I Can’t Blog…

…because I have virtually no photos! It’s really hot so I barely even sit in my yard or go anywhere locally and we haven’t gone on any road trips in over a month. But we will soon…so here are just a few so I don’t get out of the blogging habit!

A new mural appeared on a building not far from my house and provided me a new header image.

AZ Mural Rebel Lounge_edited-1

Macias and Pagac

Pretty cool. Also in my neighborhood is this old-fashioned barber shop that I kept noticing but never stopped to photograph until the other day:

Bel View 1_edited Lomo-1_edited-1

Bel View 2_Lomo

I made a new Facebook cover photo:

FB Cover_01_edited-3

And now a couple from my hot yard. The juicy oranges are a hit every day but especially on a sizzling day.

Orange Birds_01

That’s a juvenile Verdin, an Abert’s Towhee, and a Gila Woodpecker indulging. And from the Desert is Harsh series, I actually like this photo because of the shadow and don’t mean it to be gruesome. The lizard has a certain beauty, I think.

Lizard Decay 1

And not quite so lovely, a staple of Arizona’s monsoon season, coming soon, is a Palo Verde Beetle. They don’t live long once they reach this stage after years as an underground larvae. They’re huge, up to 5 inches, but totally harmless, just kinda creepy.

Palo Verde Beetle.jpg

I haven’t seen much of the fairies that live in this little house since it got hot so things have been a little slow around here.

House in the Woods

Hope to be back soon with some lovely photos of the cool north country.

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Yard Overview

Drama Bee

Bee. 6.1Leafcutter Bee

Skipper HeadonFiery Skipper

Mud DauberWasp

Twinsie BeesHoney Bee Twins

The bees like the birdbath, everyone likes the lantana. Just wish there were more butterflies around this year.

ROFL 5 5.9

ROFL 5.9_edited-1Rosy-faced Lovebirds, occasional visitors

GIWO 6.1Gila Woodpecker

Thrasher ScratcherCurve-billed Thrasher Scratcher

Baby Verdin in Orange 2

Verdin in TreeJuvenile Verdin

There are a couple of juvenile Verdins who are happily feeding themselves but now there appears to be an even younger fledgling Verdin who still needs to be fed by a parent. This is it flapping its wings and begging for food:

Verdin Baby

And it got fed, again and again…

Verdins A and J Orange 1

And here’s an interesting little family of Abert’s Towhees:

Towhee with Nut 5.27.19

Towhee Parent

Here is one of the adults feeding a juvenile Towhee:

Towhee Bio Baby

And here is the same adult feeding its foster baby, a Brown-headed Cowbird!

Towhee Foster Baby

The Brown-headed Cowbird is North America’s most common “brood parasite.” A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). They evolved this way because centuries ago this bird followed bison herds on the Great Plains, feeding on insects flushed from the grass by the grazers, and so did not have time to nest the normal way. Some people hate them and think they are “evil,” because heavy parasitism by cowbirds has pushed some species to the status of “endangered” and has probably hurt populations of some others (Audubon). I think it’s pretty interesting behavior.

BRHC JuvyBrown-headed Cowbird, juvenile

Anna's Closeup

Anna's 5.27.19Anna’s Hummingbird, male

ASU Research Park

GBH Sharpened

GBH 1

GBH 3Great Blue Heron

Phoenix has had an amazing summer so far. Our temps, which normally would be around 100, have been in the 70s and 80s. This will all be ending soon, unfortunately, but we took advantage of the cool weather and went to a couple of local places.

These photos were taken at Arizona State University Research Park. GoDaddy, Edward Jones, and Amazon have offices there, among many other companies. Not like our typical walks out in nature, it was still kind of interesting. There are 3 large ponds, covering one mile, and a lot of fancy landscaping. Of course, it was cloudy and very windy so a lot of birds were laying low but we saw some water birds…

Great EgretGreat Egret

Pond 1

Pond 3

Pond 4

Green Heron Adult 1Green Heron, adult

Green Heron Juvie

Green Heron Juvie 2_edited-1Green Heron, juvenile

Grackle GirlGreat-tailed Grackle, female

NRWS JuviesNorthern Rough-winged Swallows, fledglings

Ducks

Ducklings

Duck Butt

Ducky CloseupMallard Ducklings

I could not figure out who this was until I studied my books for awhile:

Night-Heron 2

Night-Heron 1

The red eye was the giveaway…

BCNH CloseupBlack-crowned Night-Heron, juvenile

Strange looking little guy but it didn’t mind the attention.

