Jackie's Journal  Archives of an Online Odyssey

Jackie's Journal Archives 2008 and previous years  (written by Winston, edited by Jackie, read by many. . . )

28 Dec 2008 - Santa Clause was good to us - was he good to you?
Jackie went to her Mom's in Prescott for the Holidays, and Winston went to Tucson to be with
with three of his brothers.  It was snowing on Christmas day as Winston headed down the mountain.
Total snowfall was only about 0.10 of an inch,  just enough to dust everything and make it all
Christmas-like.  After the storm cleared, the nights became crystal clear and cold.  Paradise recorded
a low of 11 F and high of 32 F on the day of the Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  Jackie braved the
cold with Rick and Lynne Taylor while Winston stayed home and got photo documentation of a
female MAHU that survived the cold and visited the yard.  Winston also concocted up an excellent
green chili chicken stew that warmed the innards of the nearly frozen bird-counters.  (Rick, Lynne,
and Jackie).  Rick and Lynne headed  out for more counting while Jackie and Winston (under protest)
prepped for the compilation dinner and compilation.  Dinner was Lasagna, salad, bread, and puff
pastries for dessert.  Jackie now gets to check all the submissions, tally the counts, and submit them
to the ABA.  In case you are wondering, Winston got Jackie a pair of water-proof fleece lined clogs
that she wore during the CBC.  Jackie saw Winston gazing at the overwhelmingly cute burned wood Javelina that you see here at the
Rodeo Craft Fair.  Jackie used her hard earned candy money to buy this for Winston.  It was created by Orchid Davis, nationally
renowned Pyrographer, author, and teacher.  Jackie took lessons from Orchid, and has completed a few works that met with acclaim
from Orchid.  We do not have a good name for this wonderful Javelina portrait (Gregory Peccary is already taken), but if you have any
suggestions, please e-mail Jackie.  We will share proposed  names with our guests this year and choose the most popular one - just like
 voting for President!

21 Dec 2008 - A little History with an update
A word of advice - always have your Mother (or other family historian) review your family notes
before posting them on your website.  A few clarifications from Winston's Mother:
Mountain Man Joe Sanders came through the Chiricahuas in 1862 prospecting and running traplines.
A Mountain Man is ever on the move, and Joe came back through the Chiricahuas in the late 1800's
and homesteaded North of Galeyville. When Paradise became a boom town, he moved there in 1904.
Family story has it that Joe found a good vein of silver ore in the Chiricahuas and left a map for posterity.
No one knows what happened to the map, but speculation is that it became collateral during a poker game.
Joe was born in 1844, and died in 1937, at the age of 93, We know he was in his 80's when his horse bolted
and he injured his ankle, so this photo is early 1930's.  We were told that this a "color process" of the
original.  As the saga continues, we have been told that the movie The Kentuckian loosely chronicles
our family as they moved west.  The Kentuckian (1955) is an adventure saga set in the 1820s,
starring Burt Lancaster as a widower who takes his young son with him on a journey from his native
Kentucky to Texas.   When Winston's Grandad Wakefield saw the movie, his mother remembers him
saying: "They changed a few names, but that's our family."  Netflix, here we come!

Alden Hayes recorded a bit of Winston's family history in his book "A Portal to Paradise" when he wrote about Mountain Man Joe Sanders
who slept outside in his soogans even when he had a roof over his head.  Joe was one of the early settlers in the area, homesteading just
North of Galeyville in the late 1800's.  He moved to Paradise when it was a boom town in 1904.  William Wesley Sanders (aka Willie, W.W.,
and Bill Sanders) was his son.  Joe did a little prospecting and ran trap lines through the Chiricahuas.  He also rendered skunks for lard.  
The lard was used to soften and preserve leather horse harnesses.  When Joe was in his 80's he tried to mount his horse with a dead
skunk in hand. The horse bolted and Joe wasn't able to kick free and his left ankle got hung in the stirrup and it was broken, never set or
looked at by a doctor.  In true Mountain Man form, Joe kept running trap lines and getting by as best he could.  The photo shows Joe with
his injured leg dangling and the tree limbs he cut to use as crutches.  Joe lived with his injury into his 90s and is buried in the Paradise
Cemetery.  His headstone is clearly legible.  Many thanks to Alden for capturing the spirit of the mining era and a bit of Winston's family
history as well.

15 Dec 2008 - Ceratomia amyntor - courtesy of Dan Austin, Ph. D.
Dan has been visiting the Chiricahuas for many years.  He has been staying at the George Walker House since Dale and Michael
Julian first opened up to renters.  Ever the scientist with a keen eye, Dan observed what I thought was a tomato horn worm, but
Dan knew better.  He submitted a photo to Bruce Walsh, and Bruce identified it as an Elm Moth larvae, and Dan identified
 the Elm tree as a Siberian Elm.  You can view this and other moths at the Moths of Southeastern Arizona website:  
http://nitro.biosci.arizona.edu/zeeb/butterflies/Sphynx.html.  There are @ 180 species of butterflies in the Chiricahuas, and
@ 1800 species of moths. Congratulations to Dan on this discovery.  The Siberian Elms are not native.  They were planted
in the 1940's by the Wester's Mom, who by all accounts had an amazing green thumb.  Jackie was intrigued by the dragon-like
look of this larvae.  Following are the larvae photo by Dan and an adult moth by Bruce.  Oh, and yes, the first year MAHU is
still coming to the feeder, and the rut is on.  We have had a spike Coue's deer roundin' up his harem in and through the yard.

Ceratomia amyntor - larvae
Ceratomia amyntor - Adult
Portal, Az, 2005

13  Dec 2008 - News Flash!!!!!!! - BCHU Study Published!!!
The following was posted on the Birder's List Server by Eric Hough on Saturday.  Be sure to read the analysis.  It answers the age-old
question:  "which  way do hummingbird nestlings face when they feed"?  The article also contains amazing photos of the nestlings
as they grow.
Huitzil, the Journal of Mexican Ornithology, finally accepted the first
paper on a project led by Harold F. Greeney that I helped work on in the
summer of 2007 at the Southwest Research Station (SWRS) down in the
Chiricahua Mountains. The study was on Black-chinned Hummingbird nesting
biology and there are more papers in the works on this ongoing study. The
title of the paper is: "Nestling growth and plumage development of the
black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) in southeastern
Arizona". The link to a pdf version of this paper can be found here:

The paper is written in English with the abstract in English, Spanish, and

Good birding!!!
Eric Hough

10  Dec 2008 - First Snow!!!
The cold front brought 0.5 inches of wet, sticky snow to Paradise.  It also brought lows into the 20s.
And yet - we also have a first-year Magnificent Hummingbird still coming to the feeder in the yard.
This morning the feeder was frozen solid, and as soon as Jackie put out a fresh feeder, in came
the Hummingbird.   Maybe he will winter over and maybe not.  We really hope he gets his wits about
him and he heads to warmer climates.  Jackie just reminded me that the maybe he should stick around
that way we can add him to the Portal/Paradise area Christmas Bird Count (CBC).  He might even
set a new record for the latest season MAHU at a mid-elevation site.

25 Nov 2008 - TSO!!!
Jackie drove over from her mountain hide-away to Las Cruces, and Winston took time off from work and they drove together to El Paso
to attend the Trans Siberian Orchestra (4:00 pm showing) Christmas presentation.  What a show it was - in Jackie's words:  "21/2 hours of
sensory assault"!!!  But good music and great performances.  Wonderful light and laser shows, fog, smoke, firepots, and even snow!.
Our seats were great - we were so close to the stage you could see the sweat drip off of the bass player's nose and feel the fire pot heat.
If you have not heard the TSO, they present the conventional Christmas story in a very unconventional manner - that of a rock opera.  
Lots of great guitar, keyboard, strings, vocals, and percussion.  After presenting the Christmas story which was woven around an angel
looking for the meaning of Christmas on earth, TSO launched into some of their hits: "A Mad Russian's Christmas",  "Christmas Cannon
performed a guitar "challenge" that ended with the intro to Jimi Hendrix' "Voodoo Chile" (that's chii 'll - not chee-lay,:a form of "child").  
Overall a very satisfying evening - and Jackie's ears rang with the echoes from the amplifiers for days.  

10  Sep 2008 - August 2008 Updates - Where does the time go?????
To start off this round of updates, I feel I must inform our readers with an explanation regarding Winston's brother's wedding.  Many readers
are from parts of the world where they may not know what Pace Picante sauce is or what the phrase “New York City! - get a rope!" refers to.
Winston would like his cosmopolitan readers to know that he has never watched “The Godfather” or the “The Sopranos” and only knows of
the highlights and out-takes that got woven into America's pop culture.  He also might tell you that Jenny Agutter was his first big-screen heart-
throb. Logan's Run, anyone?.  But I digress - back to Pace and the wedding.  

Pace Picante Sauce (or Pace Hot Sauce) is a salsa made in San Antonio Texas  The premise of the Pace ad campaign is  that  it is as
unlikely that a Kosher Bagel can be found in San Antonio as it is that authentic salsa could be made in New York City.  

In the commercial, Southwestern Cowboys discover that their salsa is made in New York city.  There is only one way to
 solve such a sleight on the range - as the Cowboy in the commercial intones in a dark and menacing voice:  "Get a
 rope."   To us Westerners, there is only one meaning to that phrase with that delivery - when  a cook does what a cook
ought not do, he should pay his respects to his maker for the grievous sin he has committed.  As far as I know, no
Cowboy cooks were killed in the making of that commercial, but you can bet every chuck-wagon cook between Texas
 and California makes doggone sure to serve only Pace Picante sauce on the trail.  And a word of warning to those who
 have gustatory exploration on their minds - never, ever, skin a rattlesnake and chunk it up into the bean pot unbeknownst
 to the hungry hands.  “Gettin' a rope” could become a reality in the borderlands.  The Grey Ranch cowboys along the
 Peloncillos can attest to that.  Stick with the slogan from the commercial:   "Pick up the original.  Pick up the Pace."

.10 Sept Tundra and the Turkey  Vulture
Jackie heard Tundra growling her deep, suspicious growl this morning.  This became particularly unnerving
as Jackie looked up the road, down the road, across the field, and did not see a deer or javelina.  She then
checked the yard, and there were no rattlesnakes to be found.  Bears have not been seen in Paradise since
2002, and no neighbors were nearby.  Illegals might have been a concern, but there were none to be seen.
Then Jackie looked up.  There, sitting atop the three power poles around the yard, were Turkey Vultures.  
This one was sunning himself on the front pole above the bat houses.
At first Jackie thought it might be a Black Vulture, but the primaries are black, and yes, a first year Turkey
Vulture does have an all black head.  Jackie grabbed a few pics, and told Tundra:  "You silly dog - they
don't want you - you are still alive!".  This made Winston remember the line from the Purple People Eater song:
"I won't eat you, because you're too tough!!!"  

Banding HUMSUM
This was best year for hummingbird numbers since 2000.  We had WONDERFUL help from the Kubitsky and Long families.
Their numbers tell the tale:
1 Sept - Long Summary:
This was migration morning with a very seasoned team of help:  Dennis went to trapping while Jackie caught, Sylvia and
Marion recorded and released.  We would never have trapped as many birds as we did without their professional help.
Their results:
GWH:  117 birds banded, 6 species represented.  Trap total: 1495 - @ 1495 birds counted in addition to those banded in 5 hours.
This does not include trap checkers - those birds that hang out in the trees and never come into the traps.  Migrations
like this are wonderful things to observe, and we would never have processed or counted so many birds without such
dedicated and professional volunteers.

24 August - Kubitsky Summary:
Sarah and Mom Julie trapped, fed and released at the George Walker House while Dad, David, trapped at SWRS with
Dr. Wethington.  Sarah and Dad are both Ace trappers, hardly missing a bird when it came into the traps.  Their results:
GWH:  108 birds banded, 6 species represented.  Trap total:  1038 - @1038 birds counted in addition to those banded in 5 hours.
SWRS:  37 birds banded, 6 species represented.   Trap total:  65 - @ 65 birds counted in addition to those banded in 5 hours.
Jackie and I and the Hummingbird Monitoring Network are extremely grateful for their help.  Sarah has a keen eye and quick hand.
Sarah did most of the trapping, some releasing, and kept the GWH yard moving while Dad helped focus at least one intern
on the trapping task at hand at SWRS.  Again a BIG thank you - and we hope next year is as good to the birds and the Kubitskys
as 2008 was.

