The European Starlings were decorating their cactus the other day at Granada Park, which I am now considering my “home park.” It’s the closest city park with a lake (2 of them) to our house and it also has trails leading out into the desert foothills of Piestewa Peak, part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
“I refuse to be outdone by those Starlings!”
So it has both desert and water habitats and the resulting wildlife. I go there at least once a week with my camera. A lot of my photos in the last few months were taken there.
There’s a little hidden area where someone keeps the bird feeders stocked. Unfortunately, the birds hear me coming and fly away before I can get any good shots of them.
Although there are currently migrating Mallards, American Wigeons, American Coots, and Ring-Necked Ducks there, these are some of the year-round regulars that are basically just hybirds and domestic ducks (“City Park Specials”) but I think they are handsome, nevertheless.
I love this guy, above, who looks like he is posing for me. He hangs out with a couple of the big white ducks and geese most of the time.
And a few fun-loving Mallards to finish it off:
*Certain Photoshopped elements courtesy of Obsidian Dawn.
Not these guys, they’re here in force year-round, the Rosy-Faced Lovebirds, feral descendants of tame birds that survive well in the Phoenix area. But this is the time for the migrating birds to start showing up for the winter, along with the other snowbirds we get.
So last weekend at Granada Park in central Phoenix, close to where I live, I checked out who was around:
White-Crowned Sparrows make their annual reappearance this time of year.
Flocks of American Wigeons descend on our fair city. They make the cutest sounds, not quacks at all.
More American Coots with their funny feet arrive.
The wild Mallards show up although I’m not sure if this is a pure one since we have Mallard hybrids around all year.
The small, elegant Ring-Necked Ducks (also known as Blackjacks) make their presence known as flocks fill up the local lakes.
The European Starlings were watching the arrivals with me.
I see a lot of doves but not usually Mourning Doves.
I guess this might be a hawk nest? It was almost 2 feet long but it was just slightly above eye level so I can’t imagine a hawk having a nest that low. I’ll be going back to this park this weekend to see who else might be in town and maybe I’ll find the resident.
I like to call these “Herodynamics.” We were back at Tres Rios a couple of weeks ago. This post will look a lot like my original post from there, 7 weeks earlier.
Black-Crowned Night Heron
Great Blue Heron
Below are the only photos I could get of the comical, cartoonish-looking Belted Kingfisher. They’re fast!
This is my souvenir from the day which, I assume, is from a Great Blue Heron as it is about a foot long.
We’re members at the Desert Botanical Garden so we (especially I) go there pretty often. It’s also known as a local birding hotspot. We were there last Sunday but the conditions were not optimal. It was very crowded with the Monarch exhibit, the Day of the Dead celebration, and construction so the birds were laying low but we found a few. I was pleased this male House Sparrow, above, posed for me. They’re very common, apparently, but not in my circles so I was excited to see him.
Always a popular crowd-pleaser, the Greater Roadrunners hang around the cafe mooching.
We saw a lot of really tiny butterflies, smaller than Skippers. I tried to ID them but haven’t been able to yet. Edit: Western Pygmy Blue, Marine Blue, Dainty Sulfur (thanks to someone in one of my Facebook groups).
They loved this half-dead plant. Pretty little critters.
When I saw this prompt, above, I had to take a shot:
I don’t know why I think this tree trunk is so pretty, but I do.
The Gambel’s Quails were abundant there.
Curve-Billed Thrasher, above.
But this guy was my favorite and last shot of the day.
I share an interest with our cats, maybe on a slightly different level, but we do have a common pastime. Meet the Birding Team:
The indoor researchers: Marbles, Google, Jessi, in the top row, left to right, and the field team: Ebony, Ivory, and Edie (the Triplets), in the 2nd row, and Svengali, Stripey Laurie, and Winky, in the 3rd row. Click on photo to see how exceptionally cute they all are.
Here are some birds I’ve seen in this last week since returning to sunny Phoenix, in my yard, my ‘hood, Papago Park, the Franciscan Renewal Center, and a small lake at a nearby office complex.
Mallard Hybrid (I think)
Posted in Cats, Home, Phoenix, The Route to Work
Tagged American Wigeon, Black Phoebe, Cactus Wren, Cats, ducks, Gambel's Quail, Geese, herons, Hummingbirds, Mockingbirds, Papago Park, Parks, Phoenix, Scottsdale