Tempe

Snowy Fishing

SnowySnowy Egret

Last week I went to Tempe Town Lake which is a reservoir that occupies a portion of the dry riverbed of the Salt River (Río Salado). It’s 2 miles long and covers 224 acres. There are many beaches and parks along its length.

Cliff Swallow 1Cliff Swallow

River Sign

This is one of 603 10-inch-by-10-inch granite tablets placed at 24-foot intervals in the wall along the lake, written by Alberto Ríos, Arizona’s first Poet Laureate, telling the story of the Rio Salado.

Rios 2

OspreyOsprey

Back in February and March, the lake was drained to install a new dam on the west end. The City of Tempe replaced the inflatable rubber dam system with a new hydraulically-operated steel gate dam which is the country’s largest hydraulically-operated steel gate dam system. I was at the same little beach park back in March when the lake was almost empty (searching for a particular bird that I never found).

Lake Drained

GullsFranklin’s Gulls

However, in the almost empty lake, I did see about 10 of these gulls which, apparently, were quite rare to the area and, after I posted the above poor photo to my Facebook birding group, several other people went in search of those gulls over the next few days.

But the lake is full again now with nice clean water. When I was there the other day I also stopped by a little place close by on Arizona State University’s (my alma mater) main Tempe campus.

ASU DAP

It’s a small park, only 2.5 acres, used for research.

DAP Bio Sign

I have a feeling that, at the right time of the year, this little park is pretty birdy given its close proximity to the lake as well as having some reedy ponds and streams of its own but it wasn’t real active when I was there.

Finch CactusHouse Finch

FlycatcherAsh-throated Flycatcher

VerdinVerdin

But the best part of that little park was this beautiful metal gate at the entrance.

ASU Gate

ASU Gate 2

Fabricated from recycled steel piping, the botanic-themed gate Urban Forestry welcomes visitors and was donated to ASU by sculptors Joe Tyler and Scott Cisson. Here’s a photo of the gate closed from Joe Tyler’s website:

ASU-Desert-Arboretum-Park-Gates

He’s got some beautiful pieces displayed on his website if you enjoy metal work.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Heat is On

Sag Buds and Bloom

It was 100° this weekend but it wasn’t our first of the year. We’ve had a few the last couple of weeks. Starting today we have 4-5 days in the 90s so I hope to get out and catch a few more lifers or at least some pretty birds before 100°+ becomes the summer norm.

Leaf-footed Bug NymphsLeaf-footed Bug Nymphs on Hibiscus

Yard bird species #28 and #29:

Brewer's SparrowBrewer’s Sparrow

Phainopepla F_edited-1Phainopepla, female

Verdin Baby Orange

Verdin Baby Wings

Verdin SuetVerdin, juvenile

I’ve never seen the adult Verdins at the suet feeder but this little one loves suet and also hops around on the ground with the sparrows, something Verdins never do. I guess he/she is a free-thinking bird.

Finch F 5.7.16House Finch

Sparrow Baby

Baby SuetHouse Sparrow, fledgling

SparrowHouse Sparrow, juvenile

Baby Mock 5.7.16Northern Mockingbird, fledgling

Towhee ConcreteAbert’s Towhee

BCHU 5.7.16Black-chinned Hummingbird

GW 5.7.16Gila Woodpecker

The Backyard Mean Girls are more interested in bullying each other than chasing birds.

Edie 5.7.16Edie

Stripe SeriousStripey

Lilki Lou 4.14.16Lilki

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Critters Prettily Lit

Thrasher BuffetedCurve-billed Thrasher

The above bird was seen at Glendale Xeriscape Garden (on a very windy day). I’ve been to quite a few locations in the past couple of weeks looking for birds but didn’t get enough good shots at any to make a post on their own so the theme here is “pretty lighting.”

Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center:Hummer AudubonAnna’s Hummingbird, male

Phoebe Stick 1Black Phoebe

Sorry, Dragonfly :(

Sorry, Dragonfly😦

Tempe Town Lake:Verdin Munch 2Verdin

Desert Botanical Garden:Finch BabyHouse Finch, juvenile

RT Ground SquirrelRound-tailed Ground Squirrel

Glenrosa Estates (our yard):Towhee PineAbert’s Towhee

2 SkippersCommon-checkered and Fiery Skippers

IncasInca Doves

Liz MesquiteTree Lizard

Gila WPGila Woodpecker, male

BCHU BuzzyBlack-chinned Hummingbird, male

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*I’m adding this post to the weekly WordPress Photo Challenge because it represents how I view the Earth through my lens. Check some of the other blog posts out.

Visions of Yellow

WIWA M1

WIWA M Lemon

WIWA M2Wilson’s Warbler, male

Wilson's Warbler F

WWF 3Wilson’s Warbler, female

It’s that happy time of year again, Warbler Season, when the migrating warblers pass through our area on the way to their northern summer breeding grounds. These two Wilson’s Warblers were in my yard. I only saw the female once but the male has been around a couple days so far.

I saw some at the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG), too, where I also saw this warbler (which I think is a female but I’m not positive). I saw one of these last year in the same exact Mesquite tree but the photo I got was pretty bad):

MacGillivray's Warbler

MacGillivray's 3MacGillivray’s Warbler

Warblers are really hard to get photos of because they never stop moving and they like to hide behind branches and leaves all the time.

The following warbler was a lifer and a lot of people are trying to get looks at him! I succeeded on my first day of searching for him at the DBG, flitting around in some Texas Ebony trees.

Hermit Warbler 5

Hermit Warbler 4

Hermit Warbler 3

Hermit Warbler 2

Hermit Warbler 1

Hermit Warbler 6Hermit Warbler, male

OCWA Upside Down

OCWA 2

OCWA 3Orange-crowned Warbler

I also saw some Townsend’s Warblers at the DBG but didn’t get a shot. This is what they look like (from last year at the DBG):

DSC_3955Townsend’s Warbler

There are many, many other kinds of warblers so I hope I get to see something else new and exciting before spring migration ends.

As tiny, bright, and yellow as warblers…these guys were all over at the DBG although I’ve never had any in my yard:

Goldfinch M

GFMLesser Goldfinch, male

GFFLesser Goldfinch, female

Yellow is such a happy color. Happy May Day!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sonoran Light

Spiral 1_edited-1

Eden Green

Eden Blue

Eden Light Red

Eden Purple

These pieces are part of Bruce Munro’s Sonoran Light exhibit at the Desert Botanical Garden comprised of hundreds of miles of glowing fiber optics and many light-based installations.

Buttes

30,000 individual spheres of light are on the butte and surrounding area. The work involved in assembling this installation is remarkable in itself (click to enlarge for more detail).

Cactus Thing

Dome

This dome is made of recycled plastic water bottles as is another exhibit called Water Towers (my photos weren’t good as these are all handheld but you can see a photo of it here).

Dome Close

We went on a Saturday night, not the best night as it was jam-packed with people. It was interesting to see but, honestly, I prefer the garden in its natural beauty and wasn’t that thrilled. I was glad members get in for free.

Blue

To me, this is much prettier (also from the Desert Botanical Garden):

Cactus Flower and Bees

Yellow Cactus Flower

DSC_2271

DSC_0094

Santa Catalina Barrel Cactus

DSC_4265

Lavender Flower at DBG

It did provide me with a bird-free post, though, which I like to throw in every now and then.