September at the DBG

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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.

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And it was beginning to look autumnal…

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queen-2Queen Butterfly

These particular butterflies were all over the place. And so were the Lesser Goldfinches in all sorts of acrobatic positions:

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2-more-goldfinches

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bee-hive

gila-wpGila Woodpecker

green-tailed-towheeGreen-tailed Towhee

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hum-dbgAnna’s Hummingbirds, female and male

gallCreosote Gall (with midges inside!)

starling-silhouetteEuropean Starlings

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September in My Yard

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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!

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So many people in my Facebook birding group are getting exciting migrants in their yards but not us, yet…I keep looking, though.

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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.

towhee-molt-8-29-16Abert’s Towhee (molting)

sparrow-perch-wingsHouse Sparrow, male

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finch-9-14-16House Finch, male (photobombed by House Sparrow)

thrasher-tongueCurve-billed Thrasher (showing his tongue and peanut)

eucd-9-5-16Eurasian Collared-Dove

And completing the Quadfecta of Doves:

page_1Inca Doves, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove

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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.

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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.

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Be on the lookout for new and unusual birds in your areas during this migration period. You might see something awesome.

B-flies and D-flies

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mournful-duskywing-3-againMournful Duskywing

The little skipper, above, is a first for my yard, and I love its name. I have now been back from the midwest for a couple weeks and trying to accumulate some birds and other critters for blog posts. All of these skippers have been in my yard lately but I’ve seen few other butterflies around which seems unusual. Hopefully, they will start up soon.

roseate-skimmer-gwrRoseate Skimmer

The dragonfly photos were taken at either Gilbert Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch or Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix…while searching for birds, pretty much unsuccessfully.

skipper-grayEufala Skipper

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mexican-amberwing-gwr_edited-2Mexican Amberwing

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skipper-8-27-16Fiery Skipper

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Fall is on its way…can’t wait.

Lookout Park

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As my mother and I left St. Joseph, Michigan, we stopped at another spot along the shore called Lookout Park. This park is along a cliff overlooking the lake and is a beautiful spot for just sitting and gazing out over Lake Michigan. You can park right along there and we saw many locals pulling in and eating dinner in their cars.

There used to be houses along this stretch but, in 1954, after a prolonged rain and previous erosion, the houses started to slide into the lake. I guess a couple of them did. Others were moved to other locations and this park was created to memorialize that event. Fortunately, no lives were lost. Across the street from this park are a lot of beautiful old homes from the same era that overlook the lake, too.

Gull Flying

Another point of interest in St. Joe is this railroad swing bridge that is still in operation a couple of times a day. Years ago, I saw it working.

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Swing Bridge

Here’s a short video of it in operation:

And, to finish off my trip to the midwest, I saw a bird that is seldom seen in Phoenix but all over the midwest:

RobinAmerican Robin

Cardinal BlessingNorthern Cardinal, male

The Northern Cardinal is Indiana’s State Bird and I did see them everywhere…as flashes of red darting through trees. I didn’t get one good photo of any!

Cardinal Silhouette

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Baby CardinalNorthern Cardinal, fledgling

Woodpecker Holes

I never saw the woodpecker that is often in my mother’s Sweet Gum tree, unfortunately, because it would have been a different kind than we have in Arizona.

Fungus Among Us

Her tree also had a pretty fungus.

Grass

Bye, Indiana and Michigan, where everything is lush and green.

 

Silver Beach

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Both Piers

These are the St. Joseph Lighthouses on Silver Beach in St. Joseph, Michigan. The North Pier has 2 lighthouses, both over 100 years old, but which have replaced previous lighthouses prior to that. The South Pier, which is the one I was on, has a conduit light at the end, not in a lighthouse, but in a little lookout tower.

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The city of St. Joe now owns the lights and they are fully operational, all 3 of them. They were renovated in 2015 for over $1 million. The piers at St. Joseph and Grand Haven are the only ones on the Great Lakes that retain their range lights and catwalks. The St. Joseph Pier Lights were featured on a postage stamp issued in 1995.

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Lighthouses fascinate me. You can read more about the history of these lights and see what the lighthouses look like in the winter here.

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Coming In

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Pier Mural

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Work Hard

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This is the South Pier, where the conduit light is located, at the top of the pole above. You can see that the pier has no fencing so you have to be careful to not be swept away when the waters are rough. It happens a few times a year when people are careless or overly daring.

Waves on Pier

South Pier

Looking back to land from the end of the South Pier. The North Pier is to the left.

Triangle Trees

RB GullRing-billed Gull

No Swimming

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Atlantic Look

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If I ever wanted to live in the midwest again (and I don’t), it would be in St. Joe. But, next best thing, they have a livestream going all the time so I can check out the lighthouses any time, day or night. I mostly look forward to nice Arizona winter days in the 70s, looking at the ice-covered lighthouses. You can see the livestream here.

I blogged about St. Joe a few years ago here.

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