Monday, August 31, 2015

Hummingbird invasion

When I saw all the hummingbirds in my site at Riverside Campground, I broke down and pulled out one of my feeders.  I have some big trees in my site and many of them have "twig" branches that have no leaves or pine needles.  The hummers like to perch on these twig branches so they can guard the feeder and see who's coming to get their nectar.  Boy are they good feeder guards.

Sometimes there were a dozen birds swarming around the feeder, fighting each other off.

Then they would fly to the bare branches and sit a bit, looking around constantly.  Then one or two would get to the feeder and get some nectar before it all started again.

I've been putting out feeders for years, but I've never had one emptied in a day, and these guys were drinking it all before the day was over.

It sure was entertaining to watch them interacting.  It all seemed like play fighting, although there were two males who seemed to take it to the next level and were really after each other for a while.  Then things calmed down and went back to the normal chasing game.

I took a bunch of pictures of the swarming birds when they all tried to get nectar at once, but the photos just didn't turn out well.  Too many birds and too much movement, I guess.  Here are a couple with 4 and 6 birds that were pretty clear.  You don't see the rest of the birds out of shot who were coming and going.

In the past I was lucky to get two birds coming around at the same time and I enjoyed watching them.  This was overkill, for sure.  It was so distracting to have the constant motion outside my window, I finally went out and moved the feeder out of sight.  I put it on our picnic table until it was empty, then brought it inside, cleaned it and put it away.  Sorry birds.  :(

You know the old saying, watch out what you wish for?  I always wanted a ton of hummers at my feeders like John and Jeanne had at Storrie Lake - well, I got what I wished for, and it was a bit much.  But now I know, LOL.

One morning I went outside, and there was Annie, in the site right behind me, sitting outside enjoying the cool morning air.  What a nice surprise!  I was in the shower when she drove by, and apparently took a walk by The Palms, but I had the shades down and didn't see her. I went over to say hi and chat for a bit.  We haven't talked for a while.  She got Jake out of her motor home so we could see him, but he heard some thunder and wanted back in the house, so it was a short visit with Jake!  Tucker, her cat, came out and lounged around on the ground.  He's quite a lounger, you know how cats lay down and stretch and roll around?  That's Tucker!  Pretty boy. 

That night I got an e-mail from Annie warning me about a skunk in the area - she said Jake was nose-to-nose with it when she took him outside.  Luckily he didn't get skunked.  Before I got that e-mail, Katie started acting weird like she does when critters are walking under The Palms, and I'd bet that skunk was around and under The Palms.

The next morning we took a walk with the dogs and got caught up.  It was so nice seeing Annie and Jake and Tucker again.  

From me and Katie, have a great Monday, everyone!  :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Slow Motion Roadrunner Photo Movie

I glanced out my front window and saw a beautiful Roadrunner standing in the middle of my site's driveway.   I jumped up and grabbed my camera - I've never seen a Roadrunner in this campground - dumped my coffee cup on the dinette table and everything on it, opened the window and screen and waited for him to come into view.

He was very cooperative.  I don't know what he was looking at, but he kept moving, stopping, looking behind him, moving, stopping, looking back, etc.  He kept doing that all the way through my site, across the road and into the bushes until he was out of site.

So, this is the slow movie in photos of him traveling through.

Look at those white tips on his tail feathers:

This is the only time he turned all the way around:

And he was gone across the bush-filled desert.  I've seen Roadrunners crossing the road on my way to and from town in this area, but none that stopped long enough for a photo.  This is the first one I've seen in the campground, and it was a real treat for me.  I wonder what was behind him that he kept stopping and waiting for.  He sure wasn't in a hurry.

I get a kick out of the feathers on the top of their heads.  Up, down, up down.

From me and Katie, have a great weekend, everyone!  :)

PS - Laptop, mouse, mouse pad, etc., all got wiped down and are working fine.  Good thing I was almost done with my coffee!
PSS - I may need a new mouse.  Rats!  :(

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Great shady site!

After being out in the hot sun for a while, it was so nice to pull into a shady site at Riverside Campground, part of Caballo Lake State Park.  There are lots of big trees here, and lots of lawn.  Still warm, in fact Caballo Lake State Park is usually a few degrees hotter than Elephant Butte State Park, but with the shade from the trees and clouds in the sky, it feels much cooler.

Here's our site - that tree kept the passenger side of The Palms in the shade for hours every day - NICE!

These guys - the squirrels - are all over the place here.  Katie got a kick out of chasing them up trees when she got the chance.  They sure are cute.

