Chapter 220309: Flambé’s latest Misadventure …. Alien nests and hungry hatchlings

March 9, 2022. When we last heard from Flambé, she was either escaping or befriending an impossible insect invasion.  It appears she’s done neither.  Instead her efforts have made an impossible situation worse. Oh dear!

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Winter Botany Study, Part 8: A Hint of Green? Hop Tree

With lots of sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60s, spring must be around the corner. It’s been like waiting for a pot of pasta water to boil though!

Hiking up into our favorite side canyon in the Copper Trail system, brought us to one of my favorite ”trees” that I’ve been monitoring for several years; the Hop Tree (aka wafer ash). More like a big shrub rather than a tree, this particular plant is snuggled against a protective hillside just west of a beautiful rockfall. The cool and moist rocky setting seems to be just perfect for the hop tree and about 20 nearby relatives to flourish year after year. Last year at this time the buds were beginning to swell. Yesterday (March 26th) there was only a hint of green.

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Escapito #1 Focus Study: The Ballad of Goatheads Galore

I remember all too well our brief stay at Percha Dam State Park, and the little drama our dog, Luna, experienced while we were searching high and low for the elusive rufous-backed robin. Our birding naturally took us down sandy trails beneath the cottonwood gallery lining the Rio Grande River. Disappointed we never did see the robin, we were relieved when we got Luna back to BagoBago. Whew ……. I vowed to cement the memory in my mind by composing a ballad of her experience! Read on for the full story.

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Travel Journal, Escapito #1, 2022: Exploring Southern NM

March 14-18, 2022

New Mexico, our home state, is a wonderful state to explore, and this little 5 day Escapito lived up to expectations.  Over 650 miles round-trip, from central NM south and then east, we visited  3 new-to-us state parks, and revisited one of our favorite Bureau of Land Management campgrounds. Our main objective was to find migrating birds; those coming north from south of the border to breed in the US, and those that overwintered along the Rio Grande River corridor and are heading way north to Canada and Alaska.  We found some beautiful birds while exploring some very rugged country to within 12 miles of the Mexican border. 

With my travel journal in hand, I was able to capture a few pages of images and notes from the week. 

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Chapter 220301: Flambé’s latest Misadventure. An Impossible Invasion of Insectzzzzz!

March 1st and the sound of nearly Spring is in the air …. But wait! What’s all that buzzzzzzzzzzz? The sky is full of dreaded plump-winged stingers! Run Kat, Run!

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Chapter 220218: Flambé’s latest Misadventure. A Fiasco of Feral Frogs

In late February 2022 …. Flambé found friends in a fiasco of feral frogs, or so she thought.

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Winter Botany Study, Part 7: Mystery Nest

While we continue to get much needed moisture (snow) on our mountain, we continue to enjoy hiking the dry foothills of Albuquerque’s Open Spaces. The 2,000 foot drop in elevation is nudging spring along faster down there too. Already wormwood and globe mallow are sending up leaves from their perennial roots. While bending over to admire these soft fuzzy new leaves unfolding beneath the smooth sumac grove, I noticed that just inches away from my ear what appeared to be an old paper wasp nest! eeeeeeyikes! I hope no one saw me leap about 5 feet sideways!

After my heart slowed a bit, and with an audible sigh of relief at not being swarmed by angry wasps, I realized I had ”leapt” to a mistaken conclusion. Not a wasp nest at all, but a beautifully woven bird’s nest tucked securely in the fork of several sumac branches.

But what bird built this nest?

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Winter Botany Study, Part 6: Hygroscopic Earthstars

While anxiously looking for signs of spring, I was rummaging about under a scrub live oak yesterday just to see if that somewhat warm and protected site was harboring anything green. No luck, yet! But what I did find was small woody star sitting on top of the duff. Instantly I knew what it was (or so I thought). Always curious, the “star” made the trip home where I began poking and prodding and perusing the internet and my collection of mushroom field guides. Prepared to confirm my belief that this was the woody husk of a Puffball, after a few hours research I discovered how wrong I was. How the old adage, close is only good in horseshoes, is very true and that jumping to conclusions is often misleading. Oh really? puffball fungi don’t have woody husks! Time to geek out, again!

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Chapter 220210: Flambé’s latest Misadventure. The World of the Zumbadors  

Over the past several years, Flambé has managed to find mischief in curious places, despite her Covid lockdown.  She may share some of these missing years’ antics, but after receiving her FDA (Feline-Dog-Alpaca) vaccinations and boosters, Kat is back out there.  February 2022 ….

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Dispatches From New Mexico: Lazy R Welding

One of my favorite bumper stickers is, ”I chose the road less traveled. Now where the hell am I?” This reminds me a lot of what it’s like traveling about rural New Mexico. It’s always beautifully remote, ghostly quiet except for the sound of pointlessly spinning vanes of a long-abandoned windmill, and you never know what you’ll find around the next bend in the road.

So there we were navigating the back roads to Quarai …….

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