The Long Hot Summer

24 and Cback Park

That’s my backyard..okay, not really. It’s a little greenbelt area not too far from where I live; I think it really belongs to some office complexes but it’s like a little park…that no one goes to.

Mesquite Tangle

It’s got some mature mesquite trees and I like their twisty limbs.

Mesquite Tangle 4

Mesquite Tangle 5

Mesquite Tangle 3

Mesquite Tangle 2

I’ve written about this place before, years ago (1 and 2). A lot of the trees have been cut way back since then but they’re still hanging in there.

Ferny

Meanwhile, back at the old ranch (home) a couple miles away, the birds are still loving our mesquite tree, not nearly as big as the ones above.

Anna's 3 6.30.16

Anna's 2 6.30.16

Hum 2 7.6.16Anna’s Hummingbird, males

Hum 2 Tail

See the 2 little tail feathers on this one? I don’t know if they’re growing in or if he lost part of his tail feathers somehow.

And here is a Dove of Peace, what we need right now:

ECDove PerchEurasian Collared-Dove

Grackle GirlGreat-tailed Grackle, female

Grackle Boy 2Great-tailed Grackle, male

Mr and Mrs Grackle

Towhee JuviAbert’s Towhee, juvenile

Thrasher HotCurve-billed Thrasher, juvenile

The poor birds walk around with their bills open all the time because of the unrelenting heat.

Mock PoolNorthern Mockingbird

But that’s not the only reason it’s a long hot summer…

Killing Flag with blood splatter

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Dead Horse Ranch

Dasher DHRBlue Dasher

Queen DHRQueen Butterfly

Yesterday we went to Clarkdale, AZ, to see an old friend of Tony’s who was visiting his parents there. After lunching in nearby Cottonwood, we went to Dead Horse Ranch State Park.

The developed portion of the park covers 423 acres with a 3,300 foot elevation. It is part of a six-mile reach of the river known as the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area. Its unique ecosystem, the Cottonwood and Willow riparian gallery forest, is one of less than 20 such riparian zones in the world. Life along the river changes with the seasons, giving visitors a glimpse of the numerous species of raptors, neotropical migrants, resident songbirds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. (AZ State Parks)

DHR 1

DHR 2

The story of the park’s name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, “the one with the dead horse, Dad!” The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale. (AZ State Parks)

DHR 3

DHR 4

Clear water makes the underwater world visible.

I had high hopes of adding many new birds to my life list but, no. We heard a lot of birds but mostly what we saw were Grackles, which we have in our own yard. With 3 lagoons and the Verde River, I was surprised to not see more water birds. All I saw were a Great Blue Heron, a Green Heron, a Mallard mom and her 2 young ones, and a Coot. We have more birds in our lakes in Phoenix so I don’t know why there weren’t more. The lagoons get stocked every other week so there are plenty of fish.

This bird, below, is a Lifer, though, the only one I got yesterday. This is an immature Bullock’s Oriole. A gust of wind blew and the bird took off right after this.

Bullocks Oriole DHR

DHR SparrowSong Sparrow

Lizard DHRArizona Striped Whiptail Lizard

Widow Skimmer DHRWidow Skimmer

Ants DHR_edited-1The Stuff of Nightmares

Tons of ants everywhere so we didn’t want to stand still too long.

DHR 6

DHR 8

Once again, wrong time of year to be at this park. It was only a few degrees cooler than Phoenix so it was still over 100°.  We did get some exercise, though, and saw a beautiful new-to-us park. I’m sure in the fall it will be very “birdy.”

Little Free Library Tour

27 Flower 1

27 Flower 2

27 Flower 3

27 Flower 4

Summertime is for a lot of things…even reading, right? Whether it’s because you live in steamy hot Phoenix where reading is one of the few things you can do or you enjoy reading on a nice sandy beach or poolside, it’s a fun pastime. So I went on a self-guided tour of 5 Little Free Libraries the other day. None of these are in my immediate neighborhood but they are in my general area, central Phoenix. This was my favorite; it was gorgeous with mosaic tile on it. The whole yard was full of beautiful artistic touches…I wish I knew the owners and could be friends with them!

27 Flower Totem

27 Flower Bird

And it looks like they like birds!

27 Flower Cat

And cats! We need to be friends!!!

Georgia 1

This one was also very pretty, matching their house. It’s such a nice thing to do, I think, to promote literacy and build community by maintaining one of these libraries. It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors.

Georgia 2

LFL

Pinchot 1

This library also matched the vivid blue trim on their house. This particular one seemed to be mostly full of children’s books.

