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Monthly Archives: May 2018

It’s been a while since I posted anything about our spring trip to the southwest. In the intervening weeks something happened to both of my hard drives on my computer. So I was without a computer for over two weeks. The doctor was able to resurrect the data from drive C which contained all of my programs and some of my data. Drive D was too far gone to restore the any data. Unfortunately this drive contained all of my photos from the last 15 years. Fortunately I have a couple of backups of this data and was able to restore drive D. So with everything working again I started going through my photographs. In my last post from the trip we had just stopped at El Malpais National Monument and were heading to El Morro National Monument. We discovered that the trail in El Morro closed at 4pm so we had to move quickly so we could take a couple of hikes.

More photos from El Morro can be found on my website.

We started out on the Inscription Rock trail. This trail follows along the base of a rock where visitors to the area placed their version of graffiti. This is a relatively short trail although it takes quite a while to hike it given all of the inscriptions to read. the Park provides a nice guide so you can follow inscriptions and also get a bit of the history behind them.

The Inscriptions Rock Trail soon turns into the Headland Trail. This trail goes around to back side of the rock formation and then weaves its way to the top. The cacti were still red and just starting to green up. At the top of the rock the trail was marked with cairns. There were some spectacular views from the Headlands Trail.


As we crossed the top of the rock formation we encountered Atsinna.  Atsinna, or “place of writings on rock”. Between approximately 1275 to 1350 AD, up to 1500 people lived in this 875 room pueblo. The location was strategic—it was near the only water source for many miles and located atop a nearly impenetrable bluff. Atsinna was partially excavated in the 1950s and masons and archeologists continue to work towards its stabilization.

It was a beautiful day and we quickly lost track of time as we wandered along the top of the rock. We almost forgot that we had to be off the trail by 4pm. We made it down with about 10 minutes to spare.


I watched as a Grey Catbird landed in the bird bath. There seemed to be some indecision as to weather it would take a bath or not. It finally dipped its head in to test the water before being fully committed.


So far this year I’ve had Baltimore and Orchard Orioles at my grape jelly feeder. There is also a pair of Grey Catbirds nesting near the feeder and they also like the jelly. The occasional Rose-breasted Grosbeaks also stop at the jelly feeder. The Orioles are not happy when other birds are feeding at “their” feeder.

Baltimore Orioles

Orchard Oriole

Grey Catbird

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

It has been a strange year. Normally the orioles, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds all turn up at my feeders at the same time. This year the Rose-breasted Grosbeaks turned up and it wasn’t until a couple of weeks later that the Baltimore Orioles turned up. The next week the hummingbirds turned up. The males of the species always turn up first and withing a week the females turn up. The Baltimore Orioles far outnumber the Orchard Orioles.

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Orchard Oriole

Orchard Oriole

Indigo Buntings live down in the valley and I see them throughout the summer. However, they rarely visit my feeders. This fellow spent several days around the feeder before moving on.


This little fellow hit my window last week. I kept an eye on him and finally went out to take a few photos and get him moving. He perked up after I picked him up and stroked his head. This isn’t a bird I see normally seed around the farm. It is an Ovenbird. I think it was just passing through.

This Nashville Warbler was also just passing through. It was just around for a day before moving on.


Large-flowered Bellwort

Spring Beauty

Yellow Violet

Large-flowered Trillium


Common Blue Violet


It was raining our so I decided to stick around home and photograph the birds that were showing up to my feeders.

American Goldfinches

Baltimore Oriole

Chipping Sparrow

Northern Cardinal

A walk through the wetlands area turned up quite a few things to photograph. One of my favorite subjects in the spring is backlit leaves.

There were a variety of birds in and around the ponds. This year the Canada Geese only had three goslings.

Mallard Duck

Belted Kingfisher

Canada Geese

Tree Swallow

The fruit trees were in bloom.

Spring Blooms

Pond Reflections are always a good choice.

Pond Reflections

It has become somewhat of a tradition that we drive down to Perrott State Park and Hike and have dinner at a local Restaurant. It gives us a chance to enjoy the spring flowers. They were really blooming this year. These are only a few of the flowers we found along the trail. Since our last visit the trail to Brady’s Bluff, has been moved and it now goes through vast fields of Shooting Stars.

More photos from Perrot can be found on my website.

Shooting Star

Rue Anemone

Large-flowered Bellwort





Walking around Hoffman Hills we noticed these flowers were blooming.

Prairie Smoke


There were quite a few birds around.

Belted Kingfisher


Eastern Bluebirds

Tree Swallow

Canada Geese Goslings

As we were leaving a Muskrat swam by.