We went for a late afternoon walk around Desert Botanical Garden the other day. We had some really cold days here and, with the holidays and all, we haven’t been on one of our day trips for about a month so we have to get back on the road again soon. Meanwhile…
I thought the birds would be a little more active. We did see a lot of quail, doves, starlings but I didn’t take photos of them. We also saw a cute little wren that I would have liked to get a photo of to identify it but it wasn’t cooperative.
Anna’s or Costa’s Hummingbird, female
There were very few butterflies. I imagine many froze during the cold snap. 😦
Being at the Garden reminded me that I didn’t meet any of my goals for 2018! I had similar goals for 2017 and met them all but 2018 was different. Spending 5 weeks in Indiana unexpectedly threw me off for the whole year. When I got back, I couldn’t get back into the swing for quite awhile, one of my cats got very sick, and then the summer was so hot that I just decided I would chuck my 2018 goals:
Volunteer 100 hours at Desert Botanical Garden. Not even close (compared to 102.75 in 2017).
Find 50 new Lifers (new birds). Found 36 (compared to 58 in 2017).
Go on many AZ day trips with Tony. Went on 16 (compared to 23 in 2017).
Ialso went to a few parks on my own and a few expeditions with my birding friend, Karen, plus I went to a couple places back in Indiana so I did see many pretty sights, gorgeous birds, and other wildlife so I can’t really complain. But I’ve decided not to be too specific in my 2019 goals:
I hadn’t seen a Canvasback duck for a couple of years so it was fun to see two handsome drakes when I went to Granada Park, a Phoenix city park, the other day. Through part of 2014 and all of 2015 and 2016, I went to Granada Park about once a week and saw a lot of cool birds there. Starting in 2017, I quit finding new birds and it was kind of boring so I didn’t go much in 2017 and this is only the second time this year that I’ve gone. It was nice to be back on a crisp day. I didn’t see any new birds but it was still fun to see who may be spending the winter. Plenty of the following ducks were there:
American Wigeons, males
Northern Flicker, Red-shafted, female
Gilded Flicker, male
Mourning Dove, feeling sublime
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, female
It’s been really cold here, freezing at night, so many of the plants are covered up. The outdoor kitties have a lot of extra blankets and towels in their beds (and a new igloo but it only fits one, unfortunately) and the birds are bundled up.
Tink, the Orange-crowned Warbler, is happy for all the grape jelly but wishes it would warm up. She kindly posed for a New Year’s photo, though…
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!