Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Burlesque - The Movie

I loved this movie. I loved the dancing, the singing and story.
The movie belongs to Christina Aquilera. She is fabulous. Some critics have said that she is the best female vocalist today.
Now she proves that she can dance and sing.

This is not the kind of musical where people go walking down the street singing to each other. The is a true follies, like you may see in Las Vegas. Or like you may have been fortunate to see in the 50's, 60's, or until the end of Burlesque in most major cities. I was lucky enough to have my Dad take me to see Sally Rand, the famous fan dancer when she was in Minneapolis. Her famous fan dance is performed in the film by Aquilera.

Cher has top billing. And she has earned it. She only sings two songs in the movie, but they show Cher at her best.

In the movie she plays Tess, the older owner of the club. Ali, a young wantabe from Iowa hangs in there until she has a chance to strut and sing what she has been waiting for. And she succeeds.

Stanley Tucci, as always is great as the main sidekick of Tess, who gives his all to the
success of club.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Least Sandpiper

I couldn't get this delightful little shore bird to
fit into the earlier blog entry. Guess he just didn't want to hang out with the ducks.

These little shore birds work the edges of the ponds of southern Arizona in the winter months.

Ducks & other water birds

These are the ducks & others water birds that were at the Pima County water treatment plant this week.

Many of the front ponds were empty and new ponds are being built and there were some we
weren't permitted to go to.

One of my favorite is the Ruddy Duck. I remember
when I first saw this duck in a pond in California.
I was fascinated with it blue bill and by the way
it dipped its head into the water with it little tail upward.

The Northern Shoveler has the large wide black
bill which gives him his name. He moves along doing what his name implies.

The Bufflehead male, along with a couple of females is a favorite of many of the birders out
that day.

A Green Winged Teal couple hugged the shore of the second pond.

The American Wigeon, identified by its white stripe of the head bordered by green and white
spot on the wing, cruised casually.

The Pintail, one of my favorites has the
white ? mark on the back of each
cheek and very thin long pin tail feathers.

And last but not least was the little Eared Grebe.
This is a busy little bird diving, coming up briefly and
diving again. And unlike the ducks that swim along in
groups occasionally diving, the Grebe is solitary.
I don't remember if I have ever seen more that one
in a pond.

Least Sandpipers worked the shores of the ponds.
My blog did not want to take another photo as
much as I tried. Listening to Garrison Keillor as
I tried. This is not as easy at one might think.

Why do birds like the water treatment plant?
Of course there is water. But food? Yuk!!
What do they eat? I tried to find the answer to
this question and doing so found that many ducks
do die from chemicals in the water.

These are the usual ducks found in this area. Sometimes
others come. A Ross Goose came several years.
A Muscovy duck was supposed to be here
but I did not see it.

photos from Google Images

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Friday, November 26, 2010

"Sexing" Turkeys

Now that you have eaten your turkey, let's talk about "sexing" turkeys.

I was raised on a farm that was primarily a "hens laying eggs farm". Consequently when my Dad bought home chicks it was very important that they had been properly "sexed". The point was to get all little girl chicks. "Sexing" turkeys is pretty easy in the adult wild turkey.

Since turkeys are polygamous it is important that they do what they can to impress the females. Most of the identification in with the head.

They have a large fleshy wattles on their head and neck. Some times the large red flesh are called appropriately carbuncles.

And they have the snood, the fleshy mass over their beak.

Males also have a beard; a group of specialized feathers coming out of the center of their breast.

Male behaviors include strutting, gobbling, drumming, booming and even spitting. All these behaviors are used to attract the females but also to show dominance over males.
Turkeys have a pecking order, not territory like most birds.

Now test your "sexing" skills on the turkeys in the first photo. Who is the Tom and who is the Jenny?

Photos from Madera Canyon.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wild Turkeys of the Santa Rita Mountains

There are several subspecies of Wild Turkeys is the U.S. We are fortunate to have the Gould's
Wild Turkey in our Madera Canyon. The Sierra
Madre Mountains of Mexico is the center of the
range of this magnificent bird. It is the least known of the 5 subspecies of wild turkey. It is also the largest in size. But is the smallest in number.

This map shows you the range of wild turkeys in the U.S. Gould's is only found in the Mountains of SE Arizona and SW New Mexico

This male stopped me on the road up the canyon one summer day. Whether he was annoyed with the car or strutting for females I am not sure. There were no females in the area. The sun shown on the metallic blue green coloration of his feathers.

Typical strutting behavior includes dragging the primary wing feathers on the ground as demonstrated in this photo.

Look for more information about Gould's Wild Turkey at the National Wild Turkey Foundation bulletin #5.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Patagonia Lake, Az

Birds today at Patagonia, Az

What started out as a slow birding day, in the end revealed some very interesting birds.

The small gray flycatcher, with the gray back and light colored chest and a pink lower bill.

The lark sparrow with it Harlequin like face.

The amazing Ruby Crowned Kinglet, which only shows his
ruby crown when excited. Although it is a fairly common bird, I have only seen its ruby crown once before. Today we came upon two that were probably demonstrating for territory and we saw the brilliant flash of red,

We saw quite a few ducks. We saw a pair of Bufflehead; always a pleasure to see.
Here one can see the difference between the male and female.

And the magnificent Northern Harrier. Swooping low over the cat tails looking for prey.
A large Hawk it is identified by its size, reddish brown feathers and white and the base of its tail.

Photos from Google Images

The Cows of Patagonia

While birding at Patagonia Lake, I said "WHOSE

We were nearly surrounded by white cows of all sizes; moms, bulls and calves.

These are CHAROLAIS. a breed of beef cattle developed in France and introduced into the US in 1936. They can be straw colored to white.

These large and heavy muscled cows make good beef cattle because they have traits of a fast rate of growth and feed efficiency.

This herd grazes along the east side of the Patagonia lake and the Sonita creek.

They seem quite used the birders walking along the pathways. We were more nervous of them than they were of us. Only giving us an occasional glance, they continued to feed, chew their cud and swing their tails.

Friday, November 12, 2010