The 2 species of birds, above, are among my favorite yard birds, and they both have been kind enough to pose on my perch.
Here’s the “nature” part of this post. The American Kestrel who drops by fairly often was dining on a Yellow-rumped Warbler the other day. I know raptors need to eat but I always feel bad when nature takes its course anyway. The Yellow-rumped Warblers are just returning to town for the winter so this winter visitor didn’t get the welcome it wanted.😦
I have yet to see one this year so I hope this guy doesn’t eat all of them. Here are a couple more of my year-round favorite yard birds (and I hope they don’t get devoured).
Gila Woodpecker, female
This is the Water Room at Arizona Falls which I’ve blogged about before (1, 2). I thought I would take a little break from taking/posting bird and butterfly photos and play around with my fisheye lens for a couple days.
Arizona Falls is a public art project as well as a working hydroelectric plant providing power to 150 households. It’s a great place for photography and has a lot of interesting angles and features itself so using a fisheye only enhances that.
Not too far away is Papago Park which I have also written about numerous times.
With a fisheye, where you center the image vertically and horizontally affects how “bulged out” the image will be. If it’s centered horizontally, it will not be as distorted and will just provide a wide angle of view.
If you enlarge the above photo (a lot), you can see our downtown area with tall buildings, not quite skyscrapers. And here are a few more shots in a business district close to my house.
No birds! But you can actually see a couple ducks and a turtle in the office complex pond above.
I have no clue what this insect is but I’m trying to find out. He has some loooong antennae, though. He was soaking up the sunshine nibbling the lantana.
Today’s weather sounded more like a fortune than a forecast. I intended to go birding somewhere but made the often repeated mistake of sitting in the backyard watching the birds “for just a couple minutes,” and then it was too late to head out. Tomorrow…
Great-tailed Grackle, female
Anna’s Hummingbirds, males, molting
Verdin and Anna’s Hummingbird
You can see that Verdins are only a tiny bit larger than hummingbirds.
Honey Bee (with full pollen baskets)
American Kestrel, male
The female Kestrel flew in a few seconds later and all the rest of the birds took off. They soon left, empty-taloned.
Notice how the skippers, above and below, seem to have tiny little horns coming out of their heads? I never noticed that until today, after years of photographing them.
The lantana is the popular place to be if you’re a little flying critter. I’ve seen some other butterflies there in the last few days but haven’t been able to get any shots.
One morning last week I volunteered at the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG) and walked the garden afterwards. It was a gloomy day and a little cooler so I thought the birds would be out in full force. Wrong. I didn’t take one photo. Fortunately, I had been there the week before, though, and did get a few pictures…on another gloomy day.
And it was beginning to look autumnal…
These particular butterflies were all over the place. And so were the Lesser Goldfinches in all sorts of acrobatic positions:
Anna’s Hummingbirds, female and male
Creosote Gall (with midges inside!)
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Tagged Bees, Butterflies, Desert Botanical Garden, Flora, Gila Woodpecker, Green-tailed Towhee, Hummingbirds, Lesser Goldfinch, Parks, Starlings, Verdins
My birding has been almost non-existent the last few days even though I keep meaning to go out. Mornings are now cooler although it still gets to around 100° in the afternoons so it’s best to be an early bird. I hope to step it up this week. This is FALL migration, after all!
So many people in my Facebook birding group are getting exciting migrants in their yards but not us, yet…I keep looking, though.
All of the hummers in this post are Anna’s Hummingbirds. Other people in the area are getting Rufous and Black-chinned passing through so I hope to see something different soon. I am very glad that we have our Anna’s year-round, though. It would be lonely without them.
Abert’s Towhee (molting)
House Sparrow, male
House Finch, male (photobombed by House Sparrow)
Curve-billed Thrasher (showing his tongue and peanut)
And completing the Quadfecta of Doves:
Inca Doves, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove
So I did possibly (probably) get a new yard bird recently that is also a Life Bird. Many experienced birders agreed that this is a Clay-colored Sparrow (below), which would be somewhat out-of-range, but a couple identified it as a Brewer’s Sparrow which would make it not a Lifer and not a new yard bird.
I submitted it to eBird but never heard back and I’ve seen a few other people reporting Clay-coloreds in the area so I’m going with that for now. Yard Bird #30. Isn’t he cute and inquisitive looking? I’ve only seen him once; he must have moved on.
Be on the lookout for new and unusual birds in your areas during this migration period. You might see something awesome.