I love observing and learning about the critters right in our own back yard. There is always something going on if you take the time to look…
The last few days, I moved my portable perch over to the only thing in our yard that has autumn colors…the pomegranate bush…which didn’t produce any pomegranates this year. That’s too bad because birds love pomegranates. Adding a few peanuts to the perch draws them in, though.
House Sparrows, female and male
This very strange looking little creature dropped by. Someone on Facebook was able to ID it for me. “Tylospilus acutissimus is a species of predatory stink bug in the family Pentatomidae. It is found in the Caribbean, Central America, North America, and South America.” (Wikipedia)
This moth was found floating in a tub of water in the backyard. I thought it was a goner but it flew away after a couple hours of rest…look at its cute face!
A Honeybee was upside down in a container of grape jelly filled with rain. I put her in a dry spot and gave her some jelly which you can see she is sucking up here and she flew away after awhile, too. Both took off to pollinate the world!
My favorite winter visitor also loves grape jelly…
Lesser Goldfinches, male and female (they love baths and thistle)
Here’s a few citizen scientist things you can do in your yard (click to go to articles):
Western Pygmy-Blue, smallest butterfly in North America
It’s been a glorious November, weather-wise, in Phoenix, following an equally glorious October.
Anna’s Hummingbirds, males
Svengali in the sunny catport (formerly the carport)
Google in the sun
Lesser Goldfinch, male
Orange-crowned Warbler (“Tink”)
This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever bought and I think it cost about $3.99. This is Pink Muhly Grass (Regal Mist), a non-invasive grass. It was tiny when I bought it, looked like a little tuft of grass and I had to ask our yard guy to not mow it or pull it out. I planted it in the remainder of a stump of a tree we had removed. First photo shows it now in all its pink glory, 2nd photo is of the stump, 3rd photo shows it when first planted in March 2017, 4th photo shows it in November 2017. It has grown a ton since then.
Western Pygmy-Blue in Muhly Grass
Lantana Berries, delicious to all
And…my 44th yard bird species…who seems to have only hung around for a couple days:
It was a very cute, tiny, curious, loud visitor. I wish I could have gotten a better photo before it took off…
We’ve had the best October ever, weather-wise. Due to some Pacific tropical storms, we had over 3 inches of rain in early October and it’s been far cooler than normal. Usually it’s still unbearably hot in October…not this year!!!! It’s been awesome.
Although I didn’t see any migrating birds in our yard and no new yard birds lately, we have had some colorful and more occasional visitors this month.
Ornate Tree Lizard
The rain brought fungi, gnats, and mosquitos. No fairies under those ‘shrooms.
Rosy-faced Lovebird and Lesser Goldfinch (click to see larger)
Anna’s Hummingbirds, males
Gila Woodpecker, female
Look who’s getting excited about Halloween Trick or Treats!!!
Curve-billed Thrasher, House Finch, Northern Mockingbird (click to see larger)
And the most exciting visitor is this little bird (“Tink”). This is his/her 4th winter to come to our yard and this year she showed up a couple weeks earlier than last year. She loves grape jelly and usually stays until about April. I’m so glad to see her back. I know she will pose nicely for me several times this winter. According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “The oldest known Orange-crowned Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years, 7 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.” I just find it amazing that a bird can find its way back to a specific place year after year but it does happen. I feel flattered that she likes the accommodations.
October is a good month for Phoenix since the mornings and nights get cooler, although the days can still get hot. Right now, we have the remnants of Hurricane Rosa bringing us rain and clouds so it’s cooler than normal, high 70s-80s. Feels great after a long, hot summer.
The above photos were taken at Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden one day last week. I love the light there. I often see warblers there during migration but not this time.
The next few photos were taken yesterday at Desert Botanical Garden on a gloomy day. I mistakenly thought the birds would be out in full force but I was wrong again. There were a ton of Queens, though.
Gambel’s Quail, male
Sulphur with tattered wings
I just don’t know where all the migrating birds are!!! I keep looking. The following photos were taken in our yard last week. The skippers are out in full force.
Fiery Skipper in Lantana
Svengali does Elvis
It’s definitely beginning to look and feel like Fall here. Happy October!
Some days it’s only around 100° here now! The difference between 100 and 110+ is pretty significant. It’s almost bearable to sit out in the shade for an hour or so. We’re still in our monsoon season, though, so it’s humid (for AZ). But there are signs that the season will change…maybe not totally for a couple months but, in just one month, our nights will become pleasant again and that will be a relief. Meanwhile there are a few other signs of better times coming…
The lantana is blooming and there are more butterflies…
Orange Sulphur (I think)
No migrating birds spotted in our yard yet and those that are here are still molting and rough-looking but the Lesser Goldfinches are more plentiful and everyone is more active.
Verdins, adult and immature Curve-billed ThrasherInca Doves Gila Woodpecker, male
Anna’s Hummingbirds, male
Black-chinned Hummingbirds, male and female
And he flew off into the light…
After McCain’s death, he wrote in his 2018 memoir, The Restless Wave, the Audubon Society will make [part of the land on his Cornville, AZ ranch] a special birding area.
“The thought of that pleases me very much,” he wrote. (azcentral)