Search Results for "black hawk"

  • Common Black Hawk

    By Farrish Sharon Despite its name, the Common Black Hawk species is uncommon in the United States and is almost exclusively found in Arizona. The species migrates short to moderate distances from the wintering sites in Mexico to its breeding areas in Arizona. The Common Black Hawk can be reliably seen during migration in Southeast Arizona beginning in mid-March. The birds follow the Santa Cruz River north to find breeding sites in various riparian areas. Prescott is fortunate again this year to have a breeding pair in the Watson Woods Riparian Area. Other than being an urban environment which is an unusual choice for this usually reclusive species, Watson Woods represents the Common Black Hawk’s ideal summer habitat of an arid hot region with permanently flowing shallow streams. They prefer semi-open areas with a gallery of mature cottonwood or sycamore trees where they construct a nest of sticks. This species perches on branches and rocks near the ground and mostly feeds on small fish, amphibians and reptiles. Unlike other hawk species, you will not see the Common Black Hawk on utility poles and wires along highways. The Common Black Hawk has a loud, high pitched call that can sound like a laugh and is similar to some calls of the Bald Eagle. It is highly vocal during the breeding season. The Common Black Hawk, in addition to being black has

  • Lesser Nighthawk

    By DeeDee DeLorenzo Each spring, the arrival of the Lesser Nighthawk from its wintering grounds in northwestern and central Mexico to northern South America is a sure sign that summer’s just around the corner. They begin arriving between the first part of March and early May with the largest number showing up in April. It’s a summer resident in the western and southern part of Arizona and remains here until heading south and out of the country between early August and late October. The Lesser Nighthawk is the bird you see swooping around the lights in the Safeway parking lot or Little League ball field chasing flying insects at dusk. When there are young to feed, it may also be observed flying high over a field in the morning hours gathering prey. Its flight is a bit erratic as it flaps and then glides, flaps and then glides, tipping from one side to the other. About all you can see of this grayish-brown bird in the growing darkness are two white or buff-y oval patches near the tips of its wings. If you manage to find a Lesser Nighthawk in the day, you’ll see that their upper side is actually mottled black, grayish white, or buff. To differentiate the sexes look at the “cut” across the throat – the male’s throat is white and the female’s and immature’s are buffy-colored

  • 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

  • News from the Wilds: April 2017

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris April arrives in a thunderous proliferation of life — a raucous, enlivening yawp in the Wilds after the long quiet of winter. Snowstorms are an increasingly remote possibility, and the majority of the month is sunny and warm, with butterflies, returning migratory birds, native bees, growing and flowering plants, and mammals in the thrall of mating and bearing young. There is more activity in the natural world than can be easily followed, and the flowering of plants, emergence of insects, return of migrant birds and bats, and the appearance of mammalian young all begin now. The verdant wave of spring swells up from the deserts along south and western facing slopes and riparian corridors, as the new leaves of riverside trees unfurl and the earliest flowers unclasp. These first flowers provide nectar and pollen for butterflies, solitary bees, flies and damselflies that are looking to find mates and lay eggs. Many species of mammals are giving birth, as are the Beavers and Porcupines, while the young of other species, such as the Black Bears, are emerging from their dens and beginning the long process of learning to forage and navigate their landscapes, preying on these early insects and plants. The wave of spring migration gains in volume through April, as the murmurs of the first swallows and bats trickling quietly northward along the creeks grows into a

  • News from the Wilds: March 2017

    Feb 27, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris March is an alluring month in the Mogollon Highlands, but ultimately a deceptive one. 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 will 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,

  • 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: April 2016

    Apr 1, 16 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris April arrives in a thunderous proliferation of life — a raucous, enlivening yawp in the wilds after the long quiet of winter. Snowstorms are an increasingly remote possibility, and the majority of the month is sunny and warm, with butterflies, returning migratory birds, native bees, growing and flowering plants, and mammals in the thrall of mating and bearing young. There is more activity in the natural world than can be easily followed, and the flowering of plants, emergence of insects, return of migrant birds and bats, and the appearance of mammalian young all begin now. The verdant wave of spring swells up from the deserts along south and western facing slopes and riparian corridors, as the new leaves of riverside trees unfurl and the earliest flowers unclasp. These first flowers provide nectar and pollen for butterflies, solitary bees, flies and damselflies that are looking to find mates and lay eggs. Many species of mammals are giving birth, as are the Beavers and Porcupines, while the young of other species, such as the Black Bears, are emerging from their dens and beginning the long process of learning to forage and navigate their landscapes, preying on these early insects and plants. The wave of spring migration gains in volume through April, as the murmurs of the first swallows and bats trickling quietly northward along the creeks grows into a

  • 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

  • News From the Wilds: June 2015

    Jun 5, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds2,533 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: April 2015

    Apr 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the Wilds2,699 CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris April arrives in a thunderous proliferation of life, a raucous, enlivening yawp in the wilds after the long quiet of winter. While snowstorms are still a remote possibility, the majority of the month is sunny and warm, with butterflies, returning migratory birds, native bees, growing and flowering plants, and mammals in the thrall of mating and bearing young. There is more activity in the natural world than can be easily followed, and the flowering of plants, emergence of insects, return of migrant birds and bats, and the appearance of mammalian young all typically follow a somewhat regular schedule. This year, however, that schedule is moved somewhat earlier. This past winter was the single warmest in Prescott’s recorded history, and this meant that the roughly 7” of precipitation that fell came in the form of rain, some of which ran off in the largest floods that our rivers and creeks have seen in over a decade. On March 3, Oak Creek ran at over 8,000 cubic feet per second, or 240 times its base flow, while the Verde River near Camp Verde ran at over 20,000 cfs, 120 times its base flow. When water moves through our landscape this rapidly, and in these types of torrents, much of it is essentially useless to plants and animals, and doesn’t recharge aquifers, so it is only the smallest percentage of

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