Archive for November, 2012

Anna’s Hummingbird Featherweight Fight

November 27th, 2012 by Mike Hug

On November 14, 2012, I had the opportunity to witness a “Featherweight Fight” between two Anna’s Hummingbirds. One was an adult male and the other was a juvenile. They were at a feeder that was almost full. Angie and I were talking about  removing the feeders because it was starting to freeze at night. At the time we didn’t believe that any hummingbirds would still be in the area.

I happened to go out onto the patio and I had the opportunity to watched two birds jockeying for position and chasing each other away from the feeder. It just seemed to me to be the normal back and forth that you get from the hummers when they are hungry. However, after a short time these birds grappled in the air and had a controlled fall to the ground where the pecked at each other. They didn’t stay there long and were back up in the air. I had never seen this before so I quickly went inside to get my camera and came back out as fast as I could. The birds were still jabbing at each other as I got the camera focused on a bird at the feeder and started the video.

The birds ignored me and kept on with their battle. I didn’t expect to see much more than just chasing each other around but I was surprised by these small creatures. They flew by me a couple of times during the duel. Almost as I was ready to stop the video the hummers locked up again and went to the ground fighting. I was able to capture most of it as the continued the fight on the ground. After they went back into the air I taped another minute or so before I stopped. My battery was starting to flash at me. I knew that there wasn’t much time left on it.

I taped over 10 minutes of the exchange before I quit. The entire fight from the beginning until I shut off the camera was about 15 to 20 minutes. It did go on for a period of time afterwards. After editing, there is almost 3 minutes on the video for you to see. There is some brilliant green and red flashes in the pictures from the light hitting the feathers in just the right spots. The male Anna’s is still here at the BnB but we haven’t see the juvenile and we don’t know what finally happened.

I have the video on YouTube for you to enjoy.

Stay ‘N’ Play

November 20th, 2012 by Mike Hug

Stay ‘n’ Play

Charity Golf Weekend

At

Down By The River B and B

 

The Knights of Columbus has scheduled their 7th Annual Marie Lovell/ Barbara Hug/ Paul Padia Memorial Golf Tournament for February 23, 2013 and the San Pedro Valley Country Club. This tournament is a shotgun best ball start with most of the proceeds going to The University of Arizona Cancer Research Center and to the John Lodzinski High School Scholarship Fund.

Marie, Barbara, Paul and John were all victims of Cancer and were either married to Knights or were Knights. Barbara with her husband Mike were co-owners of Down By The River B and B. Mike has worked on the Tournament Committee since its inception and the B and B has contributed to the Tournament in various ways. Nearly 100 golfers played last year and because of the sponsors, and golfers, the tournament was the most successful ever.

This year the tournament is offering a $10,000 hole in one shot, The Dixon Golf Challenge, longest drive for

Golf lie

Golf on Benson’s Course

men and women, closest to the hole for men and women, raffle tickets, auction prizes and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes. The tournament includes cart, green fees and lunch for $45. Last year’s raffle prizes and auction items included Diamond Back Tickets, U of A /  UCLA basketball tickets, and wine tastings to name a few. We don’t know what this year will bring.

This year Angie and Mike decided to offer a Stay ‘n’ Play weekend at Down By The River for golfers who wish to participate in the tournament this year and stay at the B and B. Because of the early start on Saturday morning, a two night stay is required. Saturday night Mike and Angie will serve dinner for those guests taking part in the golf weekend, free of charge, as a thank you for your participation in the tournament.

A non-refundable charge of $45 will be taken for each golfer via credit card to reserve your spot in the Tournament at the time you reserve your room. The room charge will be at the multi-night discount rate and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Breakfast on Saturday will be early so that the guests are at the golf course prior to play.

Hummingbird Feeder Thieves

November 15th, 2012 by Mike Hug

Being on the San Pedro River, Down By The River B and B is visited by many bird species. Birding on the San Pedro is some of the best in the USA. There are also the resident birds that stay around all year. We are also an area that is a nursery for Black-Chinned Hummingbirds and we feed a lot of them with the feeders that are hung out at Down By The River B and B. We have other types of hummingbirds that visit us during the year, including Anna’s, Magnificent, Rufous, and Caliopie. Just this morning we had a subadult Caliopie here at the feeder while I was talking with a guest and I wish I had my camera since if flashed so much color in the sunlight. It seems to be a little late in the season for hummingbirds to still be around but maybe these birds decided to stay instead of flying south.We made a video on Hummingbird Breakfast at the B & B and it is fun to watch the jockeying for position by these little birds.

But every once in a while, along with the bats,  a sneaky Pete woodpecker has to put his beak into the nectar. We have Ladderback Woodpeckers and also Gila Woodpeckers in the area. Both of these birds are brazen and

Gila Woodpecker landing on feeder

Gila Woodpecker landing on feeder

will fly up to the hummingbird feeders and clamp their feet to the feeder. They are usually grab the edge of the feeder and hang below. With a little work they get into their position so that they can dip their beak into the nectar. Watching them do the gyration to get to the nectar is amusing.