Two spectacular birds in the yard this year were the Lucifer's and White-eared Hummingbirds.  The Lucifer's was video taped
and both  were photographed.  Some pics:
White-eared,  photo by Denise Shields
Lucifer's, photo by Robert Shantz
White-eared, photo by Jackie Lewis

Bird watchers often use 4 letter abbreviations to make listing easier.   My favorite abbreviation is MAHU for the Magnificent Hummingbird.
MAHU is also Hawaiian slang for transvestite, as in "The Mahu from Oahu".  I can't help but smile every time I write down MAHU.
But I digress - for simplicity,  we use the following:
In the Yard 2009:
ANHU = Anna's
CAHU = Calliope
BCHU = Black-chinned
BLUH = Blue-throated
BTLH = Broad-tailed
BBHU = Broad-billed
LUHU = Lucifer's
MAHU = Magnificent
RUHU = Rufous
WEHU = White-eared
PCHU = Plain Capped Star-throat (South Fork, 2009)
Seen in other years:
ALHU = Allen's
BEHU = Berylline's
COHU = Costa's
VCHU = Violet Crowned

 14-19 August - Colin & Denise and "A tale told in pictures" - Denise's Story:
Hi guys,  We're missing the GW House and Paradise. What we'd give for the chance to sit on the steps and eat breakfast
in the sun (it has barely even put in an appearance here, contributing, we're sure, to the worst jet-lag ever).

I thought I'd send you my shot of the assumed hybrid Black chinned/ Lucifer, although Stan and Rick have probably sent
some wondrous ones! Did you catch it again when you were banding, I wonder?

 In the interests of education, I'm also putting in some shots for Winston -previews of samples from future planned books.
The first from, "Bird Gone" (accept no imitations); the second from its companion volume, "Bird Almost Gone" and finally,
one which I'm sure Jackie will be looking forward to : "The Little-Known Diving Hummers of Arizona".

 I find I also have ample material for an article on:  " The Green-gorgetted Rufous".  Colin's going for "How To Avoid Making
Visual Contact With The Sinoloa Wren" - for surely, reader, you must have guessed the identity of the " ..two British
bird-watchers..." ,  who heard it  a couple of days before it was seen......

We both agreed that Paradise had been our favourite bit of the trip - once again; due in no small measure to the great
company. The wine was a really kind thought, too.  Fond regards to you all-including  the "Mountain Lion".
(Mountain Lion = Mischief, AKA "large mammal - no, a Really Large Mammal",  "Bobcat",  and "Pet Raccoon")

Denise (and Colin)
Bird Gone
Bird Almost Gone
The Little-Known Diving Hummingbird
of South-eastern Arizona

14-19 August - Colin & Denise and "Down in front!!!"
Colin & Denise are wonderful guests from England.  They both enjoy taking pictures and had the
 good fortune to be staying with us when photo pros Stan and Rick stopped in.  They offered to
 coach Denise on the finer points of photography.  The first order of business was to set up a
 feeding station where they could photograph at a down hill angle with minimal movement.  Denise
 retrieved her tripod and the gentlemen set Denise shoulder to shoulder  between themselves and
 embarked on a four + hour lesson on that included some of Tundra's Tips for photographers.  
Jackie overheard some of the direction:  "Pictures must be crisp" - "romantic softness" is not
allowed.  "Wait for the behavior."  "Focus on the eye."  "Anticipate motion - lead and shoot - just
like shooting birds on the wing."  As Jackie was listening and casually observing between e-mails,
she heard a loud, deep man's voice cry out: "Down in Front!!!"  "Down in Front!!!"  So she peeked
out to see what that could possibly mean,  and found Mischief inspecting the staged area that the
photographers had carefully arranged for best photo shooting - she was in focus - and obviously keeping the subject matter in the trees.

16 August - Lolita Party:
Lolita to the left of us, the Canyon to the right of us, and a wonderful mixer of food, family, and friends in between.  The
evening was warm, conversation lively, and Jackie entertained us with the last version of Lolita with a requisite final chorus.
She also sang a few classics including Don Edwards "Whoop-ee Ti-Yi-Yo".  You can listen to the Marty Robbins version.  
but it just doesn't convey the haunting beauty that Jackie's soprano version does.  Next year, Jackie will be singing her
version of "Pretty Flamingo" by the Manfred Mann band, as suggested by Colin Shields.    We also look
forward to another round of "pink drinks" and who can go wrong with Tequila Rose???

1  Aug - Phrase of the day:  When we lived on Okinawa we listened to Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, (AFRTS)
(affectionately pronounced "A-farts").  AFRTS sponsored an excellent Japanese language learning program "Phrase Of The Day"  
with Hiroko Kobuda.  Sensei Kobuda would pronounce a Japanese phrase, explain it in crisp English, and encourage the listeners
to try it out.  An example might be "So what?" - In Japanese:  Dakara nan nano. Since the phrase sounds feminine, a male speaker
would say, "Dakara nan nan da" instead. We, living in Paradise, feel the need to share a "Phrase of the day" with future visitors.  This
is not Japanese, but rather a current American English tech jargon term:  NOMOPHOBIA.   Nomophobia is the "fear of NO MObile phone".
If you are like one of the @13 Million Brits or countless Americans that are scared to death to be without their cell phones or out of cell phone
range, be prepared to embrace this fear when traveling to the Walker House.  You will lose cell phone reception at the start of the 5.5 mile
dirt road from Portal to Paradise, and at about mile marker 10 coming up the San Simon Road (exit 382 off of I-10).  If you
have Verizon, you won't get reception between Road Forks and Portal, nor on the Portal to Paradise road.   Not to worry - Jackie has
a landline at the GWH.  For those who need their tech fix, the GWH does have wi-fi and with a PC and a wireless modem you can
Skype and surf to help allay those fears.

31  July - What a month!!! - rain, travel, rain, and more rain...Not sure where to begin with this journal entry - but here goes:
Notable birds at the GWH house today include Black-chinned, Magnificent, Rufous, Broad-tailed, and Blue-throated Hummingbirds,
Pine Siskins, and the Arizona Woodpecker.  Following table shows our rainfall for the month, and records for other years and
averages for comparison.  There are many gaps in the average data, but Winston's Mother remembers the creeks in front of and
behind the Sander's house both running full tilt in the 50's.  This would imply that there was more than one occasion where rainfall
was falling in inches per hour in Paradise - a cloudburst that  we out West might call a real "Toad Strangler".

Microsoft Excel Chart
And for those that look back 1 year at a time:
.Microsoft Excel Chart
11 - 15 July  - Adventures in the Rain!   Many, many adventures and misadventures.  Here
are a few:  
11 July - Plan was to drive from Las Cruces to Paradise to Prescott.  LC to Paradise and
Paradise to Phoenix were fine drives.  We stopped north of Phoenix at Anthem and found
out that the Black Canyon Highway was blocked due to a big rig that broke an axle carrying
what looked like a HUGE auto-clave.  So we back tracked to Wickenburg and drove carefully
up Yarnell hill (aka 89A) in the pouring rain.  This little bit of road puts Highway 1 from Mendocino
to Bodega Bay to shame.  Jackie was as car sick as the come when we hit Groom Greek and
sloshed into Prescott.  Meanwhile, back in Paradise, Larissa was house-sitting.  She left us a
wonderful letter that included descriptions like:  " 3 hours of Sunshine in three days"; " had to
outrun the clouds before the flashfloods came". . . Three days of no hiking, no Sun, no guests
= three new songs learned on the guitar and some pretty sore fingers.  She did have some
company on Sunday night, but that is an upcoming story - read on.
12 July - Family day. The Bronson clan regathered at Jackie's Mom's house for an evening
of horse rides, impromptu hurdle racing, games of tag, and all the other fun things that 7 kids can
cram into an evening in the country.  
13 July - Winston's 30th High School Reunion.  Held at the Hassayampa Inn.  Story has it
that those that drink water from the Hassayampa River will never again tell the truth.  Wonder
how many tales told at the reunion were indeed "true".  Winston did meet with Everett Sharp who
called him "Little buddy" all night long to Jackie's delight.  Winston rode horses and the school
bus with Everett.  To this day there is not doubt in Winston's mind that the Sharps were and are
the toughest family in Williamson Valley.  He chatted a bit with Louis Yarborough, who with Winston
nearly blew up (literally and figuratively) both themselves and their homes.  Winston is sure it was
 this youthful exuberance for pyromania that got him a job at United Technologie's "Rocket Ranch"
in San Jose.  This was great place to work - they made rocket motors for a variety of customers and had a world class Ramjet test facility.
 He is not so sure how this experience landed Louis a berth on a nuclear sub or driving the Polar Express train between Williams and the
 Grand Canyon. But Louis was, and is "scary smart".  Winston also talked a little with Ken Brewer - a level headed friend who is now a CIS
 type working for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office as an investigator.  Jackie had been in choir with a number of Winston's class mates
and made her way through the crowd socializing with one and all.  In fact, she came to find out Elizabeth Coate's family had been friends
with Tom Mix and had owned a ranch over near Rucker.  We may meet with them again in the fall.

14 July - Back to Tucson - Winston dropped Jackie off at Melody Kehl's.  Melody
was leading a group to California gulch to look for Five-striped Sparrow's.  Jackie spied
the Montezuma Quail in the pic to the left and got a great portrait shot.  After passing through
an enchanting Ocotillo Forest in full leaf-out due to the rain, the birders waded through hip deep
water and indeed did get a glimpse of the sparrow.  Meanwhile, back in Tucson Winston found out  
the 4Runner had two out of round tires.  This was on a Sunday, and only one Goodyear Tire store
was open.  They did a tire swap, and after two hours Winston was back on the road to Paradise.  
He took the San Simon road in off of I-10 to find every wash full of sand and neighbors Brad and
Bryan coming down the road in Brad's 4Runner.  Come to find out the creek crossing going into
Galeyville was uncrossable, and Bryan's car was stalled at the crossing.  Bryan waited at the crossing
while his wife, Jennifer, and 6 year old son, Will hiked the 4 miles across mud slides, through
overflowing creek crossings up to Paradise. Meanwhile, Brad had been out on his dirt bike and
coming down the San Simon road when he encountered Bryan.  Brad BMX'ed it back  home
for his 4Runner and with it, pulled Bryan's car to the top of the hill and then went down Foothills
road and then up the Portal Road to Paradise.  Winston was not far behind, and met with Bryan and Jennifer in Paradise.  Winston agreed
to use his extended cab 4X4Silverado truck (Bryan is 6'6" and had just had knee surgery) for transport.  (A 4Runner is not a good taxi
vehicle) to take them back down the Mountain to meet the tow truck.  By the time they got back around to their car, it was
raining hard and there was no way we could get down the San Simon road and it seemed there was no way for a tow truck to come up the
San Simon road. So, back around the mountain we went, stopping at Ted and Marcia's to confirm with the tow truck driver via landline
what we already know and to make arrangements for a morning pickup.  So Bryan, Jennifer, and Will spent the night in Paradise in the
GWH with Larissa, who was gracious enough to play hostess and get them somewhat settled for the night.  Larissa was out by 4 am to make
the trek back to Tucson to teach.  Winston drove Bryan and family back around the mountain and waited for the tow truck.. It was an hour
late, and the driver said the night before he had tried to makeit up the San Simon road, but when his headlights disappeared under water
at the first lower creek crossing, he was not going to chance it that night.  Jennifer and Will rode in
the cab of the tow truck, while Bryan rode facing backwards in their hybrid Toyota all the way
back to Tucson.  Winston  headed up to Phoenix for a week of work in the Valley of the Sun.
The same weekend, other friends in the Sky Villages spent the night with other friends in Portal,
and one unfortunate couple spent the night in their truck while it poured rain and lightning popped
all around.  Morals of these stories are:  5 trips around an ungraded  Foothills Road = 1 cracked
windshield, bad weather makes for good neighbors, and do not let packrats live in your garage!!!

Jackie made it back from California Gulch only a little tired. She was greeted in Paradise
by the first Rufous of the "fall" migration and a female Rose-breasted grosbeak.  She is now
 riding out the monsoons and hurricane Dolly remnants.  Winston is on his way to LA for a week of
"business" meetings.  What is "business" in LA???? My "peeps" talking to your "peeps"???  Maybe he was secretly auditioning for a part
in his screenplay:  "Where am I tonight?"  Seems he travels MORE now that he moved to LC than when he did when in Goodyear.

6  July - More Nesting? - Mike and Cecil Willams provided nesting material and holder from Wild Birds Unlimited. The photos below
show a female Magnificent Hummingbird pulling WBU nesting material in preference over raw cotton, Turkish towel lint, and horsehair.
Maybe its the lanolin - or more likely the red cage.  Hummers see in UV and red reflectance sez "check me out - I might be food" - or
in this case, nesting material.  Hummingbird nests are mode of cotton, lichens, moss, and spiderwebs (cobwebs).  The spiderwebbing
holds the nest together and makes it expandable.  The nest "opens up" as the little hummers grow.  If you ever see a hummingbird
looking under the eaves of your house, it is most likely for spider webs and maybe bugs.
Up Close!!!
Lift off!
Back and away!

