The Azure Gate Bed & Breakfast

9351 E. Morrill Way, Tucson, Arizona 85749
Innkeeper(s): Dennis & Christine Widman

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher at The Azure Gate B&B 24 Apr 2017, 5:27 am

Each day our birding guests bird our property here at The Azure Gate. I, on the other hand, when given a chance head out to a favorite birding spot, i.e. Mount Lemmon, Huachuca Canyon ....

I am starting to realize though, that I have taken for granted that we have some pretty good birding opportunities right here where we live.

Yesterday, I had a few minutes so went out back and almost immediately found a very cooperative Black Tailed Gnatcatcher:

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher

Black Tailed Gnatcatcher

Anna''s Hummingbird Chicks at The Azure Gate B&B 22 Apr 2017, 5:21 am

We have had at least two Anna's Hummingbirds nesting here (that we know of). The chicks in the first nest are now gone. (See April 9th post).

However, the second nest is still occupied. Here are two little chicks waiting for mom:

Anna's Hummingbird

Franklin's Gull at Lake Willcox 21 Apr 2017, 5:16 am

A quick trip looking for the reported American Golden Plover at Lake Willcox turned up empty, or did it? I made the mistake of looking for a breeding American Golden Plover which is mostly black and easy to spot. Unfortunately, the reports didn't indicate that the bird was not in its breeding plumage which is mostly whitish. So it might have been there -- and I might have even seen it -- but not recognized it. Oh well.

But I did find several Franklin's Gulls so here:

Franklin's Gull

Franklin's Gull

Bell's Vireo at Sweetwater 17 Apr 2017, 5:39 am

Seem's like I am finding Bell's Vireos everywhere these days. Here's a nice photo from Sweetwater Wetlands:

Bell's Vireo

Bee Swarm at Sweetwater Wetlands 16 Apr 2017, 5:38 am

Bee swarms are one of nature's interesting phenomenons. We get them occasionally here at The Azure Gate (see post from January 13, 2015). While birding at Sweetwater Wetlands last week I came across another:

The Azure Gate's Lucy's Warbler 10 Apr 2017, 1:23 pm

Sometimes something you might like is right under your nose. Most often when I go "birding" I get in the car and drive somewhere. However, our birding guests seem to find birds right here on our five acres. Guests a year or so ago said they saw a Black-throated Grey Warbler in one of our Mesquite trees. Yesterday one of our guests said they have been seeing a Lucy's Warbler behind their guest house for the last couple of days.

Although I have seen and photographed them both, I had never seen one here at The Azure Gate. So today I went looking where our guests said they saw the Lucy's. And, sure enough there one was. Here are a few of my "new" Azure Gate Lucy's Warbler photos:

Anna's Hummingbirds Nesting: The Azure Gate Bed and Breakfast 9 Apr 2017, 3:01 pm

We have two (that we know of) Anna's Hummingbirds nests close to our main house. In one case, it is just outside the courtyard of one of our guest rooms (in a Palo Verde Tree). Our guests are birders so have been watching each day to see what's going on. The second is also in a Palo Verde Tree but near our carport. There are stairs up to Christine's studio so we can get a very good look at what is happening in the nest from that point. Here is a photo I took just minutes ago:

I am convinced that hummingbirds have a Ph.D. in Nest Engineering (as opposed to Doves that seem to have flunked 3rd grade). The hummingbird nests are very tightly woven and swing perpendicular to the ground no matter how strong the wind. It is as if the nest is part of the tree. You can see the threads holding the nest onto the branch in the photo.

Black and White Warbler: Sweetwater Wetlands 5 Apr 2017, 1:29 pm

The Black and White Warbler is an uncommon visitor to Southern Arizona. Rarely found west of East Texas, it's feeding behavior is more like a creeper than typical warblers. If in the area it is relatively easy to find and photograph because it feeds essentially from the trunks and larger limbs of older trees.

Such was the case on Sunday at Sweetwater Wetlands here in Tucson. Here are a few photos:

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 10 3 Apr 2017, 1:48 am

Here a Juvenile Cooper's Hawk cooling off in one of our birds baths by the office:

Cooper's Hawk

Best of Cooper's Hawk Photos: 9 1 Apr 2017, 1:46 am

Here two siblings from a pair of adults that nested in McDonald Park just two miles from us:

Cooper's Hawk