Phoenix 150

Rosy-faced Lovebird, juvenile

Gila Woodpecker

House Finch family

Brown-headed Cowbird

Gambel’s Quail, male

I have a few photos saved up for times like these, the dog days of summer, when it’s just too hot to get motivated to go anywhere. By using these five photos, all taken in local parks (above), I am drastically depleting my reserve. So we have to get back on the road again very soon…

We traded Tony’s 2003 Mustang, which needed some expensive work, in and got a new-to-us Ford Escape. We had been using my car for our day trips but we really needed more clearance for some of the rougher roads.

We have a lot of pets, including a diabetic cat that needs insulin every 12 hours so it’s easiest for us to go on day trips since it would be a lot to require of a pet-sitter. It’s best if the places we go are less than 2.5 hours away so we can spend a few hours at our destination before heading home. I used this online tool (freemaptools.com) to draw a radius of 150 miles around Phoenix to see what all might be included. But I noticed that these distances are “as the crow flies” and to really get to some of them would take up to 4 hours or so depending on the roads.

So I modified the parameters to 150 minutes from Phoenix, driving an average of 70 mph, and came up with this map, below:

Fortunately, there are a lot of beautiful places within these boundaries and we need to get exploring. There are birds and all sorts of fascinating things out there.

Here’s Google, our diabetic cat, posing as a Currency Manipulator. He’s doing well, having been diabetic for almost 2 years now.

 

Hot Town

Hibiscus, its 7th year

Summer in this city means photographing my yard because it’s too hot to go anywhere else…

Anna’s Hummingbirds

Fiery Skipper

Verdins, adult and juvenile

Abert’s Towhees, adult and juvenile

Water is life, we have plenty out for the critters…

Ornate Tree Lizard

Northern Mockingbird, juvenile

Rough Stink Bug

Curve-billed Thrasher, juvenile

House Sparrow, fledgling

House Finch, juvenile

Brown-headed Cowbird, juvenile

Svengali

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.

(Summer in the City, written by Steve Boone, Mark Sebastian, John Sebastian, 1966)

All Good in the ‘Hood

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Amazingly, four Wood Ducks have been hanging out about half of a mile away from our house in an odd little office complex pond (see a photo of it here). There are 3 males and 1 female. This was another lifer for me! They are not really common here and I’ve been trying to see one for a long time. I never thought I would see 4 at once! And so close to home!

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I’ve been there twice so far. The security guard said they fly in and out so they are spending their time somewhere else nearby, too. I’m hoping they plan to winter here. So beautiful!

our-perch-boy_edited-1House Sparrow, male

I’ve been trying to get the backyard birds to pose for holiday shots. Herding cats is easier than herding birds. I should have stuck with cat holiday shots.

our-perch-girlHouse Sparrow, female

Not surprisingly, only the sparrows are participating so far.

thrasher-straightCurve-billed Thrasher

towhee-12-7-16Abert’s Towhee

ocwa-suet_edited-1Orange-crowned Warbler

Last year I only saw our wintering warbler eating oranges but this year it is digging the suet, too.

verdin-12-3-16Verdin

inca-12-7-16Inca Dove

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hum-3-12-716Anna’s Hummingbird, male

 

Wintering

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It’s cold here in Phoenix right now…really. See?

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The birds in our yard are happy to have some food.

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annas-2-11-28-16Anna’s Hummingbirds, males

I was just telling a birder friend last weekend that I had a sweet Orange-crowned Warbler who wintered with me last year and that I hoped it would come back this year. Monday I walked outside and guess who was here? And I’m pretty sure it’s the same one because it has a little black “muzzle” around its bill. I’m so flattered and amazed that it came back to my yard and hope we have many photo shoots in the future.

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That same friend and I went on a little birding outing last weekend. She had yet to see the (rare for AZ)  Red-breasted Sapsucker that I mentioned in my last blog post. And I had never seen a Red-naped Sapsucker, reported at the same Scottsdale park. It was a very cloudy day, not the best for photography, but we found her target bird:

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rbss-backRed-breasted Sapsucker

And we found my target bird, a lifer:

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rn-sapsucker-2Red-naped Sapsucker

It had been months since I last had a lifer. My friend and I then went back to Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden as she had never been there. No lifers and not much bird action at all on a cold, cloudy day.

mock-sxg-11-26-16Northern Mockingbird

costasCosta’s Hummingbird

LIFE WITHOUT MARBLES

In sadder news, we had our almost 19 year old cat, Marbles, put to sleep last week. The vet came to our house and it was very peaceful. Marbles left purring.

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He loved laying in sunny spots. We didn’t get Marbles until he was 6 so we only spent 12 and a half years with him. He was always a very small cat but very alpha, especially the first few years. He mellowed later on and he and Google were great brothers.

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This is Google saying goodbye on his last day.

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Kitty dynamics always change when one dies. We still have 3 indoor cats, who don’t get along with each other very well. Maybe that will change now. And we also have our many outdoor cats. Soon I will update on them.