4  July - Rodeo Parade! - Highway 80 was closed while Rodeo enjoyed one of the best Parades ever!  A few highlights:

Uncle Sam!
Lady Liberty

15 June - Chulo   Not Cholo - Chulo -  the Mexican nickname for Coati-mundi.   
Our guests, David and Roberta Chorlton managed to snap this pic behind our
"Birder's Biffy".  A little blurry, but they had to be quick to get the photo.  Winston's
Grandmother does not remember any Coatis in Paradise in the 40's or 50's.  She thinks
they are moving north because they are scavengers and are following people knowing
there are good things to be found at any campsite.  Maybe this is a photo of our peanut
butter bandit?  David and Roberta also spent time hiking, painting, and writing poetry.  
The following poem is courtesy of David:

Ghost Town

Beneath the silver and dust
of a pre-monsoon sky
flash flood warning signs
point along the dirt road to Paradise;
population eight, not counting
the vultures who circle
down from Silver Peak
on thermals and dry thunder
to roost over the mailboxes
near the stretch of Turkey Creek
ThAt was busy back in mining days
before the ore ran out
and the saloons went dry
as the stones on the bed in summer.
Its mostly oak and juniper
coati, fox and deer,
some sycamore and grosbeaks,
orioles and bats
flowing into the gap
between day and night
like silk handkerchiefs pulled
from a magician’s sleeve
in a deserted theatre.

David Chorlton  
Paradise, Arizona
June, 2008

15 June - The Bronson's are here!!!  No - the junior super sleuths did not find the culprit that stole the peanut butter.  
But once again, they managed to fill their time (this year spent in the Walker house) water fighting, hiking and helping with
hummingbird banding.  When I get Dr. Wethington's session report, I will add the summary stats here.  In the meantime,
here is what they did:

Sunday - Seth, Caleb, David, and two ladies, one from Australia, the other from Maine, helped us trap hummingbirds.  We
processed 134 birds in 5 hours.  That means we processed one bird every two minutes with 6 species represented:  
Lucifer, Broad-tailed, Magnificent, Blue-throated, Black-chinned, Broad-billed (female).  Uncle Winston was bit a of a meanie -
He would yell at Seth:  "Seth, SETH, SETH!!!" - and when he got Seth's attention, he would holler out:  "reset the trap please!"
After a fearsome bellow, Caleb took over and he reset with eyes wide open.  David took a turn while Miss Rachel and Mom
helped with the feeding and releasing at the banding station.  Seth and Caleb tag-teamed the traps during the last hour,
and that worked the best.  Seth could watch his trap and Caleb could watch his.  We learned that you can only "OM"
the birds in once.  Second and third "Omming" sessions were a bust.  The nice Ladies helped as well, and although Winston
did not yell at them, he did regale them with a story about the infamous Arizona Sand Trout, the toughest fish in the west, it
is 8 - 10 inch long rubbery -dried leather looking fish that lives in the dry creekbeds.  When you see dust devil or dust storm
coming down an arroyo, you know they are spawning - and that is the best time to catch them.  You can read more about them
by clicking on: Santa Cruz Sand Trout.  For pics of a Tucson Realtor's catch, scroll down on his web page: The Tucson Sand Trout.

Following is Lee Roger's Banding report for the day:
Date: June 15, 2008
Location: The George Walker House, Paradise, Chiricahua Mountains
Banding Team: Lee Rogers, Jackie Lewis, Winston
Assistants: The Bronson Family
Time: 0513-1013
Temperature: 58-89F
Weather: sunny
Number of Visitors: 0
Session Remarks: There was plenty to do for everyone this round. We handled 118 individuals and
wore out 3 young helpers transporting birds to the banding table. There was lots of excitement
throughout the morning with a gorgeous AHY LUHU male followed by a breeding BCHU female that
was banded as adult in 2002. Jackie's family assisted at the traps, were "runners" and helped release
today. Thank you to Seth, Caleb, David, Rachel, Toni & Scott Bronson for helping us on this super
busy day! Thanks to Jackie for recording (and for the apple turnovers) and Winston for trapping,
training and directing traffic.

Saturday - Ever hike the Sky islands?  Ever hike above 8,000 feet and find a lookout point that lets you see other Mountain
ranges hundreds of miles away in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico?  Ever have to tell the kids to bunch up for safety because
the sides of the trail are so overgrown that there seemed be safety in numbers - no going solo?  Well, the Bronson
kids did.  High above Rustler park off the Fly's peak trail. They made a 5 mile loop through the mountains. In David's words:  
"We found the highest cliff where you could fall off and die." Excellent hikers one and all.  

sands with water..."  Oh, sorry, this is supposed to be about the Bronson family.  Well, they did find water at John Hands dam
below the Herb Martyr dam.  Which, by the way, has been long rocked in.  Some of the older area guide books tell how it was
a great trout pond - and nothing is sadder in my mind than a dedicated fly fisherman, outfitted with bamboo pole, creel, waders,
and a hatband well stocked with fish tempting flies trudging woefully "upstream" looking for the non-existent water, just like the
cowboy in the ballad.  But the Bronsons found water, and took great delight in getting gloriously soaking wet.  A wonderful
respite from the hot June sun.  A few pics of their adventures taken by Dad, Scott Bronson:

Caleb the Contemplative
"The Hike" - Miss Rachel and Caleb
headin' to base camp
David the Daring
Miss Rachel making war plans
Water wars - Seth in action
Cool, Clear, Water - Tony evap-cooling

Friday the 13th of June - Robbers!!!.  Someone - most likely a raccoon -  has absconded with Jackie's peanut butter feeder -
yes, jelly jar with peanut butter in the tree - jar and all - two days in a row.  With  the Bronson clan out for the weekend maybe
the junior super sleuths can identify the culprit and find the jelly jars.  Jelly jars are most likely licked clean somewhere near the

08 June - Lucifer Hummingbird.  Photos by our good friend Robert Shantz.  You can see more of his work  at: http://rshantz.com.

Photo by Robert Shantz.

Photo by Robert Shantz.
Photo by Robert Shantz.

1 - 5 June Babies!!! - Fledgling Titmice and Finches in the yard.  Mommy Finches take their babies to the jelly jars.  Mommy Titmice
take their babies to the white pan feeder.  Quite fun to watch a baby Juniper Titmouse pick up a seed in its beak, then stand there in the
pan feeder, and go into its feeding behavior - begging chirrups and fluttering wings - while Mommy Titmouse looks on with a stare that
says:  "You got your seed, now eat it!  Get with the program, kid."  Following are a few spring pics:    

Indigo Bunting after a bath - all those feathers and he just couldn't do a thing with them!
Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak - a very "pinkish" lady.
Black-headed Grosbeak - the T-Rex genes are apparent..
My Peanut-butter!!! - A male Western Tanager defends "his" stash.
 Reflecting the peacefulness of the area - a MoDo in repose. . .

31  May 2008- Prairie Home Companion broadcast live from the PanAm center at NMSU in Las Cruces! Winston bought tickets as soon
as they went on sale.  That was good thing, 'cuz the show was nearly sold out.  GK engaged the audience prior to the show by walking up the
stadium stairs singing 'America The Beautiful", stopping at the landing, asking the audience to join him in singing "Home on the Range"
The enthusiastic audience joined in and this set the tone for the whole show - GK doing his part to share the desert and NM lifestyle
in particular to the radio audience - and the live audience bursting out in applause when GK nailed a New Mexico nuance.  The theme
"Red or Green" does not refer to Republican States vs. California, it refers to the question asked at most every restaurant in Las Cruces.
It means: "Would you like Red Chile or Green Chile with your meal (or as your meal)."  I prefer red with beef, or cabrito, and green with
chicken or pork, and the Tortilleria off of 70 - take the Weisner road exit - on the way to White Sands does both just right.  As our friend
Ted Troller would say:  "That's Que Bueno!"  Friends from Portal made the trek to LC to watch the show, and we met Ted's daughter
Stephanie, in the parking lot after the show.  We could have had a Portal/Paradise tailgater!!. It was a fast paced two hours, full of energy
without a pause, and over way too soon. You can listen for yourself at  Prairie Home Companion website .  Go to the archive page and
search for May 2008 shows.  I will leave you with the MCain dialogue - a glimpse into the desert lifestyle (emphasis mine):

McCain script from:  "A Prarie Home Companion", Saturday, May 31, 2008

TR (MCCAIN): Hello my friends. It's me, John McCain, Candidate for President.
I know all you people out there in Las Cruces are thinking, which of these candidates understands
what it's like to live in the desert?

I'm the senator from Arizona.

Hot and dry. Like New Mexico.

Barack Obama's from Illinois. He grew up in Hawaii.

Does he know what it's like to be impaled by a cholla cactus? I don't think so.   (Winston does)
Has Barack Obama had to stop his car for a gila monster?   (Jackie has - and showed it to tourists!!!)
Has he ever watched coyotes eat his house cats? Think about it.   (This is why Mischief comes in at night.)

I'm John McCain and I'm from the desert.

27 May 2008- Two of the four hummingbird species that spend the summer in the yard - slightly  larger than life size.  
Look close and you will see that they are sitting on the same branch and that the Magnificent has a new wing feather
emerging.  Life can be good for a photographer at the GWH.  C. Allan Morgan did follow Tundra's Tips For Photographers.
Allan is a great photographer and a true gentleman.  We wish him much success with his photography.
Magnificent Hummingbird
Photo by C. Allan Morgan
Magnificent Hummingbird
Photo by C. Allan Morgan
Blue-throated Hummingbird
Photo by C. Allan Morgan
23 May 2008 -  Snow on the mountain, Sleet in Paradise and Fire inside!
 After 172 days of no measurable precipitation, Paradise got .21 of an inch of rain.
and then it got COLD.  So cold that Jackie is bundled up like the Michelin man and yes,
we had out of towners arrive in just shorts, t-shirts and sandals to go birding.  Jackie got
chilled to the bone and spent the evening under electric blanket sipping hot cocoa. Just a
gentle reminder to those that come to visit from the desert lands (Tucson and Phoenix in
particular), we are in the mountains and have mountain weather.  Please bring appropriate
clothes.  Long pants and jackets in the morning, Sweatshirts and shorts by noon, t-shirts and
shorts by evening, and when the sun goes down, get ready to layer back up.  We have had sleet and snow in Paradise in late June.
Unlike Phoenix and Tucson, we do experience 30 - 40 degree temperature drops over night.

Rare Bird Alert - Tufted Flycatcher!!!- Word got out that Tufted Flycatcher had been spotted
in the Chiricahuas.  Jackie got her camera and herself together and snapped the picture!!!
This Tufted Flycatcher (Mitrephanes phaeocercus) was photographed May 20th near
Herb Martyr camp ground. The Tufted Flycatcher inhabits mountain evergreen and pine-oak
woodlands in Mexico and occurs as far south as Bolivia. It is a small flycatcher, similar in
size to the Empidonax flycatchers, with a spiky crest.  You can read about this sighting
in "PEEPS",  and see great pictures at: AZFO, There is one previous record of Tufted
Flycatcher in Arizona and two other records from Texas.

"The life"
On 12 May, Mark Smith of Nature Tours pointed out to his group (in the Geo. Walker House yard)
and to Jackie a Prothonotary Warbler as it came first to the water feature then hovered at peanut
butter before making a beeline toward the creek to the east of the house. Mark  feels it has been
here before because of its direct behavior and that it should come in again.

Jackie did not get a photo but will watch for it to come back and try then.
Jackie's comment:  "A new life bird and new yard bird -  I love this life!!!"

Wedding Update - Weddings are times to honor the bride and
  groom and not for brothers to be barbarians, boors, or boozers.  
  This was a posh Jewish wedding with requisite rites and blessings,
  music, mazeltovs and merriment.  We discussed, but decided NOT to
  have Winston stand by the DJ, and Brother Richard stand back by
  the bar, once situated, Brother Richard  would yell "New York City"?
  and Brother Winston would yell back: "New York City?!" - Brother
  Gene would rise from his table in the middle of the room and solemnly
  declare in his best lawman's voice:  "Get a Rope!".  Brother Phil would
  then shake out a loop and give it a toss over the newly weds.  Instead
  we watched the deer amble across the golf course and reckoned
  where the best shooting position might be. We have not heard if Pace
  Picante sauce was on the gift registry. Oh, and yes, the bride was
  lovely, the groom handsome.  

