All Hummers

All of these photos are of male Anna’s Hummingbirds in our yard. We have some females, too, but they are keeping to themselves and don’t seem to want to pose long enough for photos. We have at least 4 males in the yard right now but I do think there is one in particular that poses the most…Comet. So here he and his friends are:

Waving to his friends

I just got some hummingbird (and butterfly) friendly plants to lure them in for pretty photos. So far, no go…Mexican Honeysuckle, Sage (salvia), and Lavender.

Back to the Backyard

Imagine my surprise one recent morning when I went into the backyard and spotted yardbird species #51 at the birdbath! A Black Phoebe took a quick drink and then flew off. I’ve never seen it since, wish I would, but it seems an unlikely place since I usually see them by bodies of water. I was glad it waited til I ran inside and grabbed my camera.

I was doubly surprised 2 days later to see a Say’s Phoebe diving for insects which was yardbird species #52! I see these birds often in parks but never in my yard. Once again, I have not seen it since. Phoebes are such pretty birds, I hope they visit again.

As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, a couple days later, I saw my favorite little bird, Tink (an Orange-crowned Warbler), return to our yard for the winter for the 5-6th season. At least I think and hope it was her. She seemed like the same bird, going back and forth between the 2 jelly feeders. I saw her for a few days and now have not seen her again for a few so I hope it was her and she plans to stay the winter. I don’t sit in my yard all day everyday so I could easily be missing her…I hope…I really wasn’t expecting her this year as I know they don’t live forever but, right on schedule, she returned…or so I think.

So those were exciting days! Here are a few of the Verdins who inhabit our yard all year…cute, tiny, and busy…

Verdins have roosting nests all year long. I think it’s where they sleep at night and hang out. The opening of the nests are on the side or bottom. Here is one leaving its nest in our pine tree:

They love jelly and oranges. Here they are in the little jelly house (click each to see larger):

An infrequent visitor to the yard is the Great-tailed Grackle. This female entertained me for awhile a few days ago and has been back since with another of her female friends:

They are loud, raucous, curious birds that are fun to watch. And those are some of the exciting goings-on in the backyard lately.

Herding Birds

The Photographer

It’s finally cooling off in Phoenix after a long, hot, dry summer so I’ve spent some more time outside in my yard. I’ve been trying to get the birds to pose doing various things by using food incentives, mostly peanuts, in addition to all the other things they get to eat here. The Curve-billed Thrashers (above) are always the most curious and willing to inspect new things. So who was taking whose picture here?

Here are a few more of the Thrashers cooperating with my plan: the Interloper, the Peanut House, the Goose-Step…

They’re such fun birds to have around.

Also semi-cooperative are the Abert’s Towhees:

And:

Eurasian Collared-Dove
House Sparrow, female

And a birdbath often gets some nice results:

Lesser Goldfinch, females
House Sparrow and House Finch, males
House Finches

And back to the most cooperative of all, a Thrasher:

Escape to Scottsdale

The above images of a Great Blue Heron and a tiny Verdin were taken at Indian School Park in Scottsdale where I had hoped to find a rarity reported there, a Magnolia Warbler, but did not. I actually do think I caught a fleeting glimpse of it from underneath but not enough to be sure so it will not be added to my life list. It was miserably hot so I sat in my car hoping someone else would come along and help me find it but no one did.

A few days later, it was slightly cooler in the morning so I met a friend while socially distanced at another park, Scottsdale Rotary Park. We sat and talked for a couple hours and I really only got these photos of a Say’s Phoebe:

As it warmed up, I stopped at one of my favorite parks, Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden, where I have found some lovely birds in the past. I didn’t stay too long because of the miserable heat we are still experiencing here in the Phoenix area but here are a few shots;

Bewick’s Wren
Gila Woodpecker, male
Say’s Phoebe
Rosy-faced Lovebird

Like everyone else here, I can’t wait until it’s cool and I can at least go out to parks amidst this stupid pandemic…maybe next week.

Meanwhile, back at home, here are a few shots of doves, not my favorite birds although the little Inca Doves (first 2 shots) are sweet:

And I thought this dove looked slightly angelic:

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Also seen flying around the Phoenix area:

Escape to Gilbert

Mexican Amberwing on Amaranth

I escaped my quarantine the other day, in the late afternoon, for a couple of hours. I went to the Gilbert Riparian Preserve where I go about once a year. I should really go more often as there is an extreme diversity of all sorts of birds…water birds, songbirds, raptors, and always a rarity or 2. I went in pursuit of a rarity this time. I had seen literally hundreds of photos of a Roseate Spoonbill that has been there for a few weeks in my Facebook birding group. Most of the photos were so pretty, up close, so you could see its pink feathered fluffiness in detail. Well, I didn’t get there until about 4pm and I heard it had left for the day so I walked around looking, to no avail, but saw a lot of other birds. About 6pm, as it was getting dark, disappointed, I headed back to my car and saw it in a different pond than those it usually frequents! It was out quite a ways and it was getting dark so I didn’t get those pretty, detailed photos that I had seen from other people. But I saw it and it was awesome and it was a new life bird (lifer)! And I have proof:

It has giant black feet! This is not a bird that you find in Arizona normally. It likes Florida and Texas and other Gulf coasts. Actually, right now there are also 3 more of them at Glendale Recharge Ponds, too, on the completely opposite side of town. I would love to go see them and if it ever cools off here before they leave, I am going to go look for them, too.

But here are a few more of the birds I saw before finding it…

Great Egrets

Great Blue Herons

Green Heron

Snowy Egret

This beautiful red amaranth was all over; I had never seen it there before.

Mallard in Amaranth

Now for some songbirds…

Yellow-rumped Warblers (last photo indicates source of name)

Say’s Phoebe
White-crowned Sparrow
Vermilion Flycatcher, immature male, SO CUTE!
Orange-crowned Warbler
Townsend’s Warbler

Different than my yard birds! This makes me want to get back out there birding after this intense heat we have had, much longer than usual, and this horrible quarantine we’re in!!!! It was nice to have a change of scenery…