Hard to believe that October has come and gone.  I’ve been busy tending to my father who has been hospitalized for two months following surgery for mouth cancer.  His hospital stay was much longer than was anticipated, but considering his age (90) probably understandable.  He did stay almost five weeks at Select Specialty Hospital.  Neither my dad, nor I were happy with his care there.  While the nurses were good, trying to communicate with his doctor and case manager proved difficult at times.  After his first week, I had a conference call that included people from different specialties – therapy, respiratory, pharmacy, etc..  They talked about their goals for my dad during his stay.  We were supposed to have follow-up conference call in the third week to talk about progress but that never happened, not without lack of effort on my part.  Very frustrating.  Needless to say, he did not reach the goals identified in the first conference call.  I could never get information as to what was happening, although the nurses did say they all loved him.  He was finally released, at my insistence, and transferred to a skilled nursing facility.  Otherwise, I think he would still be in the hospital.  The communications with staff at the skilled nursing facility is a 180 degrees different from the hospital.  They contact you whenever there is a change in condition.  I’ve probably spoken with 7-8 different staff members about his care in the past week.   So different than what I experienced at Select Specialty Hospital.  These last two months have been very trying.

Clouds one morning on my neighborhood walk.  I do love clouds.

We actually had a day of rain – badly needed

A giraffe head I painted. I have it hanging on the living room wall. I love giraffes.

Also painted this Carolina Wren. Fun to do. Painting has helped my sanity.

And I also painted this Black-capped Chickadee.  My other paintings have been more abstract and loose, so haven’t included photos of those.

When I was able to get out and bird I returned to my favorite spot – Bubbling Ponds.   During most visits I generally saw a new bird (new for the year  – FOY – First of Year) – Yay!!!   Jack and Moxie came with me on some of the visits, sometimes I went alone.

Believe it or not, there is a Great Blue Heron at the top of the tree in the middle of the photograph

A closer view

Great Blue Heon

Not much color change yet

Moxie – everybody thinks she is such a pretty dog. I agree. And she is a really good bird dog. She doesn’t chase birds or bark at them. She sits quietly at my side when I stop to check out a bird.

Hooded Merganser – male

Habitat along Oak Creek

Black Hawk Trail

Jack checking out the birds at one of the two viewing platforms

Oak Creek – there is a large tree out-of-view that generally hosts a mixed flock of birds when we come by.  Fun!

With migration pretty much over, the number of birds observed at Bubbling Ponds has dwindled somewhat.  Still, it is always fun to bird and walk the area.   The birds we are always guaranteed to see are ducks (lots of Mallards, American Wigeons, and Ring-necked Ducks right now), Black and Say’s Phoebe, House Finch and Lesser Goldfinch, Belted Kingfisher (sometimes only heard), Great Blue Heron, Great-tailed Grackles, and Abert’s Towhee.

At home, we keep the feeders filled and have mostly House Sparrows.  Occasionally a Bewick’s Wren or two appear (one of my favorite birds) to check out the suet feeder or grab a drink of water.  A Ladderback Woodpecker likes the suet feeder also, along with a Ponderosa Pine in the yard.  The suet feeder is also favored by a large flock of Bushtits (another favorite bird).  Fun to see about 6-7 Bushtits all on the suet feeder at once.  And I added a new yard bird – a Eurasian Collared Dove.

We do have a neighborhood cat that we have to chase off regularly.  I keep thinking (okay hoping) the coyotes will get it, but no luck so far.  Saw it with a squirrel in its mouth the other day.  Oh was I steamed.  Damn cat.  Please people keep your cats indoors for their protection and for the protection of wildlife.

We did finally hike a trail near my father’s house.  The weather cooled down somewhat so off we went.  This trail – Baldwin Trail – was quite popular for a weekday.  The Sedona area has lots of trails and this is one busy area, especially on weekends.  The traffic coming up from the Phoenix area is heavy on weekends especially, even during times of Covid.  People are pretty good about social distancing on the trails – we always move off – and wearing masks.  Not everyone though.  While some people think it shows weakness if you wear a mask, I think it shows weakness if you DON’T wear a mask.

Views from the trail. You can actually get to the base of these rocks from another trail.

Those same peaks

Western Bluebird seen along the trail

This is definitely Red Rock Country

Beautiful country

Moxie and Jack on the trail. She stays close to us and is always under voice command. I commend the woman who trained her.  Thank you.

Moxie on the trail….

Despite the circumstances of our being in the Sedona area, it is nice not to have snow and plenty of sunshine.  In fact, for the entire two months I’ve been here it has been blue skies all but two days.  Not too shabby.  Of course it does make for very dry conditions, and that’s not good for wildlife or humans.