These are all female Yellow-Rumped Warblers (Audubon’s) above. The males have yellow on the tops of their heads, too. These little warblers are the opposite of those I’ve shown lately. These guys head north for the summer, sometimes as close as northern AZ, and come back here for the winter. They have begun arriving. Several people saw their firsts of the year yesterday as did I.

I’ve had a few more lifer birds lately:


DSC_4751Rock Wren

Sparrow 2a

DSC_4299Brewer’s Sparrow

The following birds are not lifers but have crossed my path recently. I see Great Blue Herons often but the one, below, is the first I’ve ever seen at Granada Park:


Gila 8.31.15Gila Woodpecker

KestrelAmerican Kestrel, male

And a couple Verdins, which I see and post a lot. The one, below, was in a little greenbelt close to home. It was building a nest. Both the males and females build nests and they both look the same.

Verdin Nest Bldg 9.22.15

Verdin Nest 20 H

Below is a Verdin nest in our yard in our pine tree. The openings are usually on the side or bottom of the nest.

Verdin Nest 8.31.15

This is one of the Verdins in our yard, maybe the builder of the nest:

Verdin Sepia_edited-1

These photos were taken at home and several parks: Granada Park, Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden, Dreamy Draw Recreation Area, and 20th Street and Highland.





September 27th was a marvelous night for a moondance as the Super Blood Moon rose over Camelback Mountain in Phoenix at a little after 6 pm. It was Tony’s idea to go to the top floor of Biltmore Fashion Park’s parking garage. And, oddly, only a few other people had the same idea. It was truly [click that⇒] fantabulous!  We stayed for the whole event.



We were very lucky here in AZ to have clear skies. It was the best eclipse I’ve ever seen!


This morning…2 mornings after the awesome spectacle…

2 Mornings Later copy

Shots were all handheld with my Sigma 150-500mm lens, high ISO. #SuperBloodMoon

Headin’ South



DSC_4260Wilson’s Warbler

As I mentioned in a post earlier this month, I’ve been seeing some migrating birds around town as they pass through on their southward journeys. Even though I had already seen a Wilson’s Warbler at Desert Botanical Garden, I was totally excited to go out in my backyard a few days ago and see one happily hopping around one of our trees. He didn’t stay for long and I never saw him again but you can see he politely posed for me at many angles.

Townsend's Warbler 1

TW 2

TW 3

TW 4

TW 5Townsend’s Warbler

And I was totally happy to see some more Townsend’s Warblers at  Granada Park, another beautiful little bird that seems to like pine trees.



Flycatcher OtherPacific-Slope Flycatcher

And, yup, more of these flycatchers, too! I also saw a flycatcher in my yard but it was gone in a flash before I got my camera so I don’t know what kind it was :(

But there were also a couple more lifers in the last few days. These were both at Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden:



BTGW 3Black-Throated Gray Warbler



DSC_4003Willow Flycatcher

Time is slipping away but I’m still hoping to get some more migrants. Here is a brief summary of those I’ve seen:

Migrants x 6

 Bring on some more!

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Morning Wins

Fishhook FlowersBee on Fishhook Cactus


PL x 5 GreenPainted Lady

Roseate SkimmerRoseate Skimmer, male

Dragonfly 8.8.15_edited-1Roseate Skimmer, female

Dragonfly 9.11.15

Lizard 8.30.15Camouflaged Lizard

The lantanas have been buzzing with critters:




Hairstreak Chomp

This is a Gray Hairstreak, above, whose camouflaged tail has apparently met with a predator.  “This is a case of a “false head” in a butterfly. While the real head is inconspicuous, the posterior part of the wings bear a gaudy, attention-attracting false head, colored orange and replete with fake eyespots, fake antennae, and fake legs. Note as well that the wing patterns call attention to the fake head by converging on it.” I guess the camouflage worked but now it has nothing for the next time…

Below is a photo from last year of an intact hairstreak.


Moon 8.31.15

All but 2 of these photos were taken in (or, in the case of the moon, from) my yard. Thanks to the silly Belvita commercials, #morningwin is my favorite hashtag. Nothing like starting the day seeing something you think is awesome.

Here’s a fun article about Carolyn Lavender, a local artist I know, and whose yard I’ve taken bird photos in!

The Yard Guards

DSC_4146 crop

I have 4 hummingbird feeders, 2 in the front yard, 2 in the backyard. So there are 2 male Anna’s that have staked out the territory as their own: one in the front, one in the back. Above is the backyard guard who I call “Pete” (Sweet, Petite Pete).

This is “Newt” (Little Cute Newt), the front yard guard:


I don’t usually name my yard birds but a lot of people in the hummingbird Facebook group I belong to do, so I decided why not?

Lately, I’ve spent more time with Pete. One morning last week, I sat in my backyard for several hours reading with my camera close by. Pete stayed pretty near.

Hum 9.12.15

(Click to enlarge below photo for easier reading.)

Hummingbird Pee Story


There are some females (or immature males) around and they are permitted to occasionally grab a drink before the boys are in hot pursuit.

Sparkle Plenty

Red Feeder

But these 2 are always watching…and ready to head off an intruder…




DSC_3709“Get outta my yard!”

As an aside, if you have 6 minutes to spare, watch this totally cool and inspiring video about a wildlife photojournalist:

Joe Riis, National Geographic Adventure