his white van in the turnaround at the corner of Tellbrook Road and Sonoma Ranch.  We never saw him or his pooch while we were hiking.

Looks like we'll reach 100F again today.  We were 101F yesterday.  I'm beginning to pray for rain because it's bone dry in our section of northern Chihuahuan Desert.

This & next 2:  yucca that's providing the shade

A different Torrey Yucca

View down to the Tellbrook Arroyo

Coyote scat with berry seeds?

Had to stop on the drive home to capture this Soaptree Yucca


Friday, May 27, 2022

Bird Things

Western Kingbird
70F when we started off this morning; 81F when we finished up.  We're headed for the century mark this afternoon.  Pretty miserable conditions, and there's a bad air advisory until 3:15 p.m.

Did our normal hike today.  On the way up the Right Branch Arroyo, when we stopped in the shadow of the large Torrey Yucca, I noticed a black SUV parked off LDR in the distance, and several people and white dogs exploring a small arroyo.  Willow and I had heard the dogs at the top of the hill near LDR, presumably when the people were driving in.  The canines (White Labs) were running all over the place, and I wondered if the pet owners were not worried about rattlesnake encounters.

We never were very close to the others, and we put even more distance between us and them as we headed up the right branch and exited over the hill to the west.

This & next 4: Black-throated Sparrow in Yucca elata flowers

This & next:  Western Kingbird

Frio and Willow resting in yucca shadow

This & next:  new and the old

Air conditions this morning

Another yucca shade break

Last 2:  Black-throated Sparrow on Ocotillo


Grand View--Not

Early morning moon A man and woman were just starting down the Bridal Veil Falls Trail when we rolled into the Grand View Trail parking lot....