Out on a Limb

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I’m out on a limb because today is the first day of my retirement after working 39 years for the same organization! I won’t have any personal income for another 10 months unless I take a part-time job but it should be okay anyway. Tony is still working for awhile and I have money saved just for this time.

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So I plan to be out in nature more and seeing more birds, at more places. Hopefully, it will be all fun and no worries.

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Today at Granada Park, I got another lifer, a Western Kingbird, so that is a fortuitous beginning to my new adventures. There were 2 of them but this one posed nicer:

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One of my bosses gave me this bracelet (with a Georgia O’Keeffe quote), below…always a good thought…

Take Time Cuff

Stripey Looking

“I’m looking…at birds and lizards.”

I Grass

“I’m looking at you with your dumb camera.”

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Bird House

For those days when I’m only backyard birding, I’ve added some new hummingbird feeders and props in hopes that the hummers and other birds will give me some pretty poses.

Hummer Swing

Hummer Feeding

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He’s nibbling bugs. Insects and nectar are the primary foods of hummingbirds but they will readily come to feeders. Having feeders for them entails some responsibility, though. You should never use the red, store-bought nectar. That can kill them! It’s very easy to make your own with pure cane sugar and water and you should never add red food coloring or any other additives. The recipe is at the end of this post.

The feeders need to be changed often as mold can form. Since hummingbirds are so small, mold can be very toxic to them.  Metal feeders can become rusty and that is also dangerous to such tiny critters.

Metal Feeder

HummZinger

The HummZingers are the easiest to clean and the birds seem to like them. They also have an ant moat. I don’t have problems with ants at my feeders but some people do.

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This glass feeder, above, is also fairly easy to clean. I have another feeder that isn’t quite as easy to clean and it has a metal tube but the tube seems to be galvanized. By changing the nectar often, mold does not form.

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This is also the only feeder that the sweet little Verdins in my yard can get nectar out of. They like to get underneath and drink the droplets that leak out. Sometimes they drink from the flower.

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Verdin Feeder

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“Don’t take my nectar away!”

Lisa Humminbird Nectar

We’re lucky that we have Anna’s Hummingbirds in our yard all year so the little effort that it takes to have them visit often and eat is worth the reward of watching and photographing them.

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“I’m happy I have lotsa feeders!”

If you want to see all sorts of beautiful hummingbird photos and learn more about the bejeweled little creatures, join The Hummingbird Whisperer on Facebook.

Granada Revisited

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Despite the continuing miserable heat and additional humidity of our monsoon season, I am still attempting to get to Granada Park at least once a week to see who might be hanging out there. These are from my last 2 trips there in the last couple of weeks, one with a new birding friend, Marika.

Finch?House Finch, possibly molting

Although I’m not usually overwhelmed with the quantity of birds, I normally see an interesting thing or 2 on my 2 mile walk or at least get a couple photos I like.

Bunny

I dropped by there late one afternoon (when it was extra hot!) and was surprised to see dozens of cottontails hanging out together. And I also saw about ten  nighthawks. The below photo is from a few weeks ago but the following 2 were taken on this same visit. I generally go in the morning so the wildlife was a little different in the afternoon.

Lesser Nighthawk 2Lesser Nighthawk

NH Fly

Nighthawk JuviLesser Nighthawk, juvenile

SquirrelHarris’s Antelope Squirrel

KestrelAmerican Kestrel, male

LovebirdRosy-faced Lovebird

I always look for this little guy, below, as he spends the whole summer at one of the lakes at Granada, and was there last summer, too. Soon, his relatives will be migrating here for the winter and I won’t be able to pick him out of the crowd anymore. I don’t know why he stays, he looks healthy. Maybe he just likes it here.

Ring-Necked DuckRing-necked Duck

We are in fall migration now so it’s the time to watch for birds not usually seen in your area (interesting article on migratory pathways). This was a lifer, hope to get plenty more this season! He was there just long enough for me to fire off one shot and off he went:

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My Early August Yard

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I’ve gone two posts and 16 days without any bird photos…so they’re back.

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The annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival was last weekend. I briefly thought about going but didn’t. However, we have our own hummer festival going on in our yard. There’s a lot of buzzing, diving, chasing going on.

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“Will you go out with me?”

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House Finch, female

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Northern Mockingbird

Eurasian Collared Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

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Why can’t they use that cute little swing I got them instead of perching on wires?

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Is it just my (hopeful) imagination or does the lighting look like early autumn? It doesn’t feel like it at all but it looks a little different…

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Transition/Transformation

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Queen Butterfly

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Today, July 31, was going to be a very special day for me…the day of my retirement after (literally) decades of working for a large, local healthcare organization. However, due to a request to stay for awhile until something in particular occurs there, I agreed to remain there part time for another couple of months, maybe 3-4, but not more than that. I was both excited and apprehensive to retire and I am both disappointed and slightly relieved to be staying a little longer. It’s been hard to make a decision.

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Fiery Skipper

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So, while today is not the occasion I had planned, and the celebration is not yet commencing, I will now only work 3 days a week and have a 4 day weekend EVERY WEEK! And the end is in sight…

Butterfly Symbolism

What is the meaning of the butterfly? This animal totem is primarily associated with symbolism of change and transformation.

Powerful transformation, metamorphosis in your life, personality
Moving through different life cycles
Renewal, rebirth
Lightness of being, playfulness
Elevation from earthly matters, tuning into emotional or spiritual
The world of the soul, the psyche

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Saddlebags

Roseate Skimmer

Roseate Skimmer

Dragonfly Meaning

The dragonfly is generally associated with the symbolic meaning of transformation. Common meanings for this animal totem:

Change and transformation
Adaptability
Joy, lightness of being
Symbol of the realm of emotions, invitation to dive deeper into your feeling
Being on the lookout for illusions and deceits, whether external or personal
Connection with nature’s spirits, fairies’ realms

(From Spirit Animals & Animal Totems)

That’s what I’m looking for: change, transformation, joy, lightness of being. I want to take more photos, see more birds, learn more, have more fun, do something meaningful and fulfilling to me…I’m hoping that the best times are yet to come…