Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Porch Time Keeps Things Interesting

 June 15 - 30, 2024
Tombstone, Arizona

Photo overload - you've been warned!

Borrowed from our local FB page - incredible skies over the Tombstone Courthouse

Sloooooowing down is the theme for us these days. The Solstice on the 20th means summer is officially here, although the weather has been yelling SUMMER for several weeks. We haven't been under 90, with warmer-than-usual night time temps. 

Of course, because we're here this year, the monsoon season is forecast to be "not-so-much", although we've been watching storms move around us almost every evening. When the timing is right they give us gorgeous sunsets.

A rare sundog in the south.

One evening we get a huge thunder storm over the Mules to the southeast with the sky lighting up over and over and over. I attempt to capture the show.

I get a lot of these.

Finally! I quit and just sit on the porch and enjoy for 30 minutes. 

Our 360 degree views was the biggest draw for us in purchasing this property in 2019. Having covered porches on both sides of the house means getting to enjoy those views from sunup to sundown. But not all the enjoyment is in the distance. This time of year brings numerous birds and other wildlife to our feeders and water troughs. The braying donkey, the late day rooster, and the baying hound add occasional humorous layers to the soundtrack of singing, calling, chirping. 

A pair of Thrashers signal that I need to fill the water!

I watered our Texas Sage and got these beautiful blooms.

So, so pretty!

Two days later the rain made it to our yard - and put all the blooms on the ground!! Oh well, we need the rain more - and the birds loved all those fresh petals.

It's rare for us to get winds from the East - they're delightfully cooler!

Several days of calm.

"Normal" winds from the West.

We've had several Cottontail babies, but this is our first Jack Rabbit baby (note the flat tail).

Brown Head Cowbird - they always look so classic to me.

With darker points, this is likely a female Northern Cardinal rather than the similar juvenile. 

Mule Deer visit the water trough daily.

Size is the only difference between male and female Road Runners, so I named this one Rebel who has decided to call our yard home. They're here every day now. 

"Hey Tessa! Let's hang out!"

The interaction between the different birds is always entertaining, but one morning is especially fun with Rebel getting chased (very aggressively!) by a mama Quail. Two older babies are hidden in the brush with dad keeping close watch. Rebel tries to get close a couple times. But mama is NOT having it! Although they can, neither of them choose to fly, just run really, really fast - it's hysterical! And the babies are still fine several days later. 

Once Mama runs off the threat, Dad brings the kids out to play in the rocks.

Smaller than their cousins, these Bronze Cowbirds are distinguishable by their red eyes.

Aggressive and not particularly pretty, Thrashers have a lovely song.

We've had over 30 different species in the yard, but the Lazuli Bunting is by far the most beautiful (and rare).

I love the contrasting copper wings.
We see several different hawks in flight, but this Redtail Hawk stops long enough for a nice pic.

Teenage Quail look silly with their blonde topknots.

Becoming much more distinguished as adults.

Mother Nature is incredible, smart, creative, and mostly logical in her choices for clothing colors. One exception is the Northern Cardinal. In what environment do these bright red birds blend in? Here in the desert I'm sure you can see them from space! They aren't hiding from any predator, but yes, they're quite pretty.

Some House Finch (of which there are zillions) compete for bright red.

Mourning Dove choose red for just their footwear.

We're going through a ton of bird feed, but it's a small price to pay for so much entertainment!! We'll see who else comes to visit over the next several weeks.

The motorhome is back, slide repaired we hope for the final time. Still looking for door latch and dash unit, but for now it's fine as is. 

Back home.

Happy Henry lights up the world!

Ezra and Elliott enjoying vacation time in Colorado - riding a giant turtle!

M and M love Legoland.

Reese is getting so grown up - having fun on the lake.


  1. Hi Jodee..I’ll be checking out the bunny tails now, but I’m thinking I have only seen the cotton tails here. I love your backyard birds and love that you are enjoying them and sharing your photos and stories. Those mama quails are awesome! And the curved-bill thrashers do have a beautiful voice. And I sure wish that bunting would stop for a visit here. The skies have been beautiful and I hope you get more rain. Photographing lightening is really hard and I rarely ever try anymore! I love Henry’s curls!

    1. Your patio posts inspire me to capture what comes to us :-)) The bunting came back today - woohoo. I envy those who can capture those light shows - including fireworks which I also struggle with!

  2. Lovely sunset photos Jodee! And here's hoping the monsoons bring you guys more rain! We have the lazuli buntings at our feeders in summer--beautiful bird! Someone posting photos on the Cochise county photography FB page said they took videos of lightning storms and cropped out images???

    1. Oh that's a good idea - I'll see if I can remember to try that for the next storm :-)) For as little wet as we've had, it's still nice and green.

  3. Good Morning Jodee! Arizona has some of the most expressive skies and you've captured the nicely. It has to be nice to have the RV back home.
    The quail are among my favorite, so colorful, curious, shy and just fin to watch.
    Cool that M&M found the M at Legoland

    1. Those top knots bobbing when they run (more funny because they don't hop like many of the other birds) always make me laugh. Quail really do have it all :-) Good catch with the 'M' Jeff!!!

  4. 60's/40's here. Perfect weather! Love all your critters. So only 2 quail chicks survived?

    1. We had a total of 21 chicks this year, in four different coveys. There are still 11 growing up at different ages. These two are the survivors of "the six". I envy you your summer weather!!

  5. We enjoy our back yard time too. If you just sit still you see the most amazing things! Love those blonde quail.....I wonder what their mother thought when they came home with the new do! I'm jealous though, never a lazuli bunding at 1055, even though MonaLiza has one. sigh.

    1. It really is a wonderful way to focus on the now - otherwise you'll miss so much! LOL, yes I imagine their parents give them grief :-)) ML really should share!

  6. Beautiful sunset pictures. With Your Big sky they are so much more than mine as the sun sinks below the mountains. We too used to love to sit on our porches and watch the thunderstorms and lightning as they came across the fields toward us. But like you try as I might I could never get a picture of lightning.
    That is indeed a female cardinal. We have tons of those at the farm male and female. But no roadrunners or quail or that gorgeous bunting so thanks for those pictures and their stories. The roadrunner calling for Tessa is particularly wonderful.

    1. Having these long distance views for enjoying sunsets and storms make me happy :-) I love trees too, but not so much the blocked views. Rebel is getting very bold in coming up on the porches :-)

  7. Never too many photos! Gee, we haven't seen wet ground in I don't when. Glad someone is getting some rain. You certainly do have quite the nature center going on there. Love all the wildlife. That Bunting is beautiful. I can't believe how tame that roadrunner appears. Grands are growing too fast!

    1. I think having the two good size Juniper trees (plus the feeders of course) really bring the birds and bunnies to our yard. Sure makes us appreciate the location even more. We're hoping for more wet from the monsoons this month - and hope you get some "up there"!!

  8. Your porch time is so fabulous! I absolutely love the roadrunner who comes to your door. That just cracks me up! I trust you don't mind my saying so, but you have a gorgeous Blue Grosbeak instead of a Lazuli Bunting. We haven't seen a Blue Grosbeak since we were last in Arizona, so thank you for the wonderful photo!