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Monday, February 29, 2016

Giant leap into spring!

YES! A great day! But I worked hard for every bit of it! I got to the oasis around 10 AM and immediately took the SD card out of the critter cam to see if a Lucifer Hummingbird had arrived yet. Nothing on the card. Since I was planning to be at the oasis watering and playing all day, I turned off the cam. If I didn't turn it off, running around the place trips the shutter. All day I was rushing to and fro, trying to watch the Mexican Redbud for butterflies, while being in the hummingbird garden to look for hummers, and at the back water feature to get a photo of a thrush I had seen earlier. And tending the water hoses. I thought the thrush might be a Swainson's.  By 5 PM, I had gotten one bad photo of the thrush, probably not diagnostic, and heard a male Lucifer for about 5 seconds. Off and on I saw a butterfly at the redbud but it wouldn't land, and I couldn't ID it without a photo.

In the last hour left to accomplish any of those goals, the butterfly finally started perching and I got photos. Like I thought, it was a Henry's Elfin, and it gets to go on my Feb list, thanks to leap year.

Another butterfly species I was able to photograph was AZ Powdered-Skipper. There were two of them.

My theory on the hummer is that it arrived sometime during the day and when I heard it around 5 PM it was not just arriving. I think it just moved from one perch to another in the bushes adjacent to the oasis. Perhaps, it arrived tired and was resting and had been forced to move by a bird of some kind. Then around 6 PM (I was determined to wait it out since I couldn't flush it) it headed to the cam feeder where I snapped these photos. So before I left the oasis for the house I turned on the cam. That way if it doesn't have anything on it tomorrow, I'll know the hummer isn't big enough to trip the shutter. If the hummer is on it, then I'll know I got it when it first arrived.

The weights helped some but the cam still caught enough wind to take about 25 photos. I'll take off the weights tomorrow when I take down the cam.

While watching the redbud tree it looked lovely to see so many green trees looming above it.

And back to the west for the last three times I've been at the oasis I've heard a Crissal Thrasher calling. Today I was finally able to locate it. Another was answering so I think that's their nesting territory. This photo was taken from a distance farther than my lens can take decent shots, but it's better than nothing.

Finally, there was this cute little insect on the blooming agarita bush. Don't know what it is.

And the thrush photo was barely good enough that I could say for sure it was a Hermit Thrush.

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