06 April 2008 - Winston's brother George is getting married in Tucson on April 13 at the
Jackie  has asked at least three times (and that is the number of this marriage for George - three),
what I am wearing to the wedding. Being that his bride-to-be Ilyse, and her family are from New York City,
I suggested that I and my brothers were getting together and planning to wear black cowboy hats, white
western shirts with black string ties, black belts, new wranglers (cowboy cut, of course), and black boots,
and to polish off the outfit, low slung six shooters. To which Jackie replied: "You forgot the
black dusters - and think about it - Sunday afternoon in Tucson and dressed like the Earps???
The Lewis clan will all be passed out due to heat prostration for being smart asses."  
Winston will give you a report after the wedding next week...

13 April 2008 -  Most Eligible Bachelor in Tucson???
Luke, Winston's nephew decided to go 1940's retro to the wedding.  Ladies - college is a year away and Luke is flying solo right now.
He made one fine escort for Jackie and Winston's Mother.  By the way, Jackie is 5'2"  and was wearing 3 inch heals. . .

Escorting Grandmother Pam Hulme.
Luke Lewis. The Man.
Escorting Aunt Jackie - doesn't she look pleased!

March is almost upon us and we have had Magnificent, Rufous, Broad-tailed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds fly through the yard.
 News Flash -  Its cold, Cold, COLD!!! - Morning lows for 3 and 4 March were 19 and 18 degrees F - what happened to spring???
Nov - Dec - Jan - Feb 2008 Updates  - where does all the time go????
Feb 2008 What a difference a year makes!  This time last year we had snow!  February this year has brought
many shirt-sleeve weekends, a little rain, and yes our first  hummingbirds of the season!  A Rufous and a
Broad-tailed zoomed through and we have also seen our first Bats of the season -most likely Mexican
free-tailed Bats. Mischief is much happier sunning  herself on the roof of the shed rather then hiding from
the snow under the deck.  And for those who are wondering, she is not a Maine Coon Cat, she is a barn
cat from Deming.  Her litter mates were all tail-less Siamese kittens.  Either her Mom went a wanderin'
or she had a lover from far, far away.  Winston did manage to haul over a load of Pecan wood from
Las Cruces.  It burns hot with low ash and few coals - much preferred over pine.  As for bookings,
February was almost 100% booked.  The rest of the year is filling up quickly, so call now to get your
 reservations in.  

The Epic Saga of Winston The One Eye  - Great title!  But the following story is about two-eyed Winstons.
One is a free-loader, the other prowls through Paradise on the weekends, usually arriving at dusk....
The following story has been judiciously edited by Winston.

A Mystery Solved!
Dear Jackie:
As you recall we have been battling for supremacy over our ceiling space since we moved in. Initially we
thought it was mice, then pack rats but the size of the dropping were huge for a rat. We did catch 2 packrats
this summer who were getting in to the space along the eves. I put up some wire meshing and stapled it
tight to close the space they were using. Tonight, while sitting at the computer, we heard something heavy
overhead and outside. We went out, flashed our flashlight up to the side of the house, and what do we see
sticking its head thru a small opening to the ceiling space. We have a good picture of it. We have a ringtail
 living in the ceiling space. Where there is one there maybe others. We want them out of there but don't want
 to hurt them. We have no idea if there are babies. Any ideas?

Winston's Suggestion:
Dear Neighbor:
Keep the Ring-tailed cat - and send us a pic!
Ring-tailed cats will eat the chipmunks and mice and keep the raccoons out. And there is not usually more
than one.  Miners kept them as pets to keep their houses free of varmints.
But if you do have to trap it, you can try a live trap like the one we have (leftover steak bone will work for bait).
Other than shooting it and fishing it out of the attic, another option is to set a leg hold or
conibar trap and then you could shoot it, skin, it and sell the hide - worth at least $5.00 maybe more at the
furrier auction held in Globe every month....
But wait - this could be another use for Bounce dryer sheets!!! - Bats don't like the smell of them. You could
shove a couple of bounce dryer sheets in the hole(s) and see if the scent chases him/her out. . ..keeps the bats
off of Dick and Fran's porch. . . .

Neighbor's Response
Winston!? Skinning it. 5$ a pelt! You must be jesting!!!! Your point about it keeping the rats away is a good one
- a really good point at that. It is rather quiet -  much quieter than the pack rats were in hind site. We'll give some
thought on the subject in the mean time it has the run of the house.....literally! The picture we got of it is really.......
cute! We'll try and send it to you. (Don't let Winston know I said that word! Use the words....'threatening... mean...').
Thanks for the ideas.

Jackie's Suggestion
Dear Gentle Neighbor:
You might be able to train it to a sand box. and yes, Winston WAS jesting! His granddad would have skinned
it for you though. Have you named it yet?

Neighbor's Response
Dear Jackie:
Love your humor! We were picturing a miner's home and a non house trained RT running around the home.
Not a pretty sight. We'd love to keep the critter around as it loves many things that we don't...centipedes,
scorpions, rats, mice....one great appetite! However, not certain it is good to have him up there so to speak.
The ceiling is a foam like material so not really strong and he could paw thru and enter the house. If he can
get in there, so can Africanized Bees, etc. If you want to try and get a picture of it, please stop by at dusk when
it should be coming out (we used a flashlight which confused him and made him curious because he couldn't
see us, and used a digital camera with a zoom/flash). We'll have to borrow a 30 ft. latter from Bud if we seal
off the opening. Still mulling over what to do with him. We'd love to have him around the area if possible!
As for names - how about.....Winston  or pseudo-scientifically and more apropo: Winston Pestus Felinicus.

The "hero" of our story, a Ring-tailed cat named Winston Pestus Felinicus
 after Winston E. Lewis, Jackie's Husband
The Denouement
Winston is living near the Dish Antenna at the spot where the A frame roof halves come
together.....Bud's side so to speak. There is a small opening that we haven't been able to
 see well because of the height, and we don't have a tall ladder.
 When we arrived last weekend, the inside of the house was a mess. It was evident
someone was chasing someone. The bookends, the cup holders, the seasoning
containers, the door stop.... a lot of stuff was strewn around. We found a dead mouse.
Initially we thought the mouse just went berserk.

We have been dealing with many critters in our ceiling for sometime so I had cut open
a hole in the ceiling of the BR out of desperation to the floor and insulation on the floor.
At the time we didn't know about 'Winston' so we were perplexed. But in hindsite
we think Winston chased a mouse from out of the ceiling, was able to crawl up the
walls and upside down back into the ceiling.  

We shudder to think what Winston is doing while we are here in Tucson.
Our plan is to get Winston to come out, tempt him with something good, watching
him with our infrared binoculars, and when he leaves, staple wire mesh to cover
 the hole so he can't get back in. At least that is the plan in theory.

Las Cruces Balloon Festival
15 Jan 2008  - Movin' in week!
After we got back from the Yucatan, we drove to Paradise, did a spot check on things and headed east
to our new house in Las Cruces.  The Movers came, helped us get unpacked and Jackie spent the next
two weeks sorting, sifting, painting, decorating, and generally getting the house setup for Winston and future
guests  We expect Melody and other birders to stop by and Winston's work mates have threatened to crash
in for an afternoon barbecue or two. By the end of  second weekend we were in Las Cruces, Jackie was
done and we were exhausted.  We woke up Sunday morning to what can only happen in
"The Land of Enchantment":  From our bedroom window we saw balloons -  Hot air balloons!
Big Hot air Balloons were floating up as if by magic from seemingly right behind our house.  
One after the other they rose and bobbed and drifted with the currents.  Winston counted 66 and
there may have been more. They seemed to hang in the still morning air and then ever so slowly drifted
north, up and away. The most novel balloons were the Wells Fargo Stagecoach and Smokey-the-Bear.  
Such fun - and cold.  Those balloonists must have been bundled up like Eskimos.

A PVB sufferer
Jan 6 - 11 2009  - Vacation - the Yucatan!
PVB - Post Vacation Blues - that bad feeling that the survivors on the TV show Lost must get when
they realize they will have to return to their mundane lives after living on a mysterious, dangerous, and
beautiful and Island.  Probably the same feeling that we felt as we realized that there was just not enough
time in one week to fully appreciate the Mayan Riviera and all it has to offer.  We stayed at the Mayan Palace
in the very last northern building on then the third floor.  Our room overlooked tropical trees that allowed us
to sleep with the sliding glass doors  wide open and awaken every morning to Tropical Mockingbirds and
Chachalacas.  Jackie counted 40 bird species from just the balcony.  We trekked to Playa Del Carmen, sped
 to and round Isla Mujeres, toured Chichen Itza, swam in the Cenote at Ik-Kil,  Winston snorkeled on the
Yucatan reef while Jackie and her mom rode horses along the beach and swam them into the ocean. It has been
said that if you can ride a swimming horse, you can ride anything - and ride these two did.    We floated down the river at Xel-Ha.  
We also took in buffets and shows at the Palace.  All too soon, it was time to head back to the Estados Unidos.  We left with fond
memories and a list of things to do next time:  enjoy Ex-caret, explore Meridia, dive Cozumel, stop at the open air Mercado
and Winston might just turn off his type AAA personality and plant his butt in one place for an afternoon of R&R just enjoying.  
To which Winston would reply - enjoying WHAT?  I guess that is an excuse to go back and try for a little R&R on the beach -
like in the Mexican beer (Corona) commercials.

1276 Oakridge Drive
Las Cruces NM 88005
28 Dec 2008 Transferred, New house bought and closed on.
Winston accepted a position at White Sands New Mexico and we closed on a house by 28 Dec.
Winston's new job is as a Program Manager for a Lockheed program located at the
Airforce Communications Facility.  He claims his real job is to oil the gears on the  tracking
dishes...but with a Company issued laptop, cell phone, and pager and being on 24 hour standby
I suspect he does a little more than that.  
Our new house is quite a find.  It is a little 1970's retro inside, with dark wood trim and '70s style
fixtures.  It has a nice xeriscaped front yard and a large walled and fenced backyard replete with
Jacuzzi, kiva fireplace and patio.  Winston has some work to do to get the Jacuzzi working and
getting the landscaping up to speed, but it is very, very open and quite comfortable and as close to
 work as Winston wants to get.  We are off of Elks, right behind  BurgerTime.  Las Cruces has a
nice small-town feel, a primo farmer's market, and in April, GK is bringing
A Prairie Home Companion to Las Cruces for a live show.  Winston can't wait to attend!

Nov 2008 Craft Fair!!!
One picture is worth a thousand words and one taste can lead to 70 lbs of fudge sold!  Jackie's new fudge for this year is Chili-fudge
which sold well.  Milk and Dark and Mexican chocolates were also favorites.  Jackie, Rodeo and the Chiricahua Gallery were all
mentioned in the November issue of New Mexico Magazine.  This article brought people from as far away as Las Cruces who drove
down to check out the gallery and, of course, taste Jackie's fudge!  The Chiricahua Gallery is also on the New Mexico Fiber Arts Trail.


Family-  Jackie's brother Scott, and his tribe out for a visit - same weekend as the Wine tasting.  10/8/2007
Scott, Toni, Seth, Caleb, David and Miss Rachel spent 4 days camping under the Junipers. They did a lot of living
in four days:  hiked to the waterfall, helped haul tables and chairs back after the wine tasting, visited the Colibri
pond, got a line wet, and after a bass took off with their one hook, fed grasshoppers to the fish, skipped rocks
and discovered hundreds of Giant Waiter Bugs.  Next day Scott & the boys hiked Silver peak.  So what
did they do for "down time"?  They played on the hammock, made "mini-stack" smores with mini marshmallows
on the forks from Restoration Hardware, and actually found time to watch "The Last of the Dogmen".  Uncle
Winston got them to listen to Prairie Home companion - but we missed the best part of that show - Cowboy
School where GK was teaching liberals to be Cowboys (gotta Rope, Whoop, Shoot and Spit). We did get to
listen to the story of Crispy the Wonder Dog and how GK got darted by a tranquilizer gun.  A creativity outlet
seemed to be discovering and or inventing 101 (or more) uses for a Hammock.  Here are 14 observed uses:   
1. Sleeping
2. Rocking
3. Sitting
4. Swinging alone
5. Swinging with two (three were too many, although Tundra did try to make it a trifecta)
6. Swinging with one being pushed
7. Swinging with two being pushed
8. Seeing how high one can swing
9. Seeing how high two can swing
10. The ultimate: a 360 degree “round the world” swing
11. See how close you can swing towards the hibachi – with coals – little brother in the hammock – of course!
12. See how close you can swing towards the picnic table
13. Solo Swinging
14. The Famous Bronson Hammock “inversion” where the person in the hammock wraps the hammock around their body,
       locks their arms and a executes a "snap roll" that  flips them 180 degrees upside down facing the dirt.  Here are a few
       post-execution pictures of the "Bronson Hammock Inversion", courtesy of Miss Rachel.

