Cascabel Creature Reports

November 2, 2009 (Tom Orum): Jimmy McPherson, Nancy and I spotted a bobcat at the Mason fields on Sunday, November 1st. He was crossing the interior drive out of field 2 heading for the county road. Also, Nancy adds that there were a bunch of mountain bluebirds hanging around the side rollers in field 1 at Mason’s. We enjoyed seeing them as we were getting ready to irrigate Sunday around 1:00 PM.

September 27, 2009 (Daniel Baker): Friends, As I have told the few that questioned but that was not made clear, the vultures have clearly not all left the valley. I was noting that usually i see at least a dozen of them in the Yellow Cliffs area of HSC, but saw none that day, nor Common Black Hawks either. We have seen them congregating at various times and places. Perhaps they leave in shifts, perhaps they were just off elsewhere that day.

I enjoy the exchange of natural sitings and the delight experienced therein. I mentioned to Bob that perhaps we should have some kind of community log for such stuff where interested folks could easily contribute. The falcon event Woody and Bob relayed is very exciting and glad for the sharing.

September 26, 2009 (Woody Hume): We still (as of last night) have a pretty good-sized glower of vultures coming to roost in riverside trees with snags just south of Heaven Sent's new crossing to the old buffalo ranch, and also a few (as usual) in the snags above Kelsey Wash. Something tells me they're not there tonight, but today there were a bunch in the dead mesquite above the home corrals that may have been gathering to go. Sigh ... I was delighted to see them punctuating the sky when they returned last spring, some may imagine happiness at seeing vultures to be certifiable. We've had all summer--and it was among those at the corral today--one that has a white rump, pretty spiffy for a zopilote I'd say.

Don't know how the falcon picking the large bat out of the air at dusk (seen by Bob and me a few nights ago) will be beaten as a natural spectacle, but there have been other beautiful bird experiences in the last week. The most colorful was a Western Kingbird I watched at close range dart out and snap up a red-winged grasshopper, fly back to the wire and sit there with those bright red insect wings spreading out from either side of its bill. Small, but splendid.

September 25, 2009 (Bob Evans): I saw several vultures yesterday, so a few are still around.

This past Wednesday, as I was driving into Benson, I observed a Swainson's Hawk acting aggressively toward a Turkey Vulture. The hawk dived on the vulture several times, and flew in from behind and above and pecked at the vulture's head. I have not seen this kind of behavior before. Has anyone else observed any bird acting aggressively toward a vulture?

September 22, 2009 (Daniel Baker): Hi Dick, Nice to hear from you. I still see isolated pairs of vultures, but the large flocks seem to have headed out. We saw them gathering over the Community Center last Saturday when we had a watermelon and corn festival from the community garden. The Gila Manroot was on the north side, just upstream of the big cottonwood that is across from a pair of sycamores, around the corner of some jutting cliffs (about midway between the Yellow Cliffs and the Red Trail). I just discovered it a couple years ago; maybe it comes and goes with the season or the rains I don?t know, but the vines are all dead at present.

September 22, 2009 (Dick Henderson): Thanks so much, Daniel! I wish everyone who goes into the uplands etc would give us stuck-at-homes a report like this so we can keep in touch. Are the vultures gone from the SPRV as well? If so that is surely an early departure.... (Or do the vultures leave HSC considerably before the River ones go?). I'm surprised we even have water to the Yellow Cliffs given our Monsoon. Where was that Gila Manroot located?

September 22, 2009 (Daniel Baker): Hiked up HSC Saturday. Water was running down to the Yellow Cliffs, farther than one might surmise given the dry season. I think it speaks to the enormity of the Hot Springs watershed rather than good rains; not quite 4? at the Sukkah rain gauge. The banks were not very grassy; just spotty Bermuda. It only began running after the late season storms, and then passed the Windmill only three times of which I am aware, all fairly mild.

The vultures and Common Black Hawks were gone. The huge Gila Manroot (Marah gilensis) that formerly ran over several hackberry trees that I was intent on inspecting was to all appearances dead, though I suspect its root remains alive.

Found a Bird's Foot Morning Glory (Ipomoea ternifolia var. leptotoma) at the base of the slope into the canyon the other day, a new species to me. What appears to be a mutant Brown-crested Flycatcher has been hanging out aroung the Windmill - it is a very odd cream color, quite remarkable.