The hummers will come to the feeder and see the woodpecker. They buzz around a little bit but soon decide that they don’t want to take on the bigger bird. The leave to find one of the other feeders we have on the patio. We shoo the woodpecker away and he gives a squawk at us as he leaves. He doesn’t go far. He will wait in a tree and after a bit he is back at the feeder.

Gila Woodpecker Getting Into Position

Gila Woodpecker Getting Into Position To Have A Drink Of Nectar.

Gila Woodpecker Getting A Drink Of Nectar

Gila Woodpecker Getting A Drink Of Nectar

One of our neighbors in St. David has a picture of bats at the feeder. It is on our facebook page if you would like to see it. If you go to our facebook page, LIKE us and comment if you wish. If you don’t have a facebook page you won’t be able to see this picture.

I have seen a swirling motion outside the dining room window when I went to lock up and turn the lights for the night. I was curious to see what was going on and went to the window. I saw a group of bats and as I watched  the bats swirled around the feeder, hit the bottle and flew down to catch the nectar as it came out the holes. It was a really eerie thing to watch.  We were wondering why our feeders would be drained in the morning. Now we know. If you have drained feeders in the morning you might want to check out the feeders at night to see if you have flying visitors.

John Slaughter Ranch Museum

November 9th, 2012 by Mike Hug

Pond Picture

In my last blog I wrote about a recent article, dated October 28, 2012 in the Phoenix Republic. Mrs. Daley from Camp Verde wrote about her favorite place to visit in Southern Arizona. The place she referred to was the John Slaughter Ranch Museum just east of Douglas about 15 miles and is what is left of the 65,000 acre Slaughter Ranch. This ranch is located in the extreme southeast section of Arizona on the border of Mexico and within about 5 miles of the New Mexico border.  To get to the ranch you have to drive to Douglas, Arizona and take 15th Street east. This turns into a dirt road called Geronimo Trail, named after the Apache warrior who fought the US Army until his surrender in 1886. The Geronimo Trail leads to a white gate with a big Z over it. The Z was Slaughters cattle brand.

The area was on the route used by Father Kino in the 1690s on his ventures into Arizona because of the water

John Slaughter Ranch Looking Toward Mesa

View from the ranch house looking toward the mesa that is the high point on the property.

it contained. In 1773, Captain Juan Bautista de Anza came to the area and the Spanish established the San Bernardino garrison around 1775.  The ranch originated from a Spanish Land Grant that was purchased by Ignacio Perez in 1822. After 10 years, Perez quit using the land because of the Apache raids. Slaughter purchased the ranch in 1884 from the Perez heirs. With the Gadsden Purchase, the ranch lands were divided with one third in the US and two thirds in Mexico. After Slaughter’s death, the property was later sold and what is left in the US is now a National Historical Landmark. 130 acres of the original property was purchased by The Johnson Historical Museum of the Southwest, The US Fish and Wildlife Service owns the rest of the property in Arizona, now known as the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge.

Slaughter Picture

Historical Picture of Texas John Slaughter

Slaughter was born in Louisiana in 1841 and died on his ranch in 1922. During his life he fought in the Civil War, was a cattleman, Indian fighter, lawman and gambler. He served with the Texas Rangers and was elected Cochise County Sherriff in 1886 and served until 1890. He helped rid Cochise County of outlaws after the Shoot Out at the OK Corral. There are many stories that you can read about John Slaughters life at the Ranch Museum. John Slaughter is one of the people that tamed the Old West and brought law and order to the Arizona Territory.

The Museum has many different things on display. The buildings were restored in the 1980s and furnished with items from the era. There may be some items that can be traced back to Slaughter but most are not. The property contains an icehouse, wash house, main buildings, granary, commissary and a garage that houses a vintage car. On the mesa above the ranch are the remains of a US Cavalry camp.  The inside of the main house is open to visitors from 10 until 3. The property also has a spring fed pond and the ranch site is located at the head waters of the Yaqui River. During the droughts that affected the west in the 1900s, the cattle herds survived because of the water on the property. The small amount of acreage is all that is left of the only remaining great Arizona 19th century cattle ranch.

The pond has wildlife visit during the day. When Angie and I were there we saw deer and large swans. At first

John Slaughter Ranch House

John Slaughter Ranch House and Museum

I thought that they were props since they didn’t move. Finally they got bored looking at me and went about eating again. This is a pleasant spot to bring a picnic lunch after you have taken the loop trail into the refuge.  It is about a 2 ½ mile loop and has many birds in the area. You can even make a short visit to the Gadsden Hotel in Douglas and roam around the mezzanine and view the stained glass. If you have enough time in your day and the Sand Hill Cranes are wintering in Arizona, you can head north to Whitewater Draw and take in the birds in this area also. Both places can be seen during the same trip.

The Museum is about 1 ½ hours and Whitewater Draw is about an hour away from Down By The River B and B, the lodging hub of Cochise County. The San Pedro River bnb is a great location to visit all of Cochise County’s many attractions.

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