Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lucifer Hummingbird Thrills Guests

The male Lucifer Hummingbird (Calathorax lucifer) continues to thrill guests at the Chuparosa. This rare hummingbird has set up shop in Luis' "super secret garden" and has graced us with his presence for the past 2 months. He was banded on July 25, 2011. Two weeks later a Berylline and Calliope hummingbird were banded. the Berylline remained, but the Calliope was not to be seen. We still have a pair of Blue-throated hummers and numerous Magnificent. I have observed up to five Mags at a time on one feeder. The Violet-crowned is still coming in to the feeder across the bridge. Fall migration should be in full swing by the last week of August thru  the first week of September. Bring your binoculars, spotting scope, and camera.

This year the bat migration started early, so the "night shift" has been draining every feeder that does not have a "bat guard." The Mexican Long-tongued bat (Choeronycteris mexicana) and Lesser (Sanborn's Long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris curasoae) are coming thru in large numbers. Many guest's are getting great photos, so bring a flash. We are going thru, at least, nine quarts of hummer juice each day. What the hummers don't drink during the day the night shift finishes off after dark.

The butterfly garden is at its' peak flowering cycle and there are many species coming to feast on the nectar. There are large numbers of Dull Firetip (Pyrrhopyge araaxes) butterflies coming thru the gardens. In addition, there are Hairstreaks,Sulphurs, and Western Tiger Swallowtails visiting the "Obedient Plants) in the front garden. The Sacred Datura ( growing in the back gardens are almost leaf less as the hornworm caterpillar of the Five-spotted hawkmoth (Manduca quinquemaculata) munch their way thru two large plants. It's weird to see them flowering without any leaves.

The dominant black bear in the Canyon has been feeding and hanging out along the creek bed just down from the one-laned bridges. We stopped walking Blue & Taz in that area to avoid any turf wars.

The creek is running and is still music to my ears. It's hard to stay awake when you are relaxing on the patios. This weekend at the Chuparosa you can expect scattered thunderstorms and isolated rain showers. Daytime high temperatures in the 70's to low 80's dropping into the 60's and 70's overnight. In short, it is just plain beautiful. I love the monsoon season! 

Monday, August 22, 2011


August 22, 2011    This weekend weekend Debra & Rusty and Cathleen & Tom made their 11th annual visit to the Chuparosa. They are guests and friends that come each year to get a way from the Phoenix heat. The 2.5 hour drive from Phoenix makes for a short trip when you figure that it is about 30 degrees cooler here in the Canyon. Tom, as usual, was the chef and cooked a sumptuous dinner of steak (bison fillets & sirloins), chicken, and salmon. Sides of grilled vegetables and Capresi salad were enjoyed by all. Debra, a Phoenix realtor, used her expertise to select a variety of wines that made everyone happy. Tom, Kathleen, and Rusty hiked to Josephine Saddle on Saturday. On Sunday Cathleen & Tom rode their bike down to Green Vally (14.2 miles) and toured the Stone Mountain subdivision.

Repeat guests "Jack" Craig & Manabu Saito joined us on Saturday night for a great time around the fire-pit. Earlier in the evening they went down canyon to Whitehouse Picnic Area for some "bugging" with Doug Moore and the Friends of Madera Canyon. They were thrilled to see many Madrean species of moths and beetles. Their favorite was the Chrysina Gloriosa a beautiful scarab beetle that is green with gold strips. Jack & Manabu kept us spellbound with their tales of adventure around the world. Jack has travelled the world as a physician and Manabu is an artist that specializes in botanical drawings. He illustrated the Cacti (A Golden Guide) by Frank D. Venning (1974). They will be coming back this Fall with Bobbie & Chuck Woodman.

Amy & Scott were first time visitors to the Chuparosa. They joined the rest of the guests on Friday for a fire, appetisers and a couple of glasses of wine.Saturday morning they were up early and hiked the Old Baldy / Super Trail hike to Josephine Saddle. I have a sneaky feeling that they too will become regular guests at the Chuparosa.

All the guests enjoyed their breakfast of asparagus quiche, fresh apple muffins, ginger bread, and our famous fruit parfaits. This was a weekend to remember and we look forward to Debra & Rusty and Cathleen & Tom's 12th annual visit--it may take me that long to recover!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I don't want to count my chickens before they've hatched, but if you are reading this blog then the sweet smell of victory is in the air here at the Chuparosa. After numerous tries I have finally been able to access my own blogspot. As you can see, it doesn't take much to make a digitally challenged person happy. Where do you start w/ a blog? Must I say something profound or do you just want to hear what's happening here in Madera Canyon? I think that I better go w/ the latter, instead of boring you w/ the profound.

The monsoon season is in full swing and it looks like springtime in the Canyon. The creeks are running, flowers blooming, and Aztec Trush has returned to Madera Canyon. We are getting rain just about every afternoon and the temperatures have cooled down to 65-75 degrees. This is the season for rarities! We have been seeing 11 species of hummingbirds since the beginning of July, including Lucifer, Beryline, and Violet-crowned. All of the usual suspects are here and we even banded an Allen's hummingbird. I'm here keeping hope alive that a White-eared hummer will appear any day now.

Tonight I will be setting up a couple of black lights and a mercury vapor light to do a little "bugging." We have guests from Sierra Vista that want to sample the nightlife here at the Chuparosa. It will be an evening of bugs, bats (Lesser-long nosed & Mexican-long tongued), Rig-tailed cats, and Elf owls. I 've already warned the guest's to keep their door closed so they don't get any unwanted visitors in the room. Our resident skunks & raccoons can be pretty bold.

Well, Nancy just got home from work-god bless her- and we are going to take Taz & Blue for a walk to the mailboxes (2 mile round trip to get the mail, sweet). We have been seeing a happy 3-4 year old black bear down by Madera Picnic Area for the past few days. A walk in a Sky Island is always an interesting proposition. Adios, until next time--if I can remember what I did differently this time to access my blog!
Luis Calvo