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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Oh, dear!

Just checked the Marfa forecast and it's supposed to get down to 28° tonight and again tomorrow night. Guess I won't get much sleep. Every hour or so I'll be going to the oasis to check the temperature and water down the mulberry trees if needed. Other than that, today is good. Finally got a photo I've been wanting real bad..... a female Lucifer Hummingbird on a nest. This one is in a dead cholla. I could have gotten better photos, but I stayed way far away so as not to flush it from the nest. I was about 40' away and it didn't flush.

Note: These photos were taken  in Big Bend National Park, not at the oasis. Sorry that I gave some of you the wrong impression.

I keep checking my nesting boxes for Western Screech-Owls and today I got lucky. One showed itself.

It appears cross-eyed, but maybe that's because it usually doesn't look at objects as close to it as I was. The head pattern on the previous 3 screech-owl photos I posted look consistent with one another, but this one looks different. I'm thinking it might be the other of a pair. Notice the black hourglass pattern on the forehead that doesn't show on the other ones. And the streaking on the breast is even more noticeably different. So assuming the male came first and called repeatedly for a female, then this would be the female. (Hey, a cross-eyed one is better than none.) Another thing I just noticed, the females are larger than the males and if you compare this photo to the one I posted at the same spot on Mar 13th, you can see that this owl is larger, even more evidence that it's the female. How cool is that!

Got a late afternoon bonus species.... Arizona Sister butterfly, one of  my favorite oasis species.

UPDATE: Forecast has been put back to where it was yesterday (30° tonight and not freezing tomorrow night), so looking much more hopeful. I can handle that OK.


  1. Sandy Odessa and AlpineApril 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Your pictures in this post are even more spectacular than usual. Hope everything survives the freeze.

  2. Thanks. It looks like the freeze isn't going to be as bad as they previously stated, so I'm feeling pretty confident.

  3. A-W-E-S-O-M-E photos!!
    Good luck tonight. I'll be thinking of you.

  4. Thanks, Terri. I think I'll squeak by this current cold front for the FOURTH time this month.

  5. Enjoyed the photos of the hummingbird and owl. Sure wish your road was built for a car! We are coming out to Marathon and Study
    Butte (The Casitas at Far Flung Tours) the 22nd thru the 26th. Looking forward to birding Post Park and BBNP. Always checking your blog! Ann Zeller