Our 14-day ‘Northern Tanzania Wildlife Safari’ ended on Sept. 5. Leaving our group, Gayla and I transferred to a different safari vehicle with a new driver and a birding guide.
Arriving in Serengeti National Park, we spent our first night at a tented camp — Embalakai Authentic Camp. I did not realize that all of our camps would be open — they were not inside a fenced enclosure.
We just wrapped up our first full week here in Tanzania. Our travels have been both fruitful and fulfilling. There are eight participants in our group, and we are divided into a ‘photography’ group in one safari vehicle and a ‘birder’ group in another safari vehicle.
As crazy as it sounds (it is hard for even me to believe,) I am in Tanzania right now! Gayla and I flew here late last week to join Prescott resident, Walt Anderson, a naturalist, photographer, artist and former professor at Prescott College. We have only been here a few days, and, so far, it has been magical!
Our summer monsoons have been such a blessing. However, sometimes our blessings can also result in challenges. What kinds of challenges can an abundance of rain bring? Weeds — and lots of them!
Over the last two weeks, I have been on two really enjoyable trips. The first was a driving trip from Prescott to southwestern Colorado, about 15 miles north of Dolores. What an absolutely beautiful area — it was so green, and there was water everywhere!!
I love the month of August. Growing up as a child in Tucson I always loved the summer monsoon season. This year’s monsoon is certainly off to a good start — so far, we have received 5.10 inches of rain at our home!
I have been thoroughly enjoying our summer monsoon rains. I find myself being somewhat envious of other parts of town that seem to be getting more rain than we are at our home. There have been many times when I have seen how dark the sky is to the east of us, and I just know we’re going to get a good soaking, only to see the storm move north and west of us!
Years ago, we bought a spec home off of Rosser. We were very fortunate, as the developer of our home carefully cleared a pad just large enough for our home, and retained much of the native habitat, including several large alligator junipers, pinyon pine, scrub oak, and ponderosa pine trees.
During breeding season, wild birds gravitate to their preferred habitat. For example, species such as blue grosbeaks and Bullock’s orioles typically nest in a riparian habitat, and white-breasted nuthatches typically nest in a coniferous forest.
I had two unusual experiences this past week with wild birds that decided an open door was an open invitation to come inside!
One of the beautiful things about living in Prescott is that you don’t have to go very far to get out into nature — you can even be right in town.
This past Saturday, as I was spending time out in my yard doing yardwork, I was visiting with my next-door neighbor. I hate to admit it, but as I was engrossed in conversation, I was somewhat oblivious to the sounds of nature—which is not like me.
Each year I donate a ‘Bird Walk with Eric Moore’ to the Highland Center for Natural History’s ‘Wander the Wild’ fundraising event in the fall.
Over the last two weeks, I’ve had several opportunities to be a bird guide — both for private parties as well as for Jay’s Bird Barn.
Did you know that the second Saturday of May each year is designated as World Migratory Bird Day?
Recently, on a Jay’s Bird Barn-sponsored guided bird walk, I discovered a hummingbird nest under construction.
Today is Earth Day, a day dedicated to protecting and preserving our world.
Spring migration is in full swing, and nowhere is this more evident than at our local lakes.
I categorize our customers into groups—field birders and casual, backyard birders.
Earlier this week, my wife and I went on a walk in Watson Woods.
Interestingly, our store is situated between two cemeteries. Directly behind the back of our store is the Arizona Pioneers’ Home Cemetery, and across the street from us is the Mountain View Cemetery. ...
I, for one, am hopeful for a more ‘normal’ non-COVID life in 2021, and see the return of some annual events such as the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival as a sign that things are starting to look up.
Over the years I’ve written on several occasions about the ravens that nest in our yard each year. While we live right in town, just off of Rosser Street, we are blessed to have a giant ponderosa pine tree in our yard, which is not a common tree in my neighborhood.
This past Saturday I wanted to go birding, but I kind of struggled deciding where I would go, as I was hoping to add “new” birds to my state year list.
One of the guidelines for participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count is that you can bird anywhere — you are not restricted to just counting the birds you see in your yard.
I had an experience this past week that really touched me. A woman, probably in her 70s, came into the store and said she wanted to buy a pair of binoculars for herself. She mentioned she’d been on a few of our free bird walks and she wanted to get into birding.
A few weeks ago, a customer came up with a unique way to thank me and my store manager, Ryan, for a kindness we had shown him.
The weather this past week has been simply amazing. To go from virtually no precipitation for months and months to being buried by more than 20 inches of snow — depending where you live — has been both wonderful and dreadful.
If you were to ask me, “What is your favorite birding destination in the Phoenix metropolitan area?”
Over the last few weeks I have heard a few reports of individuals finding deceased pine siskins at their feeders.
As the owner of a backyard wild bird and nature store, I hear a lot of “bird reports” from customers, such as, “I just saw a crane out at Willow Lake!”
This year, more than ever, I have done a lot of traveling and bird watching within the state of Arizona.
Last Wednesday was the Prescott Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count. For the last 20 years or so my assigned area has been Granite Basin, which is a large area geographically.
I work at the Jay’s Bird Barn store in Flagstaff every week, which provides me an opportunity to do some bird watching when I am there.
I didn’t have much down time between my trip to Texas two weeks ago and the trip my wife and I made to help our son, Merritt, and his family move to Oklahoma last week. We drove the moving truck from Prescott out to Oklahoma and back this past week, and it was a lot of sitting (2,100 miles)!
A significant event occurred in my life 55 years ago this week.
Four years ago, in partnership with the Highlands Center for Natural History, Jay’s Bird Barn produced a local bird identification guide titled ‘Sibley’s Birds of the Arizona Central Highlands.’
I was at the Jay’s Bird Barn store in Flagstaff earlier this week.
I led a Jay’s Bird Barn-sponsored bird walk to Watson Woods and Watson Lake this past Saturday. Before meeting up with the group, I spent some time birding at the wastewater treatment plant on Sundog Ranch Road, south of Prescott Lakes Parkway.
Earlier this spring, and even persisting into early summer, customers were lamenting that they either didn’t have any lesser goldfinches or that they were seeing fewer than they had last year. Having been a birder for so long, I take these comments somewhat casually, as I know finch numbers increase throughout the summer months just as the hummingbird numbers do.
If there is anything 2020 has taught us this year, it is the need for resilience. Life can change quickly. There is so much that we lack ‘control’ over. Ultimately, what matters is our ability to adapt to change and to remain hopeful and cheerful when things are challenging.
Each day, I receive rare-bird email alerts through eBird. I enjoy looking through the emails each day to see what other people are finding around the state. I don’t typically drop everything and chase rare birds…but sometimes, the temptation is just too great.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve gone bird watching at Granite Basin a couple of times. The level of bird activity has been off the charts, particularly in the area west of the lake.