Vermilion Flycatcher, male
We had not been to Hassayampa River Preserve for 4 years so we went one day last week. I was hoping for some new birds, of course, as I know there are some reported there that I’ve never seen. Luck was not with me. We heard a ton of birds but just didn’t see many. It’s pretty dense there with a lot of very tall trees so the hiding is good. The first time we went all I saw were Vermilion Flycatchers and that’s pretty much all we saw this time, too. They are beautiful, though. Here are the posts I made back in 2013 where you can get a better idea of what the preserve looks like (1, 2, 3). This trip was photo-lite.
Vermilion Flycatcher, female
Hassayampa has been a Nature Conservancy preserve for over 25 years and will soon become part of the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department. Their parks are very well-maintained so I imagine some improvements will be occurring soon to this former ranch. It will become part of the new Vulture Mountains Recreation Area. Here’s a link if you’re interested.
Mistletoe clumps in Mesquite
So…I never post only 4 photos! A couple days before I left on my Indiana trip, I had heard about a very rare bird for our area in a neighborhood not too far from me, on the border of Phoenix and Scottsdale. The bird also visited the same yard last year at just about this time, just for a couple weeks. He has now left on his migration again but I was able to get some shots before he left.
Orchard Oriole, male
He was very flighty and spent a lot of time deep in the homeowner’s mesquite tree eating from her chuparosa (the reddish flowers). I was lucky to get one clear shot…and he was a lifer!
I also spotted this Gila Woodpecker couple checking out prime Scottsdale real estate. They usually nest in saguaros.
This was in the homeowner’s yard. She makes metal and clay wildlife sculptures.
Even though some of you may be buried in snow, winter has definitely left Phoenix: it’s been in the 90s. That is unseasonably warm and most of us hope it cools off again before it’s supposed to be that hot. But before winter is officially over, I wanted to post some of the birds that wintered in our yard.
Without a doubt I enjoyed this little guy, above (“Yellow Bird”), the most. He was here last winter, too, and I hope he comes back next year. It’s a drag getting attached to a wild animal, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again. The above photo was taken a couple days ago and I haven’t seen him since so maybe he has begun migration. Safe travels, little dude.
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s
This warbler, above, was the first time I’ve seen this species in our yard. It and the Orange-crowned Warbler were chasing each other around the mesquite tree the other day.
I only saw this bird, above, for one day. Last year we had several come in the spring when our mulberry trees got berries…that will happen in the next couple of weeks so maybe they will be back. Hoping for some other berry-eaters, too.
House Finches, male and female
Anna’s Hummingbirds, male and female
Gila Woodpecker, male
House Sparrow, female
Migration will be in full swing soon so I hope to see some new and exciting birds.
These first few photos were taken at St. Patrick’s County Park, also on the river.
There is a Bald Eagle nest at this park that has been inhabited for the last couple of years. The eagles took over an existing Red-tailed Hawk nest (I didn’t know they did that). Below is the nest.
And my mom and I saw one of the eagles in a nearby tree! Wish I had my birding lens for that. Here’s their Bald Eagle Live Cam.
On another day, I went to Madeline Bertrand County Park in nearby Niles, Michigan, and that’s where I got 4 lifers in less than an hour! These are birds we don’t see in Arizona.
Dark-eyed Junco, Slate-colored
I also saw a beautiful Blue Jay but the photos are pretty blurry.
Northern Cardinal, Indiana State Bird
We have Great-tailed Grackles in AZ but in Indiana, they have these guys all over the place (my 5th lifer):
The robins were in abundance everywhere, pudgy little things.
In the 2 weeks I was there, I experienced all the seasons but summer. The temperatures ranged from 19 to about 65. We had rain, snow, sleet, hail (golf ball-sized), tornados all around us, and a little sun. I prefer Arizona’s 2 seasons, beautiful and hot. I’m fortunate it was “mild” while I was there, for the most part. Bye, snow.