Pinchot 2

I like how there is a little bench by the next one so you can peruse before you choose your book. Very welcoming.

Sheridan 1

Sheridan 2

Sheridan 3

Do you have any in your neighborhood? Would you like one? I definitely want one but we have sprinklers in our yard that would damage it fairly soon, I think, so I’m trying to figure out how we could get around that. This is the one I would like from the Little Free Library website: the Urban Reader. It’s also one of the cheaper ones they have and it’s made of stucco so I’m thinking it might be more durable. Then you fill it with some books and become the “steward” of your library. You can register it on their website so that it shows up on the map and you’re in business! (You don’t have to use their libraries if you prefer to build or make one yourself. I’m considering making a portable one out of a wooden crate with wheels so I can bring it in at night.)

getonthemap

Here’s the 5th library I saw but this one seems a little weather-beaten and it apparently is not a registered Little Free Library. It still had some good books in it and serves the same purpose.

Flynn

No little free libraries around you? Everyone but me probably knew this already but most public libraries now have e-books you can download to your various e-readers for FREE! All these years I’ve been helping Amazon grow when I could have gotten a lot of them for nothing. The only drawback is you (at least in the case of the Phoenix Public Library) only have 2 weeks before the book disappears from your device but sometimes you can renew. If the book is really good, 2 weeks is more than enough time to finish it.

Kindle_edited-1

The book above (that I paid for) is one of my 2 favorite books I’ve read so far this summer. The other is this one, by a local Phoenix journalist and author (that I also paid for, in hardback):

41KTktOsMJL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_

Check ’em out!

 

Beating the Heat

Verdin Juvy Orange_edited-1Verdin, immature

Verdin Feeder 6.20.16Verdin, adult

More like trying to beat the heat. Everyone seems to be surviving but looking a little miserable and some of the birds are a little ragged-looking. We have a bird bath, a little pool, and many containers of water all around and the sprinklers go on everyday so they have access to plenty of water and shade.

Suet Melted

My no-melt suet…melted.

Mock BillNorthern Mockingbird (with bill deformity)

I wrote about this guy, above, back in April; he or she is still doing well and I see him often. We had a mini-dust storm and this empty nest blew out of my neighbor’s tree. I think it was this mockingbird’s nest as it is always flying into that tree.

Mock Nest

Sparrow 6.16.16

Sparrow 6.17.16

Sparrow BacksideHouse Sparrow, female

Hib Bud 6.1.16

Hib 2Hibiscus

My hibiscus has had tons of buds and blooms although they are slowing down now with the intense heat. I also haven’t seen many butterflies around. I did see 2 this morning but couldn’t get a good shot.

BCHU F?

Hum Girl 6.20.16_edited-1

I don’t know if these female hummers are Anna’s or Black-chinned. Female hummingbirds are hard to distinguish. We have both kinds in our yard so I’m not sure but leaning toward Black-chinned. I’m open to correction, though.

Thrasher 2 6.14.16

Thrasher 6.17.16“I’m hot!!!!!!”

Thrasher 6.14.16Curve-billed Thrasher

Young Towhee 3

Young Towhee 2

Young TowheeAbert’s Towhee, immature

Dove Fortune

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Black Canyon City

Sag Flower

Sag Distance

Black Canyon City is about 50 miles from our house in central Phoenix. Today I felt like seeing something different and had hopes I would find some lifer birds (nope). I’ve never actually gone into the town before. It’s about 5° cooler there. If I had gone about 15 miles further north to Cordes Junction, it would have been about 10° cooler. Maybe next time.

Vermilion FlycatchersVermilion Flycatchers, female and male

Vermilion FVermilion Flycatcher, female

CW BCCCactus Wren

CW NestCactus Wren Nest (I think)

I do think I saw a lifer, a Summer Tanager, a bright rosy-red bird, but I didn’t get a photo and only got a brief look so I’m not positive. It flew onto private property so I couldn’t pursue it.

BCT Sign

BCC6

BCC5

BCC4

BCC 3

BCC CarMy trusty companion of 9 years

It’s a really pretty area. Just south of Black Canyon City on I-17 is Rock Springs, a small touristy area that is very popular because of its pies…Rock Springs Cafe and General Store.

RS Sign

RS

Lamps BCC

RSC Sign

So I brought one home…

Pie 2Chocolate Cream Pie

If you don’t see me around here for several more days, this is the reason…lack of photos due to this:

Weather 10 Day