Visions of Yellow


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 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!

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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.


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


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.


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

Cactus Flower and Bees

Yellow Cactus Flower



Santa Catalina Barrel Cactus


Lavender Flower at DBG

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

So This Happened…

Mulb 1

…It was a lonely early spring evening, maybe a year ago, maybe more. The delicious mulberries were slightly fermented…it was hard to stop eating them…

Thrash Perch 4.2.16Curve-billed Thrasher

Mock 7.22.15Northern Mockingbird

“Hey, we’re both in the Mimidae family, why would it be wrong?”

Mock x Thrasher 1Mockingbird x Thrasher Hybrid?

Here’s the facts:

  1. Mulberries do ferment and birds can get “drunk.”
  2. Mockingbirds and Thrashers are in the same family of birds and, if they live in close proximity, they can mate but it’s quite rare.
  3. We have mulberries, mockingbirds, and thrashers in our yard.

Did it happen?

Mock x Thrasher 2

Mock x Thrasher 3

Probably not. The expert birders in my Facebook group all agree that this is a Northern Mockingbird with a bill deformity. Sad, but it is busily building a nest with another mockingbird so it must have adapted. It certainly threw me for a loop when I first started seeing this bird, though.

In other less R-rated news in my yard…I hit yard bird species #26 with this bird:

WC Sparrow 3.27.16White-crowned Sparrow

WCSP 4.13.16

There were at least 4 of them here for 2-3 weeks but they don’t summer in Phoenix and I think they moved on a few days ago. I saw one lagging behind but it’s gone now, too.

WCSP Mulberry

Speaking of mulberries, they loved them. I don’t know if it led to any R or X-rated behavior, though.


And then yard bird species #27 stopped by:

CowbirdBrown-headed Cowbird, female

Cowbirds are parasitic nesters. “Females forgo building nests and instead put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen a summer. These they lay in the nests of other birds, abandoning their young to foster parents, usually at the expense of at least some of the host’s own chicks” (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). Looks like she’s looking for nests…

I’m almost sure I saw another bird in my yard that would have been a Lifer but I didn’t get a photo and I saw it for only a few seconds. It was a Plumbeous Vireo. I spent hours sitting in my yard waiting for it to reappear but it never did.

Oh, and the little Black-chinned Hummingbird that I mentioned a few posts back is still here. This tiny guy is speedy but I finally was able to capture a glimpse of his purple collar:

BCHU #.26.16

BCHU Purp Show

See? It’s barely visible, above.

The Magic Tunnel, etc.

Tunnel and Bldg_edited-1

I went to Dreamy Draw Recreation Area again the other day, part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve (past posts of mine from there 1, 2, 3). Dreamy Draw is the site of a purported 1947 UFO crash and it is said the dam was built to cover up the evidence. That may be urban legend but it is true that this area was full of mercury mines in the early 1900s and got its name from the “dreamy” miners who were affected by the toxins. At any rate, the place always gives me the slight creeps…

The tunnel goes under the freeway so hikers can easily get to the other part of the park. What you see on the other side is a dilapidated house in downtown Phoenix, a few miles away and a few years ago. I guess the mercury vapors are still floating around…or maybe it was the magic of Photoshop…

Dreamy Draw Dam_edited-1

This is the dam, above.


Metal Contraption

Spaceship debris?


Blurry Fence

This is an interesting article on the lore of Dreamy Draw.

Do you ever have a bunch of stray photos sitting on your desktop that don’t really go with anything else? I do and I’m trying to organize my photos today so I need to file these away.



This is not my photo. It’s a drone shot that my friend, Cynthia, sent me, taken on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, home of the Norfolk Pine, where she lives. It’s a very small island, owned by Australia, and 600 miles away from New Zealand. It’s where many of the Bounty mutineers settled and half of the current residents are their descendants. It also has a rich history of being a penal colony. Anyway, if you click on the photo, you can see her house on the left hand side with the red peaked roof. I wish I had a drone…


The following photos were taken in January, when my friend, Regina, who lives in Pittsburgh, was visiting Arizona. We had not seen each other in 40 years, since college days. I’ve posted photos from Sahuaro Ranch before (1, 2) but, on this particular day, I didn’t take many photos since Regina and I were catching up.


There are over 100 peacocks on the property as well as citrus orchards, a rose garden, chickens, and historic buildings. It’s a working farm, to some extent.


Siamese Orange

This park is owned by the City of Glendale. There are many feral cats on the property who are all neutered and fed and cared for by volunteers.

Palm Holes

Feather on Concrete

Brown Bunny

Bunnies, too.

Black Cat


Sonora, Chaco, and Pawnee

Sonora Front

Sonora Right

Sonora Full

Sonora x 3

Sonora 3

Sonora 1

Sonora 2Sonora, Bald Eagle

Sonora, Chaco, and Pawnee were at the annual get-together of my Facebook birding group (Birding–Arizona and the Southwest) at Gilbert Riparian Preserve last Sunday. These are all rescue birds from Liberty Wildlife that were either injured or imprinted on humans so are unable to live in the wild and are used for education purposes.

Sonora was permanently injured as a nestling when her nest was attacked by Africanized bees and her sibling was killed. Fortunately, she was rescued by Arizona Game and Fish and taken to Liberty Wildlife, where she now lives, and attends many educational events. She is a regular on the Verde Canyon Railroad’s Raptors on the Rails. It’s amazing to see how huge an eagle is up close.

Through donations and raffle ticket purchases, our group raised over $1200 for Liberty Wildlife this year. This is my post from last year’s event.

RT Hawk 1

RT Hawk Full

RT Hawk 2

RT Hawk 4

RT Hawk 5Chaco, Red-tailed Hawk

F Hawk 4

F Hawk Full

F Hawk 3

F Hawk 2

F Hawk 1Pawnee, Ferruginous Hawk