A success!!! -  $1810 Raised for Portal Rescue- 10/8/2007
@ 40 attendees including cooks, servers, and our gracious host, Maya Decker.  The "fortunate forty" feasted on
five Colibri Wines and the most scrumptious pairings:

Signs and Wonders
Winston wonderin' what he just ate and Jackie signin' what it was!!!
1.  50/50 cuvee of Viogner and Roussane (expertly served by Paul) paired with:
Asparagus Proscuitto Tarts (who would have thought that Asparagus could be "whipped?")
Proscuitto wrapped Asparagus (hand rolled by Linda)
Baked Brie with Fig Preserves  (we "cultured" at least one bear hunter with this dish)
Angel Hair & Artichoke Frittata (once is enough)

2.  2005 Counoise paired with:
Grilled Salmon with Citrus Zest & Fran's Lemon-lime Marmalade
(Deemed worthy of equal exchange for wine by Bob)
Charred Salmon Skin
(brings out the deepest flavors in the Counoise - just a nibble works!)
Grilled Endive with Blue Cheese wrapped in Black Forest Ham
(would Serrano ham have been better, really?)

3.  2005 Cuvee - Blend of Bob's best reds (Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise) paired with:
Pork Pimenton With Shallot Cream (excellent cream sauce)
Chicken with Ancho Peanut Sauce (almost no left-overs tells the tale of this dish)
Brillat Savarin Cheese  (Thanks to Andy from the vineyard for introducing us to this cheese)

4.  2005 Syrah Petite Verdot paired with:
Lamb Carpaccio (remainders under lock & key in Paradise, waiting for Winston and Jackie and night of R&R)
Chilean Empanadas (Winston's Grandmother's recipe, expertly interpreted by Zola)

5.  2005 Sangre De Montanas Port (Blood of the Mountains) paired with:
Roasted Fig Tartlets with Port Reduction and Creme Fraiche (a time-tested recipe, reputed to be a favorite of Julius Caesar)
(Note: Winston is to stay out the Port.  It affects him like Whisky - he can't put his hat on or pull his boots up the morning after.)

Rats and mice and chipmunks - Oh, my!!! - 9/24/2007
Mischief once again earned her keep by bringing in a fresh breakfast of tender young packrat this past Sunday.  
She must have known it was a banding day and was just doing her part to help feed the volunteers.  Unfortunately
Jackie also had to get tough on the bumper crop of mice while Winston worked on the packrats and Tundra
hounded the chipmunks.  Winston was so inspired by Jackie's steely resolve to rid the world of rodent nuisances
that he put together the song "Snap traps in her hand."  My humble apologies to Marty Robbins. . . . click here for an

Hummingbird Banding - They are back!!! 8/27/2007
Sunday, we banded 71 birds with 5 species represented:  Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Rufous, Calliope,
and Magnificent. The feeder watch count for the five hours yielded @535 birds.  Not records, but great numbers
after our nearly 4 weeks of almost no birds at the feeders.  Concurrently,  Dr. Susan Wethington trapped and
banded 61 birds single-handedly at SWRS!!!  This seems to be the first of the fall migration and Jackie reports
good numbers and species representation again on 8/28. It is really enjoyable to see the birds coming through
in such numbers and many are juveniles or first year hatch birds.  A story that adds to the joy of being part of the
Hummingbird Monitoring network came through the birding list serve from Rick Wright, Editor, Winging It,
Jeff Wakefield Photo      Department Editor, Birding.  On 08/28 Rick posted:

The new issue of British Columbia Birds (Vol 15, 2007) includes an account
of a Rufous Hummingbird banded in July 2002 at Paradise, AZ, and recovered
in May 2004 in a garage on Lasqueti Island, BC (just off Vancouver Island).

Indeed, this bird was banded at the George Walker House by Rebecca Hamilton, banding under the permit held by
Dr. Susan Wethington (Executive Director, Hummingbird Monitoring Network).  What makes the
story all the more interesting is that the lady who caught the Rufous in her garage on Lasqueti Island noticed the band
and reported the number to Canadian authorities because she had heard a story about hummingbird banding on  Canadian
Public Radio.  She noticed the band, wrote down the band number, and contacted Canadian authorities,
who then contacted American authorities.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service researched and found that Rebecca
Hamilton had  banded this bird in Paradise for the Hummingbird Monitoring Network, and passed the information back to Lasqueti
Island.  Eventually, Rebecca was contacted via e-mail, and we now know that the little bird flew 2319km from Paradise to
Lasqueti Island.   Rebecca loves to tell this story, and we are amazed how far these little birds fly.

Jackie wrote Rick back: "To think that we were only her 1/2 way point! There have been several birds banded in Paradise,
through the Hummingbird Monitoring Network, that have been recaptured elsewhere. A few places that come to mind are:
The Rocky Mountain Park in Colorado, Montana, Tumacocori, Mount Graham, Patagonia, Coronado National Monument,
another site on the west side of the Chiricahuas and closer to home, the Southwest Research Station.

We hope the migration continues and next banding session yields more birds both in quantity and species.  If you are
in the area, the next banding session for both SWRS and Paradise will be on September 9th.  We start at sunup and
monitor for 5 hours.  Stop by and learn more about these amazing little birds.

Flamingo Party - 8/18/2007

 Flamin' Floyd
The annual Flamingo party at Mike and Cecil Williams' house at the mouth of Cave Creek was
 a huge summer success. Lolita, the pink neon goddess of the front garden is the matron of honor, and
Jackie was inspired to compose a bit of verse that chronicles her arrival in Portal.  Lolita is an icon that
can be seen at least 5 miles away on a clear, dark night - the same kind of night that is perfect for gazing
at the Pleiades and other wonders in the desert sky.  You can pick up your guitar and strum the tune
"Frankie and Johnnie" while singing Lolita's song.  Not quite the same as Lindsay Lohan's version in the
Prairie Home Companion movie, but personally tailored for this event.  No one has a good portrait
of Lolita, but we do have one of Flamin' Floyd.   If you look closely at Floyd, you will see that he is made
from a harrow disk, rebar, a propane tank, more rebar, garden shears, and a few grande sized washers.
No, Floyd is not a lush, what looks like a martini glass is really a hummingbird feeder.  Of course no
Flamingo party would be complete with out "PInk Drinks", and Jackie collected a few recipes perfect
for your next Flamingo Party.  Click here for recipes.  My favorites are the "Rose Red" and
the "Santiago", and of course, just plain Tequila Rose - a long time family favorite.

Here is to July and August Monsoons and many more good times with Mike and Cecil . . . .and by the way,
if you were Owling on a summer night in Cave Creek and happened to get a good pic of Lolita glowin'
across the canyon, send us a copy.  We will post it on the site with full credits and etc. . . .

New addition to the yard list - 8/13/2007

A baby Western Diamond-backed rattlesnake was found on the road by our
neighbor,  Judy Englemann.  As far as we know, this is the first recorded sighting
of a Western Diamond-backed rattlesnake in Paradise.  {Elevation @ 5460 feet).
They are normally found at lower elevations.  This little one is about 14 inches long
and as big around as Jackie's pinkie finger. Dr. David Hardy will incorporate this new
record in a forthcoming study of expansion of the range of the Diamondback.
(As of now, the paper with two additional authors is scheduled for presentation at a
 symposium planned for early next year at SWRS.).  
Winston hopes he grows into a big healthy snake by eating LOTS of packrats and
field mice.  Now, for all you gentle readersworried about the safety of such a small and fragile newborn snake (venomous or not), Jackie
did not put her sandal with or without a foot in it this close to the li'l rattler.  She took her sandal off and placed it about foot from the snake
and snapped the picture. Winston edited the image by cropping the sandal from its original location and moving it closer to the snake.
Intent is to provide a reference to show how small the snake really is.

Just  Winston Notes - 7/10/2007
Vacation!!!  29 June - 8 July Winston was in Paradise with Jackie, and as usual, managed to do so much
outdoor living that he had to schlep back to Phoenix to his desk job to recuperate!  Just what did Winston
do that tired him so?  Welll . . . read on - does he have braggin' rights or not?

7/8 - Pulled screen tight on back door of Walker House.  Fabbed and installed plywood "kick plate".   "Fixed"
outhouse door - drying out and pulling apart.  Glue, screws, and springs.  Drove to Colibri for the tasting  - and
just a taste, mind you, and then on to Phoenix.

7/7 - Afternoon picnic at Rustler Park. Watched deer and turkey in the meadow. Cooked Brats and played dominoes.
Jackie claimed that Winston stole her Mexican Train.  Winston was and is in denial. The matter is still under review.
Guilty parties will remain married until resolution is reached.  Spent evening listening to Prarie Home Companion.

7/6 - Took Tundra for a long walk up the creek.  Saw a Coyote run across the road.  Identified Bear scat near
 the creek.  Puttered around the yard.  Fixed hoses.  Started garden - dig, rake, plant.

7/5 - Birthday doin's for the July birthday folk.  15 of  us whooped it up at the Portal store - Thanks to Linda Jakse for setting this up!

7/4 - Raked Walker House yard, stacked wood and hoped for rain.  Winston was wearing his grubbiest of clothes as he worked around the
yard.  A lady dropped by and asked him:  "How much do you charge for yard work?"  Winston replied:  "The lady of the house lets me sleep
with her." And now Jackie knows how the rumor that she "sleeps with the hired help" got started....Missed the Parade, Winston's Mother
wore her blue shoes to the dance.  50's music.

7/3 - Built new front steps for Jackie's deck.  Painted deck.  Pulled down and re-stapled Walker House North side porch screens.

7/2 - Went to Sierra Vista for lumber and manure.  Ate at La Casita.  Got stopped at the Bisbee traffic circle for "failure to yield".  
         Surveyors came to stake out property boundaries for our "survey of record".  Found boundaries are straight, but nothing else is!

7/1 - Listened to Helicopters as they dropped water on the Tub fire near Fly's peak.  About 7 miles Southwest from Paradise.   
         Watered Dick and Fran's plants and watched the smoke and 'copter activity from their deck for a few minutes.  

6/31 - Dinner at Marcia's.  As usual,  good friends, good food, good fun.  Jackie and Ted are mighty good at jigsaw puzzles that
           stump us mere mortals.

6/30 - Cleaned out gutters and trapped a Packrat (Woodrat).  After a week in San Diego, it was hot enough to be an "au naturale" day. . . . .

6/29 - Drove to Paradise from San Diego @ 8 hour drive.   

Just  Winston Notes - 6/28
Winston boondoggled a trip to San Diego 24 - 28 June to attend the 2007 International Council On Systems Engineering (INCOSE)
symposium.  The symposium theme was:  Systems Engineering:  Key to Intelligent Enterprises.  It was a full week with an international
cast of speakers and participants.  Winston enjoyed all the presentations and felt the following four were especially well received:

Mind the Gap:  Applying SE to Address the Delivery Challenges of London Underground Programmes
Kuldeep Kumar Gharata, London Underground Ltd.

Singapore: An Example of a Large Scale System
Pao Chuen Lui, Singapore Ministry of Defense (MINDEF)

Damn the Torpedoes! Lessons from Underwater Warfare
Terje Fossnes, Norwegian Defence Procurement Division - Submarines

Defining Changeability: Reconciling Flexibility, Adaptability, Scalability, and
Robustness for Maintaining System Lifecycle Value
A.M. Ross, D.H. Rodes, D.E. Hastings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A world class event with over 1,000 attendees from around the Globe.  Most with advanced engineering degrees.  
Could be why the internet bandwidth went to 0 every night.  (All those nerds downloading their multi-megabyte data files;)

Just  Jackie Notes - 6/5/2007
The spring birding season is winding down.  Jackie has few yard visitors and a couple of days without guests.  Spring babies are
everywhere.  Fledglings seen in the yard include Juniper Titmice, House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches, White Breasted Nuthatches,
Bridled Titmice, Acorn Woodpeckers, Hummingbirds, and at lower elevations, Quail (Scaled, Gambels - no Montezuma babies ...)  

So what does Jackie do during the down time?  Well, Monday, she got herself re-elected President of the Chiricahua Gallery.  Tuesday
she re-worked the membership list, visited Marcia's kitties Booger, Ouissie, Elsa, and then went down to the creek to monitor at least
three Black-chinned Hummingbird nests.  Tomorrow becomes more mundane as she readies the house for more guests and finishes
another 'round of laundry.

Winston is workin' away getting a better understanding high performance computers, utility analyses, and related engineering arcana.
He has been down every weekend for 5 weekends and needs to spend a day in Goodyear tidying up a few loose ends.

