Rosy-faced Lovebird, juvenile
House Finch family
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.
Hibiscus, its 7th year
Summer in this city means photographing my yard because it’s too hot to go anywhere else…
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
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)
A bouquet of birds, I mean. When I was little, living in Illinois, on May Day, we would make construction paper baskets, fill them with flowers (wildflowers, dandelions, flowers from our mothers’ gardens), leave them on a neighbor’s doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run and hide to watch them find their bouquets. Hardly anyone I mention this to knows what I’m talking about but we thought it was very exciting way back then and it really was a tradition (see NPR article). We would also have a May Pole at school. Now May Day is nothing special, I guess.
I just got this pretty copper hummingbird feeder, made by an Arizona artist. She has an Etsy shop where she sells a few different styles. The hummingbirds have been enjoying it even though I have several other feeders out, too, and it’s very easy to maintain. (Disclaimer: I don’t know her personally, I paid for mine, and am not getting a kickback.)
We have Verdins building nests again in our pine tree. Their nests have the entrance on the bottom.
Curve-billed Thrashers, adult and fledglings
House Finch, male
Costa’s Hummingbird, immature male
House Finch, fledgling
Gambel’s Quail chick
Wilson’s Warbler, male
Lesser Goldfinch, female
These photos were taken in our yard and the last 6 at the Desert Botanical Garden.
Happy May Day!
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Black-chinned Hummingbird, male
It is definitely spring here in Phoenix. Sorry if it isn’t where you are. Soon enough, we will be trying not to be miserable while you are basking in lovely weather. We had a lot of rain (for us) this winter so it’s extra vibrant this year. These photos are mostly from my yard but a few are from Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden (the first one and the last 3).
Palo Verde Sap
I noticed this colorful Yellow-rumped Warbler, below, feeding off the aloe and thought he looked unusual. He seems to have the characteristics of two different subspecies, the Myrtle and the Audubon’s. When I got home, I checked with my bird experts and they agreed that he is what is known as an “intergrade.” I think that’s a fancy word for “hybrid.” Anyway, these 2 subspecies only breed in a small area of Alberta, B.C., so he had a long trip down here. They are somewhat uncommon but not really “rare” in Arizona. Nevertheless, I was excited.
Yellow-rumped Warbler Myrtle x Audubon’s Intergrade, male
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.