Thursday, July 26, 2007

At Last-Hummingbirds!

I surely do wish that I had a reason for not posting, but, what can I say??

We have been having a wonderful time. We love it here at Manzano Mountains State Park and have made a slew of new friends. It seems that one day just flows into another and I find it's been weeks since I posted!

One of the things that occupies my days is our hummingbirds. It's no exaggeration to say the we have more than two dozen hummers visiting us on a daily basis. I wake in the morning and watch them from my bedroom window and the time just gets away from me.

Every day I go outside, intending to read but find I am mesmerized by our birds. They seem to accept us totally. We stand within inches of the feeders and they just buzz around, creating a variety of breezes that literally seem to kiss your face.

Can you tell I'm enchanted?

As always, you can click on the shots for a larger version.

These shots are random shots and pretty much speak for themselves. In this one, I loved the movement.

This little fellow on the left is a Rufous Hummingbird. They are here in New Mexico on their way south.

A shot of three hummingbirds sharing a snack.

Here's a close up of the Rufous. In the direct sun, their breast is a vibrant burnt orange.

This is a Calliope Hummingbird. The stripes at his neck are puffed up and ruffled when he is trying to attract a mate.

A female Rufous.

I loved this shot. It's so rare you see one just sitting still!

Another shot of them sharing a snack.

Another close up of a Calliope.

More movement.

While this Rufous is pretty blurry, I enjoy the illusion of movement.

This shot intrigues me. While the bird is quite dark, I love the transparency of the tail against the feeder.

So now do you sort of understand why I've been so lax in posting?

I guess when my life is so good, I just get lazy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Oh What a Beautiful Morning!

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

I woke up early and watched our hummingbirds for about an hour. Our herd has multiplied to eight, often all at one time! They are now drinking over four cups of nectar a day! It makes me wonder who is pollinating all the flowers?

And Mimi, or anyone who is reading this, could you please send me some hints on photographing these little beauties. Just FYI, I have a Panasonic Lumix FZ30 with a 12X optical zoom, and I've tried everything to get sharp pictures (including hundreds of pictures in burst mode) but none come out to my satisfaction. Any assistance is appreciated.

The weather has been lovely, warm in the mid day but cool in the mornings and evenings, often accompanied by a nice breeze.

The campground here at Manzano Mountains is surprisingly empty, we expected a full park for the holiday, but have decided that the quiet is a special gift just for us on this holiday.

I've spent the morning putting together a playlist for the Fourth of July and am now loading it into the iPod so we can have some appropriate tunes for the day.

It's been our tradition that if we don't watch fireworks on the Fourth of July we try to watch either 1776 or Yankee Doodle Dandy, so that's probably what we'll be doing this evening.

If you haven't seen these films, I highly recommend both. Yankee Doodle Dandy is a wonderful mix of Hollywood hokum, infectious music and the unending charm of James Cagney at his singing and dancing best (he was Oscared for Best Actor for this role). Directed by the amazing Michael Curtiz in the same year he made Casablanca, it also features a fresh and lovely Joan Leslie (only 17 at the time!), Walter Huston (father of John and Grandfather of Angelica and Danny) as wells as James Cagney's real life sister Jeanne.

It's a delight all the way around.

1776 is a unique film, a musical which chronicles the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Written by Peter Stone and Sherman Edwards, (a history teacher with a flair for bringing the past to life) this will forever change your view of the founding fathers. It stars a young William Daniels, all fiery as John Adams, Howard Da Silva,(I guarantee you'll never think of Ben Franklin in the same way after seeing this performance) Ken Howard, as a strong and virile Thomas Jefferson and the amazing Blythe Danner as a bright and fetching Martha Jefferson.

While this is an often overlooked film, it's a true gem. The music is great and the story really does bring history to life. Highly Recommended!

So these are our plans for the day, relaxing with friends and contemplating the wonders of this beautiful country and the events and people who have brought us to this place in life.

We are truly thankful to live in this lovely (though often troubled) country and hope all of you will have a wonderful and happy Fourth of July.

Life is Good.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Boy has it been a long time since I posted!

I have several blog entries I've been working on, but I have to admit my motivation is kind of low.

I think it must have something to do with being in one place for so long.

I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this Camp Hosting business. On one hand, I really enjoy it. I like meeting all these new people, and I certainly like having folks in Lazy Daze come to visit. The work is not hard at all, mostly social, which I enjoy a lot, but I feel a kind of ennui setting in that has me puzzled.

I believe that it stems from several places, one being that we are under the trees. Manzano Mountains State Park is lovely, small and pleasant, but I miss the wonderful open skies that I've grown to love so much. One of our duties here is to lock the gate at 8:00pm and when we drive out to the gate, every time I see that open sky, it's like my heart opens up.

Also, I think it's got a lot to do with being settled in one spot, a kind of lethargy sets in.

Lest you think that I am unhappy here, let me tell you a bit about what I love.

The wildlife here is varied and amusing. We have a little lizard who lives in our fire pit. He's quite fat and happy and seems to like us as well as we like him, so we have named him Jack.

A breed of squirrels know as Abert Squirrels are all over the park. They are quite unusual, with exceptionally full tails and high tufted ears. Their back legs are quite large and sort of resemble those of a jack rabbit making them quite agile. Using their powerful legs, they have the ability to jump from tree to tree, often going great distances without touching the ground. They could almost be confused with flying squirrels, but they have no arm flaps, and really just jump but they're quite a site.

We have put a bird feeder outside our living room window and the squirrels seem to like it as much (if not more) than the birds. Manzano is directly in the migration path, so we have lots of birds for short periods of time. Except for the hummingbirds and the Stellar Jays, most come for a week or so then move on.

About the hummingbirds . . .

They are pretty amazing. We have a suction cup feeder on one window and it's great to watch them come right up to feed. We recently added two more feeders on our "patio" and we often have four or more at one time. They're quite noisy but so beautiful. We have one little white female who is quite fearless and buzzes us almost every day. They're also pretty pushy when the feeder runs out (which seems to be every other day or so.

We've been trying to get good pictures of the squirrels and the hummers, but unlike Jack the lizard, they just refuse to stay still, so the pictures aren't close to the reality.

Well, that's it for now, hopefully I'll get on the move and finish some of the posts about the amazing pueblos of the Salinas Basin.