Historical notes - 5/29/2007
"What we do in life echoes in eternity."
                    Russel Crowe, The Gladiator
George Walker adventured in Alaska, founded a town, started a mine, owned and operated a general store. His town, family, and legacy
live on.  We recently received the following e-mails from George Walker's Great-granddaughters, Melissa and Debra:
Good Afternoon,
 My name is Melissa Walker and I just visited your site that showcases the home that my Great-Grandparents built in Paradise, AZ.
My grandfather was Elmore Walker and he was born in this house in 1906. He had a brother named Reed Walker and a sister name Georgia Walker.  Elmore married Ann Schneider and they had two sons, Dennis Elmore Walker and George Layton Walker.  They lived for years on a ranch just outside of Portal not far from this house.  Dennis is my father.  
I met Lula Walker when I was about 3 years old when she was in her mid-90's.
It is amazing how the internet can help make connections. One day I will be down to rent and spend some time in this little home.
Thanks for keeping my family history alive.
My name is Debra Walker, and Lula Leola Reed and George Walker were my great-grandparents. Melissa Walker (who emailed you earlier) is my sister.
There are so many family stories I can remember my grandmother (Ann Walker, wife of Elmore Walker, George and Lula's son) telling me about Paradise when I was little. We did visit Paradise once, when were kids. I remember my dad (Dennis Walker, son of Ann and Elmore) leading us on a hike up the mountain with my youngest sister Darcey in a baby backpack. It's such a beautiful area, and so much fun.
My grandmother Ann was a bride in Paradise--she lived in a small, one-room cabin, and had to haul water from a spring up a steep hill. Not the kind of honeymoon we think of these days!
I know that my great-grandmother Lula was in heavy debt after the untimely death of her husband. Her two sons, Elmore and Reed waited ten years to marry so they could help their mother pay off her creditors (the Walkers owned the General Store--I still have the glass candy trays they used in the showcase-counter).
Then, Elmore married Ann (they met in a mining camp), and Reed  married Una, and they both had families.
Lula lived to a ripe old age. She was a consummate outdoorswoman; she loved to ride horses and hunt. She was one of the last pioneers, really.
Her two sons had ranches near Douglas, AZ, and she spent a lot of time with them and their families. Apparently, she was a very good card player--that was how they spent their evenings. She had strong opinions, and she made her daughters-in-law well aware of them, so the stories go.
I met her when she was in the nursing home. She was still as sharp as ever at 92.
I think she would be amazed at what you've done with her old house. I imagine she loved the wildlife and beautiful surroundings as much as you do.
I hope you have great success with the place.
Debra Walker

A very special visit - 5/23/2007
Margaret, Sandra Austin's Mother, came to visit shortly after her 94th birthday.   Winston met Margaret on
Saturday morning as she headed out for her morning walk which turned out to be a nearly 1 mile round trip
 from the porch to the first  up-mountain creek crossing.  If Winston had known she was 94 and not 20 years
 younger, he would have accompanied her - and she probably would have shooed him away.  Quite the
rugged Iowan!  Margaret also went with Dan and Sandra through Cave Creek  and up the mountain to
Rustler Park. She found it hard to believe she was in Arizona not on the East face of the Sierra Nevadas.  
On Sunday, Margaret came over to watch the hummingbird banding process.  Jackie allowed her to be a
"launching pad" for hummingbirds after they had been processed and fed.  Margaret is holding a female
Magnificent Hummingbird that Dan trapped, caught, and brought down for processing.  Margaret did
comment that she had been to Hell (Caymans) and Paradise (Arizona) this year, and she noted that Hell
was much more crowded than Paradise:).   Best wishes to Margaret as she heads back to civilization in
Illinois.  Maybe we will see her again next year.  

 Tundra's Tips for Photographers:  5/21/2007  Tundra has "ridden shotgun" with a number of photographers since coming to Paradise, and offers the following advice:  
1.  Know your equipment.  Especially if you are the proud owner of new Nikon that has functionality
more complicated than the cockpit of an SR-71 spyplane.  At least reading the manual before you make
your happy snaps of flora and fauna in our yard will help you avoid saying words dogs most fear to hear.
2.  Know your subject.  Know which birds come to feeders and which birds hop on the ground  Be
patient, settle in, and wait  for the behavior you want to capture.  Anticipate and point your camera where
the bird will be.  If Jackie tells you that a titmouse is coming to the peanut butter, put your camera to your face, focus, and wait.  When the
bird arrives, achieving  number 3 will be soooo satisfying you might want to do it again.
3.  Fill the frame.   If you don't have an OMGTB (Oh, My God, That's Big) lens, you might not be able to achieve satisfaction. In
     which case, see number 4.  But if you can fill the frame, the way to fulfillment is to make sure the eye is in focus.  The rest of
     the picture can look like a bad Monet painting, but if the eye is clear and in focus, you might get a new nickname - like Ansel
     (Adams) or Annie (Leibovitz).
4. Get closer.  If you want to get closer, ask Winston or Jackie where a good location is and they can tell you where other   
     photographers have achieved some modicum of success.  Usually this is not a problem, but do consider number 5.  There
     are times when you may not move freely about the yard.
5.  Observe the following rules of etiquette:
     a.  Be unobtrusive.  There are plenty of places to set up where you will not be in the way of most of the other bird-watching
     b.  Be polite.  A simple "do you mind if I. . . . " allows everyone to know what you are doing and where you will be and
          almost always gets a "yes, please do" or a " no, we don't mind" response.  
     c.  Be courteous.  DO NOT move the feeders, especially the hummingbird feeders.  Others are watching as much as you
          are photographing.
     d.  Stay with your equipment.  Winston and Jackie and I are not responsible for lost opportunities or equipment.
6.  Critical lighting.  Overcast days enhance iridescent colors as do evening and early morning sunlight.  Remember, only      
     "Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun"- and besides, your pictures will be over exposed and Jackie and
      Mischief and I just  might be napping.  (Winston will most likely be stuck in triple degree heat in Phoenix).

Finally,  if you have the time, stay a few days.  The rates are quite reasonable (or so every human that has stayed here and
offered me a dog biscuit has said),  and get to know the surroundings.  Learn the bird behaviors, note the lighting conditions,
scope out the best picture taking spots, and be sure to ruffle my ears, pat my back and scratch the base of my tail.  
If you follow all these tips, not only will you get better pictures, I might not scare the bejesus out of you with my
patented boxer/hound from hell baritone bark when you arrive!     
   Cheers, and many happy snaps to you and yours
  - Tundra, the Official George Walker House Greeter.

The Bullock's is on the Mend and the Bat's are in - a mid-June weekend update, posted 5/14/2007

Bullock's Oriole  (Photo by Joe Riser)
5/10/2007 - Jackie and Tony from Cave Creek Ranch scooped up an injured male Bullock's Oriole as it ran ON THE GROUND from feeder to feeder.  Being the good EMT, Jackie recruited P. D. Hulse from SWRS to assist while she felt the wing for injuries and then bound the wing to prevent future injuries.
5/11/2007 - Jackie took the Oriole to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.   A scrappy little bird, he ate and rested and ate some more on the 120 mile one-way trip from Paradise to Sierra Vista. The rehabilitator looked the Oriole over and felt it best to leave him bound for a day before reassessing the injury.  He was placed in "solitary" for the night and settled in.
5/13/2007 - Jackie called rehab to check on the Oriole, and he had been moved to the "flight cage", had been flying, and seemed ready "for release", so the flight cage door was left open, and he is on his way to new adventures.

5/12/2007 - It was Saturday night live in Paradise!!!  Our guests, Floyd and Kathy Miller, earned the GWH first bat viewer of the season award by standing outside the bat boxes patiently for 45 minutes and counting the +54 Mexican Freetailed bats that came exploded into the dusky sky. They also observed a number of Big Brown bats scooping up bugs.
5/14/2007 - Jackie woke up on Monday to discover that the hummingbird feeders had been visited by the nectar feeding bats. We expect them to be in the area now through the first freeze, with peak numbers at the end of July.

"Doin's" 5/11/2007 = 5/14/2007
 Ted Troller says:  "Its always busy in the country."  This weekend was no exception.  In addition to Bullock's Oriole saga and return of the Bats, here are some weekend "doin's":

Saturday 5/12
We both got up early and walked the property lines looking for corner markers to assist with our  upcoming " survey of record".  That was fun.  We will have more history to report when the survey is complete.  Laying out a town on a flat surface is one thing.  Overlaying the townsite onto a 3-D  site with valleys, rocks, trees, erosion, and 2nd growth trees, creates a tad more work for the survey team.  After our property line check, Jackie went to check on the bob-tailed cat at the Jones' old place.  Jackie calls her "Bunny".  Bunny now has kittens.  Jackie then birded from the Jones' (Galeyville), to the junction (with a nap and lunch in between) for the annual migratory bird count, Winston entertained a large group from California and a couple of "independent" bird watchers and took the trash down to Portal.  He picked up Tundra from the sitters (Ted and Marcia) and roared back up the hill.  In the afternoon he entertained more birdwatchers and chatted with our guests.  In the evening Jackie tallied up her birds and birds from several other participants.  We tag-teamed a dinner of garlic mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus and grilled strip steaks which we ate on our open air-porch.  Jackie grabbed a blanket and we  began watching for and counting satellites.  Jackie, being the bird watch counted 16, satellites while Winston only got 11. We both saw 4 shooting stars.

Sunday 5/13
On Mother’s day, we joined Bill and Michelle, Brita, and Ted and Marcia for a very nice brunch at Sunnyflat campground where we heard, but did not see, a Trogon calling!  Peg Abbot stopped by in the afternoon with a tour and while there was no Lewis's Woodpecker,  they did get to observe the Indigo Bunting, the Lazuli Bunting, Arizona Woodpecker, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Bushtits and of course, our yard favorite, the Juniper Titmouse.  The Black-chinned hummingbirds were performing their mating flight rituals in the spaces between the Elm trees.  More yard birders arrived, Jackie tallied more birds for the count, and Winston trekked back to Phoenix.

Our guests, Floyd and Kathy, diligently searched all weekend for the Lewis’ Woodpecker - but to no avail.  Being seasoned and avid birder watchers, they would have seen him if had been anywhere in the area.  We do believe he has moved on and will have to be "delisted".  We assume he moved North to cooler climates and hope he didn’t become a Cooper’s hawk snack

Snow = Fire!!!. . . 4/13/2007
What do you do when you wake up to 0.7 inches of unexpected snow and a temperature drop to 32F????  Light a fire, make a BIG mug of chai tea, grab a blanket, and settle in until the sun comes out, the snow melts and the last visages of winter become distant memories. . . .Hanagan's Meadow near the White Mountains reported 5 inches of snow last night and we expect more snow on Sunday (so much for the last visages of winter).  Tundra, like most Boxer dogs, loves nothing more than a warm fire, soft bed, and oh, yes, being of German extraction, a sip of Schnapps or snifter of warmed Brandy to chase away the morning chill.  So much for global warming.  But perhaps climate change brought the Lewis's Woodpecker to the Sycamore trees across the creek Easter weekend.  The male's dashingly contrasting green back and pink chest were visible to the naked eye at the top of the "dead" Sycamores in the creek most of the day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  He watched the hordes of ATV'ers and oglers with aristocratic aplomb, and relinquished his roost only to a Cooper's hawk that was looking for a bite of Woodpecker brisket to whet his appetite.  And, yes the fruit trees were all in full bloom.  Now they have to start all over.  Maybe it was in a fit of frustration after a late freeze that Winston's Great Grandfather turned his apple orchard into firewood. . .

Easter Suprise. . . 4/19/2007
Who needs the Easter Bunny for a surprise filled day?!
We started the morning banding for the Hummingbird Monitoring Project.  40% of our 42 captured birds were banded previously here in Paradise. Today we had Black-chinned, Magnificent, 1 Rufous, 1 Broad-tailed and 1 Blue-throated at the feeders.
A sweet song was trying to break into my brain. Our guests finally let me know what it was - a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.  Then we had a RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER. To top off the day a LEWIS' WOODPECKER has been in the tree tops all day long.  Everyone who came through today got to see it. Our last sighting was in 5/2002.  The Juniper Titmouse played for a few of the folks. A Yellow-eyed Junco was singing its heart out. There are about 14 Scott's Orioles and 1 Hooded. No Bullock's yet...

Pollen "Superburst". . . 3/19/2007
This Canyon Wren was just singin' away at the top of Jackie's workshop.  Maybe he was looking for love, or perhaps he was still chortling at the memory of Winston winning the DoD  (Dumb A _ _ of the Day) Award.  The recent warm temperatures combined with this winter's heavy snows produced prime conditions for a pollen "super-burst".  The Juniper trees were generating so much pollen that when even a House Finch landed on a branch, the pollen would explode from the tree in what appeared to be a puff of smoke - Jackie calls it "Pollen Smoke".  The Juniper trees exuded so much pollen last weekend and this weekend that the whole valley appeared to be caught in a dust storm or grass fire smoke.  Somehow Winston got the bright idea to shake a Juniper branch and see just how much pollen he could shake out.  Jackie has titled the following 4 picture sequence "Pollen Smoke".  Needless to say Winston, who is allergic to Juniper and Cedar pollens, spent the next 4 hours fending off the reaction:  Strip off contaminated clothes, Hot Shower until the hot water ran out, Claritin, Eye Drops, and No sympathy from Jackie - in fact she made him dig post holes and set up her new feeder station in front of the Walker House while he was leaking like a sieve from eyeball to eyeball and nostril to nostril.  
Pollen Smoke, a study in Allergens
Duck & Cover!

