Honey Bee Twins
The bees like the birdbath, everyone likes the lantana. Just wish there were more butterflies around this year.
Rosy-faced Lovebirds, occasional visitors
Curve-billed Thrasher Scratcher
There are a couple of juvenile Verdins who are happily feeding themselves but now there appears to be an even younger fledgling Verdin who still needs to be fed by a parent. This is it flapping its wings and begging for food:
And it got fed, again and again…
And here’s an interesting little family of Abert’s Towhees:
Here is one of the adults feeding a juvenile Towhee:
And here is the same adult feeding its foster baby, a Brown-headed Cowbird!
The Brown-headed Cowbird is North America’s most common “brood parasite.” A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). They evolved this way because centuries ago this bird followed bison herds on the Great Plains, feeding on insects flushed from the grass by the grazers, and so did not have time to nest the normal way. Some people hate them and think they are “evil,” because heavy parasitism by cowbirds has pushed some species to the status of “endangered” and has probably hurt populations of some others (Audubon). I think it’s pretty interesting behavior.
Brown-headed Cowbird, juvenile
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Verdins (yellow-headed one is an adult)
On another unseasonably cool day in Phoenix, we went back to the Desert Botanical Garden. Here are some of the sights.
Cholla with Fruit
Cardons (native to northwestern Mexico)
Gila Woodpecker, male
See the bee, above?
Cactus Wren (Arizona State Bird)
Prickly Pear blooms
Saguaro blooms (Arizona State Flower)
Mourning Dove juveniles
Look what we saw! If it hadn’t been cloudy, the photos would have been much better but it’s the first time I ever got one without branches in front of it. It was also very windy that day!
Great Horned Owl
Great Blue Heron
Phoenix has had an amazing summer so far. Our temps, which normally would be around 100, have been in the 70s and 80s. This will all be ending soon, unfortunately, but we took advantage of the cool weather and went to a couple of local places.
These photos were taken at Arizona State University Research Park. GoDaddy, Edward Jones, and Amazon have offices there, among many other companies. Not like our typical walks out in nature, it was still kind of interesting. There are 3 large ponds, covering one mile, and a lot of fancy landscaping. Of course, it was cloudy and very windy so a lot of birds were laying low but we saw some water birds…
Green Heron, adult
Green Heron, juvenile
Great-tailed Grackle, female
Northern Rough-winged Swallows, fledglings
I could not figure out who this was until I studied my books for awhile:
The red eye was the giveaway…
Black-crowned Night-Heron, juvenile
Strange looking little guy but it didn’t mind the attention.
It was very nice to be able to walk around in late May and never get hot!
I met a very “confiding” bird when we went back to Seven Springs, north of Cave Creek, the other day. It really enjoyed being photographed, I think.
Some of its relatives were in a sycamore tree in one of the campgrounds. Ash-throated Flycatchers are secondary cavity nesters, meaning that they rely on nest holes originally made by other species, such as woodpeckers, or they use naturally occurring cavities in standing dead trees (Cornell). One guarded this nest while the other went to get food.
I got a lifer, only the second for 2019. Things have been tough. Bad shot:
It’s very lush there.
Argentine Thistle plus Bee
This is what the above spot looked like in December 2017.
One more of my cooperative friend:
Previous visits to Seven Springs: December 2017 and April 2018.
Abert’s Towhees have a very limited range, mostly in Arizona. They’re shy birds but this one wanted a bath so badly that he hopped right in~with me sitting very closeby.
I guess this is sort of more of the same from my last post. Late spring/early summer happenings in our yard.
Northern Mockingbird, adult and juvenile
Honeybee (in the birdbath)
Verdins (last one with nesting material)
We have a reprieve from the 100 degree days for the next couple of weeks, at least. Time to hit the road again…