Search Results for "ainted redstart"

  • Painted Redstart

    By Karen O’Neil The Painted Redstart is arguably one of the most beautiful birds found in the U.S. It is one of 51 wood-warblers found in the country, and its range here is restricted to the Pine-oak forests in the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and southwestern Texas. In the U.S., it is a migrant (meaning it comes here to breed), but it is a resident in similar habitat in the mountains of Mexico. It usually arrives in early April and returns to Mexico by early September. The Painted Redstart is 5.5 inches long, black with a bright red breast and belly, large white wing-patches, and white under-tail feathers. It also has white lower-eye crescents. Both sexes look the same, but the juveniles have black, not red, breasts and bellies. You could call the Painted Redstart a show-off. While foraging for insects through pine and oak trees, it constantly turns this way and that, flashing it white wing and tail patches. And, it forages from the ground to the tree-tops. It may also hover briefly. They have also been reported at hummingbird feeders. During courtship (from late April into May), both males and females sing an unusually loud song that can ring through the forest. Roger Tory Peterson described it as “weeta, weeta, weeta, chilp, chilp, chilp” (or sometimes a shorter version of same). Its nest is hidden on slopes

  • News from the Wilds: May 2017

    Apr 28, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris May is the great turning of spring to summer in the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona. Winter is firmly past, and the seasonal creeks usually run with the very last percolating snowmelt while extraordinary flowers abound. But May is also the beginning of the dry season, as regional climate patterns shift, and the winter storms that had been flung off of large storm systems over the Pacific are replaced by northering warm, wet air masses from the Sea of Cortez. Eventually these air masses will mature into the titanic cumulonimbus and torrential rains of our summer monsoon, but they are fueled by heat, which will not build sufficiently until late June. We are lucky enough to have not one, but two distinct flowering seasons per year — our first great flowering happens this month, while the other great flowering is after the monsoon rains of mid-summer. Interestingly, many of our flowering plant species are unique to one or the other period. This bimodal flowering season is matched by peaks in activity in our animal species, as well. Insect activity follows flowering very closely, as insects either pollinate flowers or disperse the seeds that result from that pollination. The peak in bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian activity follows shortly after insects, as insects constitute much of the diets of these animals. Because of this, the diversity of species and

  • News From the Wilds: September 2016

    Aug 26, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris September glows in golden light, rich with scents of late summer — its sunrises are heady with the fragrance of white Sacred Datura flowers, fading into the noontime butterscotch of sun-warmed Ponderosas, and then into the dusk sweetness of bricklebush. In much of North America, September marks the beginning of the colder part of the year, with last harvests and cold nights. But in the lower latitudes, such as the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona, September is still summer, though with hints and foreshadowings of autumn. The monsoon rains usually continue into the early part of the month, tapering off eventually into glorious sunny days with extraordinary flowering of purple four-o-clocks, asters, and morning-glories, red penstemons and Scarlet Creeper, yellow sunflowers and daisies, and the tall, strange tree-like Wright’s Thelypody (Thelypodium wrightii), with its white flowers. Insect diversity, too, continues to grow and change, with some of the largest insects of the year making their debut. Look for the large brown Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes jamaicensis), the Great Ash Sphinx Moth (Sphinx chersis), and the gigantic leaf-mimic katydids of the genus Microcentrum, as well as the harmless (though somewhat alarming) Giant Crab Spider (Olios giganteus), which is often seen in houses as temperatures fall outside. It is in this time of extraordinary plenty that many creatures begin to prepare for the coming cold season. Most of our woody plants

  • News From the Wilds: May 2016

    May 6, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris May is the great turning of spring to summer in the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona. Winter is firmly past, and the seasonal creeks usually run with the very last percolating snowmelt, while extraordinary flowers abound. But May is also the beginning of the dry season, as regional climate patterns shift, and the winter storms that had been flung off of large storm systems over the Pacific are replaced by northering warm, wet air masses from the Sea of Cortez. Eventually, these air masses will mature into the titanic cumulonimbus and torrential rains of our summer monsoon, but they are fueled by heat, which will not build sufficiently until late June. We are lucky enough to have not one, but two distinct flowering seasons per year— our first great flowering happens this month, while the other great flowering is after the monsoon rains of mid-summer. Interestingly, many of our flowering plant species are unique to one or the other period. This bimodal flowering season is matched by peaks in activity in our animal species, as well. Insect activity follows flowering very closely, as insects either pollinate flowers or disperse the seeds that result from that pollination. The peak in bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian activity follows shortly after insects, as insects constitute much of the diets of these animals. Because of this, the diversity of species and behaviors

  • News From the Wilds: May 2015

    May 1, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds2,090 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris May is the great turning of spring to summer in the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona. Winter is firmly past, and the seasonal creeks usually run with the last percolating snowmelt, while extraordinary flowers abound. But May is also the beginning of the dry season, as regional climate patterns shift, and the winter storms that had been flung off of large storm systems over the Pacific are replaced by northering warm, wet air masses from the Sea of Cortez. Eventually these air masses will mature into the titanic cumulonimbus and torrential rains of our summer monsoon, but they are fueled by heat, which will not build sufficiently until late June. We are lucky enough to have not one, but two distinct flowering seasons per year — our first great flowering happens this month, while the other great flowering is after the monsoon rains of mid-summer. Interestingly, many of our flowering plant species are unique to one or the other period. This bimodal flowering season is matched by peaks in activity in our animal species, as well. Insect activity follows flowering very closely, as insects either pollinate flowers or disperse the seeds that result from that pollination. The peak in bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian activity follows shortly after insects, as insects constitute much of the diets of these animals. Because of this, the diversity of species and behaviors

  • News From the Wilds: May 2014

    May 2, 14 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds18 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris In the Central Highlands of Arizona we’re lucky enough to have not one, but two distinct flowering seasons per year. The first great flowering happens this month, fueled by melting snow and percolating water of the winter. The other great flowering is after the monsoon rains of mid-summer. Interestingly, many of our flowering plant species are unique to one or the other period. This bimodal flowering season is matched by peaks in activity in our animal species, as well. Insect activity follows flowering very closely in most of the world, as insects either pollinate flowers or disperse the seeds that result from that pollination. The peak in bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian activity follows shortly after insects, as insects constitute much of the diets of these animals. Because of this, the diversity of species and behaviors that can be seen by the observant naturalist is nearly bewildering. More new groups of insects emerge day by day — look especially for the first damselflies of the season, flying near water like little graceful dragonflies, blue and iridescent red. New butterflies continue to appear, such as the metalmarks, snouts, checkerspots, skippers, and buckeyes. The most conspicuous of all, though, is the glorious Two-tailed Swallowtail butterfly — the flagship of the season, with nearly a 5-inch wingspan. In drier years such as this, plant and animal activity seems to be

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