A Borderlands compliment. . . .
Every year, a craft fair is held in Rodeo.  Artisans from as far away as Douglas, Silver City, Bisbee, and Tucson converge at the Rodeo community center to sell their wares.  Jackie sells a variety of homemade fudge (Peanut Butter, Mexican Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Penuche, and more).  At this year's craft fair, Bonnie, from the Big Cat Ranch in New Mexico, bought all of Jackie's Penuche (about 3 lbs).  Bonnie was rationing herself 1 square inch of Penuche per day to make it last as long as possible.
One day not too long ago, Bonnie came home to find that her ranch house had been broken into by illegal border crossers.  They apparently were a fastidious and caring lot. They did no physical damage.  They made lunch in the kitchen and cleaned it up, even doing the dishes and leaving them to dry in the rack.  They did help themselves to two bags of frozen burritos from the freezer - but left one bag for the owner.  They also took or ate 4 ice cream popcycles - but left two in the freezer.  They certainly did not want to leave the ranch house without food.  But they did eat or take ALL of Bonnie's Penuche!!! Needless to say, Bonnie was more incensed at the loss of her special treat than the loss of a few burritos and some ice cream.  Quite a borderland compliment on Jackie's candy making skills!

 Time spent in a snow globe! - Valentine's Day - 2/14/2007
Winston flew to Baltimore for work on the 12th, with plans of flying back on the 14th.  While he spent Valentine's day getting his travel re-arranged and making a three-hopper to get back to Phoenix (BWI to Charlotte NC, Charlotte to Las Vegas, NV, Las Vegas to Phoenix - just in time for rush hour traffic).  Jackie spent the day enjoying the snow in the Chiricahuas.  Total snow fall was about three inches, but it was light, and dry and swirled around the mountain, the house, and the trees.  Jackie said it was like being inside a snow globe.   Needless to say, she and our guests broke out their cameras and snapped a few pics.  

Since Winston was on travel, he ordered two valentine day gifts for Jackie from Red Envelope.   Red Envelope claims that the best gifts come in Red Boxes, and Jackie was delighted with her red-boxed gifts.  The two gifts were Port filled Chocolates (excellent balance of chocolate and smooth, rich port), and a blown glass paperweight that might help hold the papers to her desk.  If you need a special gift, Red Envelope is a great place to shop.

Winston is recuperating from his travels and will be back out next weekend for John and Karen Allen's house warming party.  His housewarming gifts are three area books (John and Karen are avid readers) ordered from Rio Nuevo Press:  Working Wilderness, Voice of the Borderlands, and The Reaper's line.  Working Wilderness describes the Malpai Group's interactions with Ranchers, Science, and Governments as they work together to preserve open space.  Voice of the Borderlands is a book of poetry that captures the essence of life in the Borderlands.  Finally, The Reaper's Line is the reprise of a border agent's career along the border - a best seller in Douglas.  

Maybe Winston will spend time this weekend getting the yard list updated, and hummingbird banding dates, and the 2006 banding summary on the website - but it will be 70 in Phoenix this weekend, and now is the time to go outside and play in Phoenix!

Weather update - 1/29/2007
The following chart may be a tad premature.  As I type, Phoenix is getting rain (well, sprinkles, really).  Rain and snow to 6000 feet are forecast for the Chiricahuas. 19.8 inches may not be much to the front range folk, but it is nearly 5 times as much snow as our multi-year average of 4 inches!
On Saturday, I drove the loop around the research station to the Paradise Junction and on into Paradise.  Snow was at least 2' on the North side with drifts a bit deeper. I met some really nice adventurers who thought they could make to the monument via the Onion Saddle - but not with snow that deep  (They are now the newest members of the GWH AAA club).  Of course, the snow started to melt and now we are in a sea of muck.  Our neighbor's driveway is so bad that they left their Honda CRV at our house and Jackie took them home in the 4Runner.  Jackie said the "pucker factor" went up a notch as she slid sideways getting them home, but they made it.
Microsoft Excel Chart
Fingers and Hole-in-the-rock formations

Snowed in! - 1/24/2007
Jackie just sent me these pics of how deep the snow was.  Now it is melting and refreezing.  Our neighbor, Judy Engelman, couldn't get her truck up our driveway, so she parked on Turkey Creek Road, hiked to her cabin, broke out the little red sled, and towed her groceries and Gracie, her Papillon pup and constant companion up the hill to her house. In his biography, Scott O'Grady (Captain Scott O'Grady, shot down over Bosnia), commented that Yavapai county held the most independent people he had ever met (He attended Embry Riddle University in Prescott). Scott had obviously never met any womenfolk from the Chiricahuas - or Portal/Rodeo area!).   If anyone is coming to visit in the next week or so, we highly recommend they go to Road Forks, come down 80, and then up the Portal to Paradise road.  The San Simon Road and Foothills Road will all be gumbo.  If the road over the mountain isn't closed, it ought to be.  
If you look very close on the left, you will see the Walker House gate and stairs.
Snow is about 14" deep.  
Cross Country skiing at Rustler Park - if you can get there. . . .snow shoes might help.
Snowed in!!!  "Blackie" is covered with Snow.
Look how the snow piled up on top of the fence posts.  
The Mountain Ridgeline is covered with snow all the way down to the flats!

More Snow - 1/22/2007
As of 7:00 pm it is still snowing.  We had 14 inches and 6 more are expected!  Then average snowfall for December is 4 inches, the deepest was 31 Inches recorded in 1916.  We will beat the norm, but most likely, not the record.  Electricity has been cutting in and out, but the phone still works. Neighbors and friends have called to check in on Jackie and all is well.  
Pine Tree in Front Yard 8"!
Mischief hiding under the porch.
Snow is entertaining, but snow is not 'zactly her favorite thing.  Both Mischief and Tundra walk in Jackie's footprints to keep from getting their feet wet.
Agave Snow Cones
 @14" by 2:00 pm.
8" at 10:00 am.

Mischief walking in Jackie's footprints in the snow so she won't get her feet wet. - 1/22/2007
Winston in for Jackie. We have had bird watchers in the yard this week.  As for birds, we have lots of Junco's, Ruby Crowned Kinglets, Mexican Jays and Acorn Woodpeckers. The weekend of 20/21/22/23 January we had snow, rain, and ice.  So much rain and ice that Jackie's rig, Blackie (4Runner so named by Ted Troller) was covered over in ice and the doors froze shut.  Needless to say, she did not got the Saturday Portal Rescue meeting.  She also encouraged our guests to stay home this weekend (there were coming from Tucson late at night without 4-wheel drive).  They did reschedule for a fairer weather date.  I called Jackie from Goodyear Sunday morning to check in and all was well.  She has dry wood and plenty of people and pet food.  It is a little late in the year for a repeat of the Winter of 1967  - but Jackie is prepared just in case.  Pete and Norma Beltran stopped on their way back to Douglas and dropped off some Rellenos that are "ready to fry".  Makes me wish I was there - even if just for the Rellenos!!!

Another busy weekend in Paradise.  John and Karen Allen came up and helped scrape and paint windows and floors, and hang blinds and in general help make sure the GWH is ready for the season.  Good thing, too, as we have guests in January, February, March is light, and April, May, and June bookings are rolling in.  We had 20 bird watchers in the yard on the 14th, and we expect a full season of more yard-birders.

Where do all our guests come from?
Most of our guests are from Southwest and North East.  The South East and Plains states need better representation, so make a reservation, come on out west, and be counted!

Tundra sacked out on top of a pile of Christmas bootie.  How can one dog be soooo spoiled?
December has come and gone - it is now January 5, 2007 - where did all the time go?
Jackie shut down the GWH for the month, but still had guests in the middle and end of December.  Many thanks to Marcia for keeping the place in order for the  guests.  So. . . . what happened in the month of December if the GWH was closed?
Winston went to Philadelphia for a week for work (again)  He will get to pay PA state and Arizona state taxes again this year (as if personal business taxes weren't complicated enough).
Jackie went to Goodyear with Tundra and Mischief and helped Winston with a little house-tidying up and went Christmas shopping.  She also went to Prescott for a couple of days to visit her Mom.  She poured over recipes and Winston got to be the taste tester for the catered dinner we put on for Bob and Alice Chew's 60th Wedding Anniversary party in Portal.  Once the recipes were nailed down, she went shopping for that event.  We did Christmas eve and Christmas day in Prescott and ambled back to Phoenix the morning after Christmas.  Jackie got really sick (most likely sinus infection) and spent a day or two on full bed rest.  We made it back to Paradise where Winston replaced the hot water fittings and steel pipe "nipples" on the little house hot water heater.  Until Scott Richins removed the little house from GWH power and got it on its own meter, the grounding was bad, and galvanic corrosion caused the steel pipe nipples to act as anodes and they were being eaten away bit by bit.  Good grounding should prevent this in the future.  We catered the Chew's anniversary party;  service for 18, Menu: Apple/Walnut/Blue Cheese blended with Field Greens and tossed with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, Pork Tenderloin with brandied cherries and Quinoa Pilaf, followed with Chocolate wedding cake for desert.  The wines we chose were Menage a' Trois, a Zin/Cab/Merlot blend and Kummala Chardonnay from South Africa.  Jackie cooked, made centerpieces, and set the table.  Winston served, washed dishes, hauled china, hauled tables and hauled chairs, but refrained from keel-hauling Jackie, and managed to put everything back in storage for the next event. Next event just may be an birthday party for in Pi Irwin's family.   Jackie also managed to go on the Christmas bird count with Melody Kehl while Winston prepped the house for the next round of guests.  When Jackie gets her camera back from Melody, we will get some Christmas pics up on the page.  To end the year, we had New Year's eve dinner at the AVA ranch near Portal.  Oh, and I nearly forgot, we bought a modern electric stove for the Walker House.  Winston hauled the old one back to Phoenix with the intent of restoring it.  We believe it might be a 1954 Frigidaire, not a 1960, '61 or '62 vintage.  Parts will take some time to find.
January is starting out chaotic and hectic (EMT calls, reservations, EMT seminars for Jackie, Telecons, review meetings and maybe more travel for Winston (who know has 320,000 frequent flyer miles on United Airlines - and that is after Jackie and her mom "zeroed" them out in 2000, he donated 40,000 US Airlines miles, and who knows how many American, Delta, TWA, Alaskan, and etc., and etc miles he has earned, lost, donated or otherwise cashed in).  If we dare look into the future, all of 2007 to come seems to have an air of chaos and element of surprises yet to come.
Another Wine Tasting at Colibri!!!!
The weekend of 1 - 3 December Bob is holding another most excellent wine tasting - come on down to the vineyard to do your Christmas shopping "at the source."

Well Shed Guard
29 November brought a cold snap - low of 8 degrees F!!!  But the weekend before was balmy with temps in the 70's and when we visited a neighbor's yard to check and set the sprinkler system, we found they had a well shed guard - a  probably two year old "baby" Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.  A cute little bugger, (only three rattles and a button) but full of venom nonetheless.  According to snake experts, young snakes are not able to control the amount of venom they inject and can deliver every ounce of venom they carry.  Older snakes will strike but not envenomate.  Maybe they can save up for a "real meal".  In any event I didn't venture too close, Jackie took the picture, and thought about relocating the snake, but he would have worked his way back into the shed, so we let him be and notified the owners to be on guard.  Maybe the critter will do some good and eat a few field mice and packrats while he is hanging out in the warm dry well shed.  (This little guy is only about 18 inces long and not more than 1/2 inch in diameter - not much bigger than a piggin' string.)

