Search Results for "Canyon Wren"

  • Bird of the Month: Canyon Wren

    By Peter Pierson You could be on a predawn start down the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Or you could be weaving through most any rock labyrinth in the Southwest. Regardless, you can’t see beyond the beam of your headlamp, but you can hear the first Canyon Wren’s cascading, whirring whistle tumble down from above. The song paints a precise picture of the stratified sedimentary cliffs and calls your attention to every detail cast in rising sun. Indeed, there are places that seem to be defined by the song or call of a particular bird. Or perhaps it’s the bird whose song comes to define the place. … To many, the song of the Canyon Wren is more familiar than the bird itself. At home in rocky cliffs and canyon lands of the arid West, you might catch a glimpse of it hunting for insects among rock crevices. Although the Canyon Wren can be distinguished from the similar Rock Wren by its white throat and reddish-barred tail, the best way to identify the Canyon Wren from any distance may be to simply close your eyes and listen for its distinct song. In Prescott, Canyon Wrens can be found in drier rock formations and mountainsides including the high desert edge of the Sonoran ecosystem to the south and west, and occasionally among the Granite Dells. For the more ambitious, a

  • News From the Wilds: June 2017

    Jun 2, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris June can be a pretty tough time in the Mogollon Highlands of central Arizona. It is reliably the driest month of the year, with nearly 2 out of 5 years receiving no precipitation at all, and most others receiving only the most minute amounts. If there is any rain, it comes at the end of the month with the first of the monsoonal storms. In fact, the drought of June is critical in bringing about the rains of July, because as the hot, dry air in the Sonoran Desert and the Interior West rises it draws the moist, humid air from the Sea of Cortez northward into our region. Whenever these wet air masses enter our area from the south they bring the possibility of rain, but without the heat that accumulates this month the rain will not fall. But it is possible to observe this large-scale, regional climatic pattern evolve by watching the movement and development of the different cloud species as they move across our skies — a pursuit known as cloudspotting. June mornings tend to dawn clear and bright, but especially toward the end of the month, cumulus clouds appear and begin to build in the hot afternoons. These clouds may start as relatively small Cumulus humulis, wider than they are tall and uniformly white, and then turn to Cumulus mediocris, as tall as

  • New From the Wilds: June 2016

    Jun 3, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris June can be a pretty tough time in the Mogollon Highlands of central Arizona. It’s reliably the driest month of the year, with nearly two out of five years receiving no precipitation at all, and most others receiving only the most minute amounts. If there is any rain, it comes at the end of the month with the first of the monsoonal storms. In fact, the drought of June is critical in bringing about the rains of July, because as the hot, dry air in the Sonoran Desert and the Interior West rises it draws the moist, humid air from the Sea of Cortez to our region. Whenever these wet air masses enter our area from the south they bring the possibility of rain, but without the heat that accumulates this month the rain will not fall. But it is possible to observe this large-scale, regional climatic pattern evolve by watching the movement and development of the different cloud species as they move across our skies — a pursuit known as cloudspotting. June mornings tend to dawn clear and bright, but especially toward the end of the month, cumulus clouds appear and begin to build in the hot afternoons. These clouds may start as relatively small Cumulus humulis, wider than they are tall and uniformly white, and then turn to Cumulus mediocris, as tall as they are

  • News From the Wilds: March 2016

    Mar 4, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris March is an alluring but ultimately deceptive month in the Mogollon Highlands. Glorious sunny days abound, glittering with butterflies and migrant songbirds, and highlighted with the earliest wildflowers and luminescent leaves. But March is also one of our wettest months of the year, and most of that moisture comes in the form of snow. Large storm systems over the Pacific Ocean throw off snow storms that sweep into our area from the north, dropping anywhere from inches to feet of snow, and bringing us firmly back into winter. Because of its trickster nature, March one of the more dangerous times for the creatures in the wilds. Many mammals are bearing young now, some insects are emerging from creeks and pupae as winged adults, and birds are making nests or migrating back into the area from the tropics. The dramatic cold snaps can therefore cause many of these species severe temperature and food stress, and sometimes lead to their deaths. In spite of the warm temperatures and sunny days, most of the native plants of the Highlands, with the exception of the wind-pollinated trees, refrain from growing and flowering. They’ll wait until the days are reliably warm and frost-free — each species determining this through a unique combination of day-length, soil temperature, the number of accumulated days of cold, and other cues. Non-native plants, such as fruit trees

  • If you build it … : Happy Oasis brings Heaven on Earth to Prescott

    Nov 6, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, Feature3,198 CommentsRead More »

    By Robert Blood [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and Happy Oasis, owner of Heaven on Earth, a nature sanctuary in the Granite Dells. Visit HappyOasis.Com to find out more.]   Tell us about Heaven on Earth. It’s Prescott’s newest wildlife sanctuary. It’s not only a private sanctuary for wildlife, but also for the wild life inside us. The idea is to bring out and enhance our communication with nature and eco-conscious living. There are gardens with edible plants mixed in with wild flowers — all of which are friendly to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds — as well as dozens of fruit trees. Heaven on Earth is surrounded by thousands of acres of what should have been a national park. My beloved John and I feel as if we’re the caretakers — not just of our home here, but of these gorgeous Granite Dells, as well. Heaven on Earth is surrounded by a network of trails that traverse some of the most spectacular scenery in Arizona. Part of that is city of Prescott designated Open Space. The trail system behind our home is called the Granite Gardens Trails. I envisioned these trails before I suggested to the developer that he sell and donate the trail land to the city. The trails were brilliantly designed by Chris Hoskins and built by his Over the Hill

