800!

Robin 4

I knew my next post–this one–was going to be my 800th so I thought it should be something special. However, I haven’t had anything particularly special to show so I figured I’d better do it now or I’ll totally get out of the blogging habit like so many of my original blogging friends seem to have done.

This bird probably doesn’t look very exciting to a lot of you and American Robins are pretty common in much of the U.S. However, they are not very common at all in the Phoenix area so I was totally shocked one day to see this guy in our yard. He’s an immature robin. He hung around all day, dipping in the bird bath, flying here and there. I thought he might stick around awhile but he was gone the next morning. I guess he was just passing through. This was yard bird species #48!

Robin 5

Robin 6

Robin 2

On another extremely hot day, there wasn’t much activity in the yard so I made an effort to find a few things…

Pine Cone Pot_edited-1

Gila FeatherGila Woodpecker Feather

Egg Feather

Skipper Fly Blur

Lantana Fluff

Sitting out in the yard for very long is not appealing when it hits 115° some days and 105° on a “nice” day so checking up on my little yard friends is sporadic and brief.

Thrasher 8.3.19Curve-billed Thrasher

Anna's 6.23.19Anna’s Hummingbird, male

BCHU F 8.3.19Black-chinned Hummingbird, female

Verdin Open Mouth

Verdin Feet In OrangeVerdins, adult and juvenile

This cute little cat drops by every few weeks and meows very pitifully. I thought she was homeless and would probably wind up joining our group at some point but she disappears for long periods of time and looks healthy so I’m hoping she has a home closeby.

Mystery Cat

So on to 900 now but that won’t be for a couple years…

 

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The Green Corral

Deer Doe

We went somewhere finally! Back to Mount Ord (previous visits 1, 2, 3). It was 108° in Phoenix and only 93° there…it was still really hot to be walking around. But we got a change of scenery, some photos, some birds.

Queen

Cairns, the top one has a little critter, maybe a grasshopper?

Cairn 1

Cairn 2

We saw a man that we had met a couple years ago who lives up there; he’s a nice guy and we got his contact info this time. We also met another couple and talked to them for quite a long time. The woman knew a lot about birds.

Acorn WPAcorn Woodpecker

Hairy WPHairy Woodpecker

Dirt

Thistle

We didn’t go all the way to the top this time; we stayed in the ‘saddle,” which is a good place for birds. We heard a lot but the visuals weren’t very fruitful.

Mt. Ord Top

Top Closeup

So we headed back down the mountain.

Road Down

Agave

Far View Down

The views were pretty. We decided to stop at one more place before getting back on the highway…the green corral…

Green Corral

Saw this guy but had the wrong camera…

Hooded OrioleHooded Oriole

I went to switch cameras and tried to chase him down to get a better shot. I never saw him again but saw this guy instead:

Scott's Oriole 1

Scott's Oriole 2

Scott's Oriole 3_edited-1Scott’s Oriole

They were both lifers (birds I’ve never seen before)! And there was another lifer there, too, a Black-chinned Sparrow but I only have a blurry shot. So, in just a few minutes at this one stop, I got 3 lifers. What was a bad birding day became an excellent birding day.

And then we headed back to Phoenix at 108°

SR 87 Far

We turned left (south)…back to the stifling heat…but we’re used to summers in Phoenix, I guess.

SR 87 Close_edited-1State Route 87

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I Can’t Blog…

…because I have virtually no photos! It’s really hot so I barely even sit in my yard or go anywhere locally and we haven’t gone on any road trips in over a month. But we will soon…so here are just a few so I don’t get out of the blogging habit!

A new mural appeared on a building not far from my house and provided me a new header image.

AZ Mural Rebel Lounge_edited-1

Macias and Pagac

Pretty cool. Also in my neighborhood is this old-fashioned barber shop that I kept noticing but never stopped to photograph until the other day:

Bel View 1_edited Lomo-1_edited-1

Bel View 2_Lomo

I made a new Facebook cover photo:

FB Cover_01_edited-3

And now a couple from my hot yard. The juicy oranges are a hit every day but especially on a sizzling day.

Orange Birds_01

That’s a juvenile Verdin, an Abert’s Towhee, and a Gila Woodpecker indulging. And from the Desert is Harsh series, I actually like this photo because of the shadow and don’t mean it to be gruesome. The lizard has a certain beauty, I think.

Lizard Decay 1

And not quite so lovely, a staple of Arizona’s monsoon season, coming soon, is a Palo Verde Beetle. They don’t live long once they reach this stage after years as an underground larvae. They’re huge, up to 5 inches, but totally harmless, just kinda creepy.

Palo Verde Beetle.jpg

I haven’t seen much of the fairies that live in this little house since it got hot so things have been a little slow around here.

House in the Woods

Hope to be back soon with some lovely photos of the cool north country.

Yard Overview

Drama Bee

Bee. 6.1Leafcutter Bee

Skipper HeadonFiery Skipper

Mud DauberWasp

Twinsie BeesHoney Bee Twins

The bees like the birdbath, everyone likes the lantana. Just wish there were more butterflies around this year.

ROFL 5 5.9

ROFL 5.9_edited-1Rosy-faced Lovebirds, occasional visitors

GIWO 6.1Gila Woodpecker

Thrasher ScratcherCurve-billed Thrasher Scratcher

Baby Verdin in Orange 2

Verdin in TreeJuvenile Verdin

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:

Verdin Baby

And it got fed, again and again…

Verdins A and J Orange 1

And here’s an interesting little family of Abert’s Towhees:

Towhee with Nut 5.27.19

Towhee Parent

Here is one of the adults feeding a juvenile Towhee:

Towhee Bio Baby

And here is the same adult feeding its foster baby, a Brown-headed Cowbird!

Towhee Foster Baby

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.

BRHC JuvyBrown-headed Cowbird, juvenile

Anna's Closeup

Anna's 5.27.19Anna’s Hummingbird, male

A Visit to DBG

Baby Verdin

Verdin Juvy and Adult

Baby Verdin 2Verdins (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 BerriesCholla with Fruit

Cardon 2

Cardon 1Cardons (native to northwestern Mexico)

GIWOGila Woodpecker, male

Artichoke BloomArtichokes

Gaillardia 2

See the bee, above?

Red Flower

GallardiasGaillardias

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren BackCactus Wren (Arizona State Bird)

Crested Saguaro

Crested Sag CloseupCrested Saguaro

Stages of a BloomPrickly Pear blooms

Sag BlossomsSaguaro blooms (Arizona State Flower)

Thing

DovesMourning 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!

GHO 1

GHOW 2Great Horned Owl

Camera Scene

Dove in Nest

Yellow Flower

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