My fear is that they will get into the engine compartment, which happened before.  I didn't have any issues with them this time, thank goodness.  Although I did have little footprints on the engine dust, so I know some critters did get in.  I have blinking solar lights on the ground under the engine, and I think that is keeping most of the critters away.

We walked down to the dry camping sites along the Rio Grande where we've camped before.  It's too hot to dry camp now, although there were a couple of people camping there.  Sure is beautiful - the river is really up, and we saw a Great Blue Heron.  I've gotten a lot of good bird shots in this river in the past, but nothing this year.  I didn't see many birds in the river and the Heron flew away as soon as he heard us coming.  There were some pretty "sun flowers" here and there along the road: 

I ran into Roxi while at Riverside - she left that day, but we had a nice chat in the morning.  She told me about a baby snake in the Ladies Restroom, so we went over so I could see it and get a photo.  It was curled up in a tight coil right inside the door jamb.  I did get photos, but decided I've posted enough snakes for a while.  It's interesting to see them and get a picture (as long as it's safe), but I'm tired of looking at them on my blog.  Sorry snake lovers - if there is such a thing, LOL.

I haven't put up a humming bird feeder for a while, but they kept coming around and pecking at my permit decals on the window, so I filled one and hung it.  I've never had some many hummers before!  Next time I'll post some of the photos I got, but here's one I liked:

From me and Katie, have a great Tuesday, everyone!  :)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Heading out tomorrow....

It's been so hot here at Elephant Butte, NM that Katie and I have been staying inside 24/7 with the A/C on except for potty walks.  This is the longest I've had an electric site since I started full-timing over four years ago.

First thing in the morning, which for us us between 9 and 10 am, we go outside and I let Katie walk by herself until she's done.  For our afternoon "outs," the ground is way to hot for Katie's feet, so I put her in the stroller and walk her over to the shower house where there are trees and she can do her thing in the shade.  I sometimes walk 1/2 the loop which is a third of a mile (I've gotten acclimated to the heat) and Katie jumps from the stroller right into The Palms when we get home.  In the evening, usually around 7 pm, the rocks and pavement are again cool enough for her to walk a little by herself, then I put her back into the stroller and we take a walk around the park. 

She's having problems with the Seroma on her right ankle swelling up a lot, so I'm restricting her walking.  Poor thing, she wants to walk more, but the one time I let her, it took three days for the hard lump to finally get smaller and softer.  Sometimes she gets back into The Palms and wants to play:

Yesterday afternoon and this morning I had to clean and sanitize our fresh water tank.  It was starting to smell and taste bad even with the blue hose filter and the whole house filter.  I think the extreme heat here encourages bacteria to flourish, but honestly, it was time to take care of this task, anyway.  When the water tank was empty the first time I also changed the whole house filter. So those two jobs are done for a while. The only issue was that between filling the fresh water tank three times and dumping the black/grey tanks after filling them with the fresh water twice, I was outside in the hot sun waaaaay to long.  When I was done I couldn't wait to get to the showers.

We also topped off the pantry and fridge at Wal-Mart and I got an inside/outside thermometer so I could see how hot is it outside.  

Other than that, things have been very quiet here, and tomorrow we are moving on.  I'm looking forward to being in a new campground and campsite, but will probably be back in Elephant Butte when our 14 days are up at the next campground.  This weekend is Elephant Days (August 21-23) with arts and crafts, food, a pet parade, balloon regatta, balloon glow, car-truck-motorcycle show, hula hoop contest and live music and dancing.  It sounds like there is something for everyone.  I don't know how crowded it gets here, but I'll miss it.  They are launching balloons over the lake - that would be cool to see. 

Here are more photos from the last few weeks - after being on the road for more than four years, and re-visiting a lot of the same places, I don't have many new photos to post.  But I still love the jack rabbits and lizards, which is about all I see here.  :)

This guy runs in front of The Palms twice a day, at least I think it's the same rabbit.  I love the loping gait of the jack rabbits. 

These are such pretty lizards.  We see them during our late afternoon walks.  This one was pushing up and down like push-ups:

Look how large and strong his back legs are:

I got a good shot of one that shows all his colors, even a little turquoise on his belly:

Pretty butterfly:

We've seen a couple of these millipedes.  This one was crossing the road and was on the middle yellow line:

I think they are kind of creepy, but from what I've read, even though they can be pests to homeowners, they are harmless to humans:

We've had some pretty and unusual looking cloud formations:

Pretty sunset sky:

And that's about it - maybe something interesting will happen sooner rather than later and I'll post if it does.  If not, I'll at least check in.  Just know, all is well in and around The Palms.  And I'm looking forward to Social Security Wednesday this week, yaaaaaay!  :)

From me and Katie, have a great Monday evening, everyone! :)