Pandemic Pandemonium

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, male and female

Anna’s Hummingbird, male

Cicada Exoskeleton

Lesser Goldfinches, female and male

Verdin, immature

Curve-billed Thrasher
Rosy-faced Lovebird
House Finch, female

Yes, it’s boring and hot here during the quarantine. Tonight we’re going out to try to get some shots of Comet NEOWISE. I already made the above attempt. Pretty impressive, huh? Next to come will be the monsoons.

Hope you are staying safe and finding a little excitement in your lives.

Sequestered

Thanks to my cousin, Deborah, for describing these times as “sequestered,” so I could use it for this title.

Anna’s Hummingbird, male, and yes, nature called in the last photo.

Abert’s Towhee

This is the stalk from an agave that my neighbors gave me as I wanted it for a photo perch. So…this is the only bird I have seen use it briefly! Still hoping for a little more action.

Verdin, immature

The above photo is of a Gray Hairstreak, not a particularly good shot, but you can see how the markings on the hindwing mimic antennae and eyes so that a potential predator may attack there rather than the head.

I had one more socially distanced visit with my friend, Maggie, in a park the other day. It has now become so hot in Phoenix that it is doubtful we can do that for a couple more months. Saw a couple birds:

Black Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird
American Kestrel
Almost full moon on July 2

Here is something else I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on lately. It’s something of a “Vision Board” or “Dream Board,” hoping that it will manifest if I wish it so. It’s a composite photo with several layers of symbolic/representative elements added:

This was the original photo that I used, taken on the Apache Trail:

Some of the elements added were taken from the internet (most of them) and a couple were from photos I’ve taken, including the tiny hummingbird in the upper left.

I’ve also spent many hours collecting some 19th century photos and writing fact-based, fictional stories about the subjects and further hoping to include them in my road trip. In fact, on the road trip photo above, the box of photos is pictured on the lower right hand side. So I want to do a Road Show within a Road Trip. Yes, I know I sound nutty: sequestering can do that to you.

if you would like to see the vintage photos and read their stories, I have linked it here on my blog as a PDF. You can download it or just read it here: Fanciful Facts.

More of the Same

Since March 13, other than going to stores only when necessary, I have seen 2 people…a friend I’ve met in a park about 4 times and my husband. I’ve briefly spoken to a couple neighbors from a distance and waved at a couple others. That’s been my boring life and, now with Arizona having a huge spike in Covid-19 cases because of reopening too soon, I guess that’s all I’m going to be doing for quite a while. And now it’s too hot to meet my friend in the park so that’s over. The above 3 photos were from when I met her the other day.

Everything else is from our yard which is also very hot now but it’s my only outlet. Things suck pretty bad here but I’m glad some of these guys drop by.

Inca Dove

Female and male Gila Woodpeckers

Female and male Anna’s Hummingbirds

Verdins, adult and fledgling

My companion, Ferguson
Northern Mockingbird fledgling
Curve-billed Thrasher
House Finch, immature

I hope your life is more interesting than mine unless you’re in a Covid hotspot…then I guess our lives should be boring. Maybe someday it will improve…doesn’t seem like it can happen for a loooong time, though.

Nature Photography

I have something new for my photographs. After seeing many of my photography and birding friends using a watermark on their photos, I decided to join the club after fighting it for awhile. I don’t think I will always use it but sometimes…

I have several Anna’s Hummingbirds in my yard but I think it’s usually the same male that lets me take his photo.

Curve-billed Thrashers

Lesser Goldfinch, female, nest-gathering
White-winged Dove

Verdins

Gila Woodpecker, female
Gulf Fritillary

I ordered the custom watermark from Photologo. Very reasonably priced.

Gilded Flickers, female and male
Rock Pigeon, cooling off

Skyward

On May 8, 3 WWII-era planes flew over the Phoenix area to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. They are part of the Commemorative Air Force from Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ. We went to a parking garage in Scottsdale and they flew right over us.

The lead plane is a B-17 Flying Fortress, known as “Sentimental Journey.” She has Betty Grable nose art. The other bomber to its left is a B-25 Mitchell Bomber, known as “Maid in the Shade,” which also has nose art, and the third plane is a C-47 Skytrain, known as “Old Number 30.” They fly out of Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ.

We had great views of them. I am partial to the Air Force as my father was in the Army Air Corps/Force during WWII. He flew on B-25s, B-29s, and AT-11 training planes as an instructor for Bombadier Navigators. Here is a photo of him and my mother after they were married in 1943 at Victorville Army Air Field in California (way before I was born, by the way):

The week before that, on May 1, 15 planes flew over the Phoenix area to honor first responders in the Covid-19 crisis. They flew over most of the area hospitals. There were 7 F-16s, 7 F-35s, and a refueler. They were from Luke Air Force Base, west of Phoenix. We went to a park closeby, thinking we would get a nice view but we didn’t really. When we got home, we found out they flew right over our street. I don’t really have any good shots.

But we were fortunate to be able to see both flyovers. This is the park we were at, Granada Park:

A few nights ago, we looked skyward and saw the Space Station going across the sky. If you want to see it where you live, go to this website and sign up. They will send you an email if it is visible from your location.

We also attempted to see Comet SWAN the other night, or rather, Tony did. He got up at 4am but couldn’t locate it in the sky. It remains to be seen if we will make another attempt before it disappears.

And that, plus the Flower Supermoon, from my last post, are all the sightings in the sky we have had lately.

But wait, here are 2 trees in our yard, reaching skyward, a Goldwater Pine and a Mesquite:

No birds in this post as I haven’t caught any flying lately. Next time…