Escape to Scottsdale

The above images of a Great Blue Heron and a tiny Verdin were taken at Indian School Park in Scottsdale where I had hoped to find a rarity reported there, a Magnolia Warbler, but did not. I actually do think I caught a fleeting glimpse of it from underneath but not enough to be sure so it will not be added to my life list. It was miserably hot so I sat in my car hoping someone else would come along and help me find it but no one did.

A few days later, it was slightly cooler in the morning so I met a friend while socially distanced at another park, Scottsdale Rotary Park. We sat and talked for a couple hours and I really only got these photos of a Say’s Phoebe:

As it warmed up, I stopped at one of my favorite parks, Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden, where I have found some lovely birds in the past. I didn’t stay too long because of the miserable heat we are still experiencing here in the Phoenix area but here are a few shots;

Bewick’s Wren
Gila Woodpecker, male
Say’s Phoebe
Rosy-faced Lovebird

Like everyone else here, I can’t wait until it’s cool and I can at least go out to parks amidst this stupid pandemic…maybe next week.

Meanwhile, back at home, here are a few shots of doves, not my favorite birds although the little Inca Doves (first 2 shots) are sweet:

And I thought this dove looked slightly angelic:

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Also seen flying around the Phoenix area:

Escape to Gilbert

Mexican Amberwing on Amaranth

I escaped my quarantine the other day, in the late afternoon, for a couple of hours. I went to the Gilbert Riparian Preserve where I go about once a year. I should really go more often as there is an extreme diversity of all sorts of birds…water birds, songbirds, raptors, and always a rarity or 2. I went in pursuit of a rarity this time. I had seen literally hundreds of photos of a Roseate Spoonbill that has been there for a few weeks in my Facebook birding group. Most of the photos were so pretty, up close, so you could see its pink feathered fluffiness in detail. Well, I didn’t get there until about 4pm and I heard it had left for the day so I walked around looking, to no avail, but saw a lot of other birds. About 6pm, as it was getting dark, disappointed, I headed back to my car and saw it in a different pond than those it usually frequents! It was out quite a ways and it was getting dark so I didn’t get those pretty, detailed photos that I had seen from other people. But I saw it and it was awesome and it was a new life bird (lifer)! And I have proof:

It has giant black feet! This is not a bird that you find in Arizona normally. It likes Florida and Texas and other Gulf coasts. Actually, right now there are also 3 more of them at Glendale Recharge Ponds, too, on the completely opposite side of town. I would love to go see them and if it ever cools off here before they leave, I am going to go look for them, too.

But here are a few more of the birds I saw before finding it…

Great Egrets

Great Blue Herons

Green Heron

Snowy Egret

This beautiful red amaranth was all over; I had never seen it there before.

Mallard in Amaranth

Now for some songbirds…

Yellow-rumped Warblers (last photo indicates source of name)

Say’s Phoebe
White-crowned Sparrow
Vermilion Flycatcher, immature male, SO CUTE!
Orange-crowned Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler

Different than my yard birds! This makes me want to get back out there birding after this intense heat we have had, much longer than usual, and this horrible quarantine we’re in!!!! It was nice to have a change of scenery…

Wings and Things

The Fiery Skippers are back, a sign of Fall but it’s still miserably hot here so not many other butterflies have shown up…just this Painted Lady missing part of its hind wings, still pretty, though:

The neighbor’s Desert Tortoise escaped last weekend and wandered into our yard.

The Phoenix sky looked like this on August 31:

And Anna’s Hummingbirds have been flying around:

Ferguson is looking upward, hoping for better times…

Still Staying Home

Gila Woodpeckers, male and Female

Abert’s Towhee
Lesser Goldfinch, male
Curve-billed Thrasher
House Finch, female

Yes, we’re still staying home and staying safe. Being retired, we can do that now. Not the funnest thing in the world but what are you gonna do? It’s also been really hot here but we have a day or 2 of reprieve right now so I was able to hang out with my backyard birds more than I usually do (and take a couple of neighborhood walks).

Okay, so now on to my 2 most cooperative Anna’s Hummingbirds, Comet, and Ole, an immature one. He is named “Ole” because he hangs out in the oleanders, far from Comet, who guards the backyard feeders. Ole uses the feeder in the front yard usually.

This is Comet:

This is Ole:

There are girls and a couple other males around but they are all skittish and not posers like Comet and Ole. Here’s a girl:

Fine Feathered Friends

Gila Woodpecker Feathers
Steller’s Jay Feather
Red-tailed Hawk Feather

A collection of Anna’s hummingbird photos over the last few days. I think most of them are the hummer I call “Comet” who definitely dominates the backyard feeders. But the last 3 are a younger male Anna’s, just beginning to grow his gorget feathers. He mostly stays by the feeder in the front yard. Probably smart. There are others around, too, but they just are too skittish most of the time.

And this is yet another Verdin nest that blew down during a recent wind. It was already an abandoned nest, though. We’re waiting for our monsoon season that has not quite happened yet and cooler temps that have not quite happened yet. Climate change, you know.