The Holiday season is here!- 11/30/2006
How much fun can one pack into @ two weeks?  Winston went off to Valley Forge for a week of "business" travel, but did make it back in time to help me with the "Fruits and Nuts" craft fair held at the Rodeo Community Center, and then came down for Thanksgiving!  Following are his compilation of the highlights:
Let's start with Thanksgiving and then go back a weekend in time to "Fun Fudge Facts" and the Craft Fair.
For Thanksgiving, we enjoyed a Turducken (Turkey stuffed with Duck, stuffed with a Hen).  It was MOST delicious.  Slivers of duck, bits of turkey and morsels of chicken were heavenly - especially when paired with 2002 Syrah expertly cellared and presented by Adam and Anya from Colibri vineyard.  Our favorite photographer, Robert Shantz, joined us, and we "cultured" him just a little.  After dinner had settled, Adam broke out his guitar, Anya grabbed the bass, and Jackie pulled out the song sheets they jammed and improvised all evening long.  Cool song of the night was a Don Edwards style version of "Whoopie Ti-Yi-Yo".  We also learned that Jackie is an underground Eagles fan - so dubbed because she listened to Eagle's songs other than "Hotel California. . . "   Anya and Adam shared stories of happy times spent at Arcosanti, the Archology project created by Paolo Soleri near Cordes Junction.  A note to Adam:  Paolo Soleri is a true genius.  His vision of an "archology" heralds the dawning of the age of  societal environmental consciousness and provides an alternative for future generations to consider as they build on all livable space from horizon to horizon.  You can see a picture of Adam at:  http://www.arcosanti.org/project/activities/agriculture/stewardship.html.

Fun Fudge Facts
What goes into 51 pounds of fudge and nut brittle?  The following table + time + recipes + perfect weather = 51+ pounds of top quality fudge.  Jackie sold out at the craft fair and received orders for another 21 pounds!  In the middle of the second order,  a very nice couple  mountain biking 'round the mountain stopped in for a rest, and they were immediately put on "quality control patrol".  Their assessment of Jackie's fudge: "Wicked Good!"  Jackie shipped orders to Tucson, Bisbee, New York, and even hand delivered orders to Portal and Rodeo.
 (Now for a secret:  Jackie will take orders.  $3.00 for a quarter pound, $10.00 for full pound.  520-558-2287.  Tell her Winston said it was ok!)


Fall Fun- 11/12/2006
My how time flies!  Winston in here for Jackie (again:)).  She has many gifts, but writing is not one of them, so here I am updating our life in Paradise.  October was quite busy.  The weekends all blur together, but we did manage to:  Haul in 1.5 cords of Oak, split another 1/4 cord of Mesquite, rescue another lost dog (Blue Tick hound that separated from the Cowboys moving' the heard north of the Grill's ranch), attend our annual Flamingo Party at the mouth of Cave Creek, have breakfast of homemade Chorizo and the best-ever wildrice pancakes at Marcia's, and finally, had a quiet birthday dinner (Jackie cooked - yum!) at the Zwiefel's.  We discussed books and movies and Garrison Keillor's "Radio Home Companion" movie is highly recommend.  Temps have been in the mid-70s during the day and low 40's at night.  Unseasonably warm and dry - but the creek is still running and no one is complaining.  We do hope for a good snow pack at the upper elevations, or we will be back in drought status next summer.  I am off to Valley Forge next week for business, while Jackie is off to New Mexico for three days with Melody Kehl.  When she gets back, she will have guests coming to the GWH, and has many fudge and pie orders to fill for the upcoming craft fair in Rodeo.  Last year she sold over 20lbs of fudge, during the holidays and expects to sell more this year.  Colibri vineyard is holding a tasting the, 17th, 18th,19th and I expect she will have a standing order for fudge from Bob.  For those wondering about reservations, We are closed for December, but January has already started to fill up, as have March, April, and May.  Make plans and get your reservations in ASAP!  I was surfing the net today and came across Manka's Inverness Inn on Tomales Bay, north of San Francisco.  As I waxed nostalgic over our brief stay at Manka's, I began to wonder if we could do something like that at the Walker House . . .http://www.mankas.com/. . . (To begin, I will have to become a much better webmeister, at a minimum!)
Jackie's Garden- 9/22/2006
Winston in for Jackie with a few "catch-up" notes. Last weekend Jackie did a wine & food pairing for a Sky Island Alliance fund raiser. The event was a success by all standards. Jackie worked with Bob Johnson from Colibri Vineyards (all wine produced and donated by Colibri Vineyards, menu and food prepared by Jackie) to arrive at the following menu for the pairing:

Roussane, a light white wine was paired with:
Rustic Goat Cheese Galette
Warm Herbed Olives (A special thank you to Debbie at the Thunderbird and 7th AJ's store for the Nicoise Olives)
Smoked Salmon Spread (Made for a most excellent brunch at East Turkey Creek the next day!)

Mourvedre (medium red with good mineral, rasberry and leather - and perhaps Colibri's best Rhone style wine) paired with:
Lamb, Fennel & Orange Phyllo "pie" (Yours truly ground the lamb by hand with a "vintage" hand grinder. . .)
Raspberry Chipotle Meatballs (Absolutely the hit of the night!)

Syrah paired with:
Pancetta & Gorgonzola Flatbread
Cinnamon Chocolate Torte

Jackie received many accolades and a very nice thank you from the Sky Island Alliance staff. Their website is: http://www.skyislandalliance.org.

I drove down last night and got in around midnight. We slept in until 08:00 and got the  weather data sent off to NOAA. Lows are in the 50's, highs in the 70's, no rain, and wind gusts up to 40 mph. We attended a memorial service for David Taylor in Whitetail Canyon. 50+ people showed up to pay their respects for a very colorful and very loved brother, friend, outdoorsman, and builder. Ted Troller, local Rancher/Realtor and long time family friend rode out with us and we learned more about area history, water rights, historical area preservation and other local "doin's". Weather is windy and cool, and everything is still GREEN. Following pics just don't do justice to the 5th wettest monsoon in the last 35 years:

"DYC" flowers in front of the
office sign.
Barbecue area above the "DYCs".
Datura seed pod - aka "Alien Transport Mechanism" - and no, no experiments with hallucinogens - hallucinogenic days are past;).
George Walker House from the driveway. Fall is my favorite time of year.

Jackie's Garden- 9/4/2006
Just a couple of pictures to show how lush the area is after another @ 1.5 inches of rain in two days!  Jackie's night shirt was hand sewn by our neighbor, Fran Zwiefel.  It is patterned after one of her Hubbie's work shirts/  
Native Morning Glories
on the Garden fence.
Jackie showing off her
Scarlet Runner beans.
Jackie surveying her jungle empire.
Jackie politely 'splainin' to Winston that am pics are a BAD thing.
Garden sprinkler.  Crookneck, Green & Grey Zuchini's, Cilantro, Turnip Greens, Turnips, Carrots and much, much more!

Montezuma Quail & RAIN - 9/2/2006
August was so busy that I thought it more expedient to share the month in pictures.  I have many more butterfly, wildflower, and fungi pics.  The hills are so green and it has been raining so much (4.79 inches in July and 6.84 inches in August) that we are reminded of the Carmel Valley.  All we need is an ocean and a few redwoods.

Other fun happenings include seeing a bear about a mile north of Paradise - he was just a yearling and scampered off up a valley.   Javelina are in the woods nightly as are Raccoons (one on the porch), and Ring-tailed cats (on the roof).  By the end of August the Hummingbird numbers have fallen off considerably, but we still have Black-chinned, Magnificent, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed female, Anna's and Blue-throated Hummers.  Bob is picking grapes as fast as he can, and Winston went out and helped pick Grenache and Mourvedre grapes.  Should be a good year for Colibri!  
White Tail Canyon after
@ 12 inches of Rain
July - August.
Montezuma Quail
They were in and out of the yard all month long.  Picture taken by Jackie through the window screen.
Bill Page took a number of excellent Nectar feeding bat pictures.
Grandpa came to visit!
Black-tailed rattlesnake - look at all those rattles!
Bobcat track - near Dave Jasper's house.

Mourvedre Grapes at Colibri Vineyards - good lookin' harvest!

MUD  - 7/30/2006
We are going through a gallon of nectar a day.  That means lots of hummingbirds.  (One benchmark is that 1 quart = 100 birds).  But we have rain! and we had to stop banding after the first hour.  I was SOOOO disappointed.  We, like the rest of Arizona, have experienced a goodly amount of rain - but no flooding here in Paradise.  Turkey creek is running, and unless you have a high clearance vehicle, you will not be able to make it through the second creek crossing south of us.  (Also known as "hippy hollow" due to the characters that camp near the crossing).  Official rainfall reported to NOAA is:  28 July - 0.520 of an inch, 29 July, 0.610 of an inch, and on Sunday, we have slow steady drizzle, and wet birds are just not fun to band - besides, our equipment and paper was getting a good soaking.  Wet graphite on wet paper is just a non-starter.  So we counted for an hour and half and the count was @ 475 birds, mostly Black-chinned, Rufous, Calliope, Broad-tailed, Magnificent, Blue-throated and maybe an Allen's or two.  We did band 17 birds before the rain hit, and one was a returnee that was banded last year as a first year hatch bird!

Pasimachus viridans LeConte  - Photo by Winston Lewis, 7/17/2006
Found on the Arizona side of the Geronimo Trail deep in the Peloncillo Mountain Range.  We started West of Animas and headed East over the trail where the Mormon battalion cut a trail in 1846 while pursuing Geronimo with Colonel Cooke.  We also saw Wild Turkeys, a Western Box Turtle, Mule Deer, Desert and Coue's White-tailed Deer, and one big, well fed, Black-tailed Rattlesnake that we moved off the road.  Coming back West on 80, we saw Pronghorns (Jackie sez:  "They are NOT antelope.", ok, so maybe Prairie Goats?) and Burrowing Owls.  We finished the day with a Picnic lunch at Idlewilde campground.  Covered a lot of Territory that day!

Photo by Jeff Wakefield, 3/28/2006
29 May 2006
Memorial Day weekend finds Winston entering a journal note for Jackie.  We updated the website this morning with new pictures of the inside of the Walker House taken by Jeff Wakefield when he stayed back in May.  Jeff is an excellent photographer and his talents really showcase the George Walker House.   I also updated the Hummingbird monitoring part of the website with a summary of banding data from the previous four years.  Overall all trend is down from when we first started, but we have established that Paradise is a Black-chin preferred area.  Nectar feeding bats have been in since mid May.  They have been emptying the hummingbird feeders, but have not yet found the jelly!

Photo by Jackie Lewis 5/13/06
18 May 2006
I actually went birding.  Barfoot Park has a spring that the birds are flocking to.  I recommend it to anyone with a high clearance vehicle.  The Lazuli Buntings have mostly gone on their way to northern breeding grounds.  We've not had any rain to speak of.  There are very few butterflies and wildflowers.  The Chiricahua Gallery had it's 20th Anniversary Show and had great new work from the artists.  I haven't been working with stained glass but hope to get to it soon.  The Juniper Titmouse is coming in more often and has been pulling nesting material.  Can't wait to see the young ones.

Photo by Jackie Lewis 4/16/06
16 April 2006
Easter weekend...not as many birders as I was expecting but enough to keep me busy.  The Bullock's Oriole came in.  Also first of year - Lark Sparrow.  The White-crowned and Chipping Sparrows are getting beautiful in their breeding plumage.  The White-throated Sparrow practically glows.  Owls calling at night here in Paradise are the Western Screech, Elf and Great Horned.  I saw a Northern Pygmy on Friday.  A couple of birders saw a Western Screech Owl with a Mexican Chickadee in it's talons near the junction 3 miles south.
13 April 2006
I cringed when Winston said he wanted me to keep a DAILY diary.   I never was good at that.  So...four days later...I'm playing "catch-up".  I actually went birding in Portal today.  My life-bird was a Gray Catbird (in a private yard).  The new birds to the yard in the past couple of days are:  Lazuli Bunting, Calliope Hummingbird, Blue & Black-headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanager and Violet-green Swallow.   We're having a very warm week.  Hopefully, we will get a break before summer decides to set in.  Highs in the low 80's and lows in the mid 30's.

09 April 2006
Today was the first banding session of the fifth year for The Hummingbird Monitoring Project.  
We knew it would be a quiet day but had ten hummingbirds with four species represented.  
Species visiting the yard today:  Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, Magnificent & Rufous Hummingbirds;
Green-tailed & Canyon Towhee; Acorn Woodpecker; Mexican Jay; White-breasted Nuthatch;
Painted Redstart; Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler; White-crowned, Chipping, Brewer's,
Lincoln's & White-throated Sparrow; White-winged & Mourning Dove; Cassin's Kingbird;
Dark-eyed (Gray-headed & Pink-sided) Junco, Yellow-eyed Junco; Ruby-crowned Kinglet;
Hutton's Vireo; Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker; Turkey Vulture; Bridled & Juniper Titmouse;
Mexican Chickadee; Cedar Waxwing; Scott's & Hooded Oriole; Pine Siskin, Lesser Goldfinch.    
Last night the Elf Owl was talking back to me.  Great Horned & Western Screech Owls
serenaded our bander all night long.  At 3:00 am the White-winged Doves joined the night-bird chorus...apparently
fooled by the moon into thinking it was dawn.