Hello. I have returned from my unpleasant trip to Indiana to clean my mother’s house out and list it on the market as she is now in a group home with severe dementia. The cleaning out is done, my private buyer fell through the day before closing, and I feel like I really didn’t do justice to her treasured possessions. But I live 2,000 miles away and am an only child, doing it on my own, so I did the best I could. There were many unpleasant tasks and events while I was there but I’m back in Arizona now and can do the sale of the house from here, fortunately.
My only outing was with a friend to St. Joseph, Michigan, on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was a great day with choppy waters. St. Joe is my favorite place to go while back there.
I did get one lifer there, amazingly, a Sanderling. There were several around.
And many Ring-billed Gulls:
I did go to a park where I’ve had good birding luck before but not this time. It was a little late in the day and I didn’t have my long lens with me so no shots. Other than that, I only saw a few animals in my mother’s neighborhood.
That is an Eastern Cottontail, a Groundhog, a Fox Squirrel, and an Eastern Chipmunk. Now I’m ready to sit in the backyard and reacquaint myself with my local birds and hope a few migratory ones drop in, too.
This is the St. Joseph River as seen from St. Patrick’s County Park.
Oh, and an American Crow. They are everywhere back there.
We’ve been very good during this loooooong quarantine, only doing essential shopping and initially walking in a closeby park, which we quit doing because there were plenty of social nondistancers. But one day last week I met a friend at Rotary Park in Scottsdale, where we sat six feet apart, and talked and watched the critters fly around and other people walk around. It was a lovely day and nice to have a break in the monotony.
We sat by the Butterfly Garden but only saw a couple of butterflies.
This little Lesser Goldfinch was the star of our visit, being very brave and seeming to enjoy our attention:
A good time was had by all. Then a few nights later, this was the Flower Supermoon, the last supermoon until April 2021:
And…just so I can file these 4 photos away, Tony and I went to Reach 11 in Phoenix right at the beginning of the quarantine. We easily socially distanced because there was hardly anyone around including birds and other animals:
Do you think life will ever be the “old normal” again? I don’t…
Point Cabrillo Light Station was maybe my favorite part of my short 3 days in Northern California. It’s a special and beautiful place. It began operation in 1909.
The view from the light station:
Squirrels enjoying the ocean view:
We saw many Colombian Black-tailed Deer, common to the coast; guess how they got that name?
We did not see any mountain lions although there were warning signs. I never see them in Arizona either. Maybe I’m just not lucky or maybe I am. I did see a Northern Harrier but I have yet to get a decent photo of one; they’re fast, surveying fields for tasty rodents. Once again, I should have had my birding lens:
What would be really fun would be to rent the Lighthouse Keeper’s House, the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper’s House, or one of the 2 little cottages. You can find information about doing this and see more photos on their website.
It would be so exciting/eerie to have the light washing over you at night while hearing the roar of the ocean so close.
All of that seems so long ago and far away with the “new normal” we are all experiencing. Stay safe.
Okay, as of right now, beautiful Mount Lemmon in Tucson is now my favorite Arizona destination. There is only an ugly 2 hour drive on I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson and then an annoying drive through Tucson between it and me.
Both Tony and I had been to Mt. Lemmon decades ago, separately, yet neither one of us really remembered it. If I had, it would not have taken so long to go back. It is awesomely beautiful and goes through several life zones before reaching the 9,000+ foot peak by an extremely nice 2 lane highway.
Neither of us even knew there was a lake up there…Rose Canyon Lake. Small yet gorgeous. Here are a few panoramas. If you want to see them larger, click here: 1, 2, 3.
I got my one and only lifer here.
We actually saw several. Normally getting only one lifer when I knew so many others had to be there would have saddened me…not up here because it was just so awesome!
Dull Firetip Skipper
Onward and upward we went through a beautiful census designated place (CDP) called Summerhaven, full of beautiful chalet-type summer homes. Yes, I want to live there now.
The ski run was closed but this was the view from Ski Valley. This is the southernmost ski resort in the U.S. The temperature up here was a refreshing 75° while it was a toasty 113° in Phoenix.
We went back to the Mogollon Rim one day last week but to a different place, Tonto Creek. It was a sunny, breezy, cool (for us) day.
My 3 month streak of no lifers ended on this day with 2 new birds.
Common Black Hawk
These birds are not real common although they are known in that location. When they’re adults, they are mostly black but isn’t this one a beautiful bird? He’s learning young how to hunt the lazy way since he was at the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery and I imagine he can just swoop down into the raceways and grab a fish when he wants.
American Lady (I usually see Painted Ladies)
White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hummingbird Moth)
Swainson’s Thrush (2nd Lifer)
We still had a little time before we needed to head back to Phoenix so we drove on a few miles back to Willow Springs Lake. The only other time we were there it was cold and raining even though it was July.