  • News From the Wilds: June 2015

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds2,668 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris June, in most years, can be a pretty tough time in the Central Highlands. It is reliably the driest month, with nearly two out of five years receiving no precipitation at all, and most others receiving only the most minute amounts. If there is any rain, it comes at the end of the month with the first of the monsoonal storms. In fact, the drought of June is critical in bringing the rains of July, as the hot, dry air in the Sonoran Desert and the Interior West rises and draws the moist, humid air from the Sea of Cortez to our region. This regional climatic pattern is observable locally in the movement and development of different cloud species. June mornings tend to dawn clear and bright, but especially toward the end of the month, cumulus clouds appear and build in the hot afternoons. These clouds may start as relatively small Cumulus humulis, wider than they are tall, and uniformly white, and then turn to Cumulus mediocris, as tall as they are wide, and with gray bases, and eventually to towering, 30,000-foot-tall Cumulus congestus storm clouds. It is only this last species that brings with it the most precious of all resources in the high desert — water. And with those first, massive raindrops the quiescent, drought-stressed landscape begins its strident reawakening. Until that time, however, the

  • News From the Wilds: June 2014

    May 30, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds20 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris June can be a pretty tough time in the Central Highlands. It is reliably the driest month of the year, with nearly two out of five years receiving no precipitation at all, and most others receiving only the most minute amounts. If there is any rain, it comes at the end of the month with the first of the monsoonal storms. The drought of June is, in fact, critical in bringing the rains of July, as the hot, dry air in the Sonoran Desert and the Interior West rises and draws the moist, humid air from the Sea of Cortez to this region. Over the course of the month, you can observe these storms building in the Central Highlands via the appearance of different species of clouds. June mornings tend to dawn clear and bright, but, especially toward the end of the month, cumulus clouds appear and build in the hot afternoons. These clouds may start as relatively small Cumulus humulis, wider than they are tall, and uniformly white, and then turn to Cumulus mediocris, as tall as they are wide, and with gray bases, and eventually to towering, 30,000-foot-tall Cumulus congestus storm clouds. This is the moment many residents of the Central Highlands — animal, plant, fungus, and even bacteria — wait for. And when the first massive raindrops fall, the whole of our human and

  • News From the Wilds: June

    May 30, 13 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds12 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris June mornings tend to dawn clear and bright but, especially toward the end of the month, cumulus clouds build in the hot afternoons. These clouds may start as relatively small Cumulus humulis clouds, wider than they are tall and uniformly white, then turn into Cumulus mediocris, as tall as they are wide and with gray bases, and then eventually turn into towering, 30,000-foot-tall Cumulus congestus storm clouds. This is the moment many residents of the Central Highlands, animal, plant, fungus, and even bacteria, wait for. And, when the first massive rain falls, our entire community, human and non-human, celebrates. Until that time, however, the wilds remain very dry. Most Prescott area creeks don’t flow at all, though perennial streams, such as Beaver, Clear, Fossil, Sycamore, the Verde, and the Agua Fria, continue running. These few wet Central Highlands areas burgeon with life. Now is the time to see spectacular migrant birds, including tanagers and orioles, returning from the south. Other species, such as Mule Deer and Abert’s Squirrels, give birth in anticipation of the coming time of plenty when the rains fall. ***** A brief survey of the wilds … High mountains • Butterflies proliferate at high altitudes. Look for metalmarks, blues, and admirals. • Raccoon mating season begins, often punctuated with noisy crepuscular screams and barks. • Silverstem Lupine (Lupinus argenteus), with its tall, lilac flower

  • ‘Everything’s Hometown’: Winging it with nature in Prescott

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    The author in a Tuareg headdress. Courtesy photo. By Alan Dean Foster We’ve lived in Prescott for 36 years and I still take the local nature for granted. It’s amazing how downright blasé you can become over time about such things. It’s usually when we have visitors from out of town, often from metropolitan areas where the only real wildlife tends to hang around liquor stores, that I realize how fortunate we are, and how each of us really needs to take time from work and commuting and the damn TV and the addictive internet to get out and have a look around town for something besides the weekly arts and crafts festival. We’re doubly fortunate because our house backs onto one of the several major creeks that run through town. That gives us access not only to more wildlife but to a greater variety of visitors, as critters that tend to hang out elsewhere come down for the occasional drink. There’s the rare bobcat, and deer, and skunks. We had a bear once, a long time ago, and of course coyotes and javelinas are a steady presence. But to get a real feel for Prescott city wildlife you have to pay attention to the birds. I’m not going to turn this into a birdwatcher column. For one thing, there are better local resources available and for another, I’d probably

  • Bird of the Month: November 2014

    By Micah Riegner Wander through the creeks of Prescott in the fall and winter and, with luck, you might find a Pacific Wren skulking through the dense streamside vegetation. Often, these diminutive mouse-like birds are tricky to see.  But if you’re still and patient, they’ll come quite close and grant incredibly rewarding views. Pacific Wrens favor creeks and shaded canyons in closed conifer forests where they skulk among fallen logs, cattails, root tangles, and brush piles. They primarily feed on insects and spiders, but occasionally eat earthworms. They are resident throughout the Northwest, but in the winter a few trickle down into the canyons of Arizona. It’s hard to believe that a bird that spends the majority of its life hopping through dead leaves and whose wingspan is scarcely 5.5 inches can migrate any significant distance, but every winter, several show up in the Prescott area. Check for them behind the Watson Lake and Willow Lake dams, around Granite Basin Lake, and along the creeks in the Bradshaws. In 2010, ornithologists who work on taxonomy (the study of classification — in this case birds) split the Pacific Wren from the Winter Wren based on genetic, vocal, and plumage differences. The Pacific Wren is found west of the Rockies, and the Winter Wren extends to the east. Pacific Wrens differ from Winter Wrens by their darker, richer brown plumage on the

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