We’ve been very good during this loooooong quarantine, only doing essential shopping and initially walking in a closeby park, which we quit doing because there were plenty of social nondistancers. But one day last week I met a friend at Rotary Park in Scottsdale, where we sat six feet apart, and talked and watched the critters fly around and other people walk around. It was a lovely day and nice to have a break in the monotony.
We sat by the Butterfly Garden but only saw a couple of butterflies.
This little Lesser Goldfinch was the star of our visit, being very brave and seeming to enjoy our attention:
A good time was had by all. Then a few nights later, this was the Flower Supermoon, the last supermoon until April 2021:
And…just so I can file these 4 photos away, Tony and I went to Reach 11 in Phoenix right at the beginning of the quarantine. We easily socially distanced because there was hardly anyone around including birds and other animals:
Do you think life will ever be the “old normal” again? I don’t…
Woods Canyon Lake, east of Payson, that is. It’s one of our favorite places but we hadn’t been there yet this year. It didn’t disappoint and the temperature was 70°! We saw some areas of the lake we hadn’t seen before.
Some of the animals appreciated the peanuts (and a little popcorn) we brought for them.
Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Chipmunks have stripes through their faces, squirrels do not.
Hermit Thrushes (last one is a juvenile)
Okay, I’m sorry, I have way too many photos of the following birds but they were so loudly excited about the peanuts and so pretty that I couldn’t stop. I still have way more; maybe a post featuring just them will be forthcoming:
Almost as raucous as the jays were several of these guys:
…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.
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:
I made a new Facebook cover photo:
And now a couple from my hot yard. The juicy oranges are a hit every day but especially on a sizzling day.
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.
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.
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.
Hope to be back soon with some lovely photos of the cool north country.
The bees like the birdbath, everyone likes the lantana. Just wish there were more butterflies around this year.
Rosy-faced Lovebirds, occasional visitors
Curve-billed Thrasher Scratcher
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:
And it got fed, again and again…
And here’s an interesting little family of Abert’s Towhees:
Here is one of the adults feeding a juvenile Towhee:
And here is the same adult feeding its foster baby, a Brown-headed Cowbird!
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.
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…
Green Heron, adult
Green Heron, juvenile
Great-tailed Grackle, female
Northern Rough-winged Swallows, fledglings
I could not figure out who this was until I studied my books for awhile:
The red eye was the giveaway…
Black-crowned Night-Heron, juvenile
Strange looking little guy but it didn’t mind the attention.
It was very nice to be able to walk around in late May and never get hot!