Sunday, July 19, 2009
The summer heat we were suppose to have in June has finally arrived in July. With temperatures running about 10 degrees above normal we hit 107 yesterday and we are on our way to 108 or better today. Right now at 11:00 a.m. MST here in Sycamore Canyon it is already 100 degrees F. In spite of the heat, the birds are still coming to my feeders and seeking shade anywhere they can find it. This little female oriole surprised me by landing on the window over my kitchen sink last week in the middle of the afternoon. She acted like she wanted to come inside out of the heat of the day. As you can see, she is panting, as are all the birds around here latley. I decided she was an immature female hooded oriole based on the fact that she has a thin curved bill with a pale lower mandible.
I also think it is a hooded oriole because of its slender build, more extensive yellow on the body and not as bright of color as a female Bullock's would be.
Apparently the summer heat has brought out the roadrunners. I saw this fine bird early on Tuesday morning when I went out to count birds on Harrison Rd. When I first moved here to Sycamore Canyon I would see roadrunners on a regular basis up by my house, which is further up the canyon, but I have not seen one there in well over a year, so I was quite please to even find this one down here. Later on that afternoon as I was shutting the blinds to help keep the house cool a roadrunner suddenly appeared right by my back patio door! I stood there astonished at first, then went to grab the camera, but the bird was too fast for me and all the other blinds were shut, so I was unable to get a shot of it in my yard. Then, this morning when I went to fill the feeders outside the den window I was startled by a roadrunner that was hiding under the front yard bushes. So, I'm pleased to report that roadrunners are still present here in Sycamore Canyon after all.
Right after I returned from Connecticut this pitiful looking curve-billed thrasher showed up at my feeders without its tail feathers! I don't know whether it was just molting or whether a coyote or some other animal had grabbed it by the tail as it flew away, I only know it made a comical sight. The poor thing looks so out of balance without its tail, but I am happy to report that I have seen it numerous times since I took this shot and the tail is gradually growing longer!
On a final note, the mesquite tree survived the insect attack of a week ago. It continues to grow and provide shade for us and shelter for the birds. The velvet mesquite tree is the native species here in the Sonoran desert and the birds just love it. With a steady supply of water, this tree should grow quite large and shade the whole back yard one day. Thank you all of you who commented on last week's post and have since inquired into its health. We finally made it down to Rio Rico on Friday where the birds and the bugs are plentiful in spite of the heat!
(Click on any photo to enlarge for the bestview)
Temperature Update: 12:45 PM/103 degrees F.
Weather Update 7-20-09: Tucson broke a record yesterday when the temp reached 109 degrees F. Then some storms rolled through and it dropped 20 degrees in less than an hour. Up here in Sycamore Canyon the hottest I saw was 105. We're in for more of the same all week long!