Hummingbirds Tag

A Gulf fritillary rests on a Zinnia in the garden of author Steven T. Callan.

An Island of Our Own

A Gulf fritillary rests on a Zinnia in the garden of author Steven T. Callan.

Annuals, like Zinnia, attract several species of butterflies to the island, including tiger swallowtails, monarchs, pipevine swallowtails, buckeyes, painted ladies, and this gorgeous Gulf fritillary. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of nature without leaving the confines of our own property. Realizing that buying an island wasn’t a realistic option, we decided to do the next best thing and create one on our three-acre patch of oak woodland in the foothills of Northern California.

Our front yard in early spring, showing just a few of the 200 blue oaks on the island. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

An Island of Our Own

Our front yard in early spring, showing just a few of the 200 blue oaks on the island. Photo by Steven T. Callan.

Our front yard in early spring, showing just a few of the 200 blue oaks on the island. Photo by author.

Over the years, Kathy and I have often dreamed of escaping today’s fast-paced, hectic world and moving to an island of our own—an island of trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife, where we could experience the joys of nature without leaving the confines of our own property. Realizing that buying an island wasn’t a realistic option, we decided to do the next best thing and create one on our three-acre patch of oak woodland in the foothills of Northern California.

Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains. All photos by Steven T. Callan.

In Search of the Elegant Trogon

Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains. All photos by Steven T. Callan.

Entrance to Cave Creek Canyon and the Chiricahua Mountains. All photos by author.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds, but I really became hooked on bird-watching, or birding, as it’s often called, during the mid-seventies when I was a rookie Fish and Game warden down on the Colorado River. Warden Bill Peters and I were patrolling the river south of Earp, California, when we spotted a large bird off in the distance.  “That’s a peregrine,” said Peters, focusing his binoculars on the fast-flying raptor.  “Looks like a female.”