Pond 2

It was very nice to be able to walk around in late May and never get hot!

Humming, Buzzing, Chirping

Hummer Diag 3.24

Anna's Feeder 3.24

Anna's F 3.23

Anna's Boy 3.24

Anna's 3.24

Anna's 3.17

Anna's 3.13Anna’s Hummingbirds, female and male

It’s migration season and breeding season so birds are very active right now. Our yard is full of sights and sounds of spring. There is lots of territorial aggression going on at the hummingbird feeders. The rare Broad-billed Hummingbird stayed for 3-4 weeks but she has now moved on.

We now have at least 3 Black-chinned Hummingbirds (2 males). I assume some may be the same ones who have come for the last few years because they always come from about March-May. The males are very aggressive around the feeders and chase each other and the several Anna’s hummers all over. Fortunately, there are 4 feeders so everyone is able to get a turn eventually. The Black-chinneds make a funny, buzzing sound, totally different from the sound of an Anna’s. The sun has to hit them just right to make the males’ purple collars visible so it’s a fun challenge to try.

BCHU 2 3.22

BCHU 2 3.15

BCHU 1 3.25

(These smaller photos can be clicked on to make larger; I just don’t like feeder shots that much.)

BCHU Branch 3.17

This is the female, below. She is lankier with a whiter underside than the Anna’s Hummingbirds. They also have longer, slightly down-curved bills.

BCHU Female 3.24_edited-1

Here’s a few more of the tiny birds currently in our yard:

Verdin 3.23_edited-1Verdin

We have at least 3 in our yard. They are here year-round, desert birds.

OCWA 3.17

Tink Mesquite 3.23

OCWA Crown 3Orange-crowned Warbler

My favorite bird in the world, “Tink,” is still here. She usually leaves by the second week of March but I’m afraid she’s hooked on grape jelly and doesn’t want to leave. Everything I’ve read said that having food out doesn’t affect migration so she will probably leave soon. I finally caught a glimpse of her orange crown a few days ago (you can see it in the last photo, above). It isn’t normally visible. This is her 4th winter in our yard so I hope she’ll have a safe summer and come back next year.

YRWA 3.23

YRWA Shy Girl 3.23Yellow-rumped Warblers, Audubon’s, male and female

These guys will probably be migrating soon, too, although some do stay year-round, apparently. We’ll see. They don’t really seem to be a couple. I see the male (“Chatty”) all the time and he likes to follow Tink around rather than the female of his own species (“Shy Girl”).

I’m hoping we’ll get a few more migrants coming through, someone new and exciting, maybe. I haven’t had much luck lately getting new birds.

Bartlett Lake

Wildflowers on Lake

It’s spring in the desert! We went to Bartlett Lake to see the wildflowers that everyone has been raving about. With all the rain we’ve had, it’s supposed to be a great year for them and it was really beautiful: the lake and the wildflowers. It was a perfect day, temperatures in the 60s, deep blue skies, and wispy clouds.

Field of Wildflowers

Bartlett Lake is a reservoir that was formed by the damming of the Verde River, completed in 1939.

Bartlett Lake

We could even see snow-covered Four Peaks in the distance.

4 Peaks in Distance

This is the Yellow Cliffs area:

Yellow Cliffs

Yellow Cliffs Longshot

Another Yellow Cliff

The rocks of the cliffs take on their yellow coloration due to an extensive colony of yellow “crustose” lichen.

Lake Circle

Lake Shot 2_edited-1

Lake Shot

We saw quite a few people taking photos of the wildflowers but the lake itself was very quiet. One of the best things about being retired is being able to go places during the week and avoiding the crowds. We didn’t even see any ducks or other water birds.

Poppies

Several PoppiesMexican Poppies and Lupines

White Poppies

White Poppy

The white poppies are rarer.

Longshot Lake Ord

You can barely see snow-covered Mt. Ord in the distance, above, but this is it closer, below. You can see all the towers on top.

Mt. Ord Closer

All-in-all, it was a very nice day.