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

Transitions

Towhee-Bath 2Abert’s Towhees have a very limited range, mostly in Arizona. They’re shy birds but this one wanted a bath so badly that he hopped right in~with me sitting very closeby.

Swallowtail 4.27Greater Swallowtail

Checkered White 5.3

Checkered White 3 5.3Checkered White

I guess this is sort of more of the same from my last post. Late spring/early summer happenings in our yard.

Mock in Pine Needles

Baby Mock 4.29Northern Mockingbird, adult and juvenile

Anna's Young Male 5.4

Anna's 4.29_edited-1

Anna's 2 4.29_edited-1

Anna's Feeder 4.6Anna’s Hummingbirds

Bee Reflection TopazHoneybee (in the birdbath)

BCHU at Feeder 5.4

BCHU Brakes_edited-1Black-chinned Hummingbirds

Verdin 5.4

Verdin Nest Making_edited-1Verdins (last one with nesting material)

We have a reprieve from the 100 degree days for the next couple of weeks, at least. Time to hit the road again…

Spring Heads Into Summer

Painted Lady 4.13Painted Lady

Bee Green EyesLeafcutter Bee

Fiery Skipper 4.12Fiery Skipper (with Green Bottle Fly)

Checkered SkipperCheckered-Skipper

Once again, the lantana is pulling the butterflies, bees, and flies into its sweet nectar. It totally froze this winter, turned black, and then came back to life again! Lantana is hearty.

So, sadly, my winter visitor birds have now moved on to their summer homes. Hope they come back next year! Especially my favorite, “Tink,” below:

OCWA New Branch 4.6Orange-crowned Warbler

YRWA 3.25Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, male (“Chatty”)

YRWA F 3.15Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, female (“Shy Girl”)

But, in return, the only migrator I saw~so far~in my yard was a Plumbeous Vireo and I didn’t get a photo because it left right away. But it as well as the following bird made my Yard Bird species count jump to 47:

Gambel's Quail YardGambel’s Quail

These quail are normally in desert areas, not crowded urban areas like where we live. I strongly discouraged this guy from settling in as quail spend so much time on the ground and lay their eggs on the ground. There are way too many cats for that to have a good outcome. So after 2 days of me shooing him off, he disappeared. I hope he got out of our cat-friendly neighborhood fast.

So we are now back to the year-round regulars:

Thrasher 3.5

Thrasher Discussion

Thrasher BabyCurve-billed Thrashers (above photo is a juvenile)

Towhee Nuts 4.6Abert’s Towhee (gathering nuts to take back to the nest)

Mock Mulberry_edited-1

Mock with BflyNorthern Mockingbirds (gathering food for nestlings)

House Finch, male and Lesser Goldfinch, female

Mourning Doves

Eurasian Collared-Dove and White-winged Dove

Gila 2.6Gila Woodpecker, male

Verdin 4.7Verdin

Starling OrangeEuropean Starling (bashing an orange)

And, of course, we have House Sparrows, too. Who doesn’t? Now we are settling in for another long, hot summer here in Phoenix.

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Great Backyard Bird Count 2019

Merlin 2 smaller

MerlinMerlin

On Valentine’s Day, I saw a new lifer and it was in my yard! A Merlin, I was totally shocked to see it there and sad, when I looked at the photos, to see it was dining on an Anna’s Hummingbird, no doubt one I have been feeding. I have photos but I know most people don’t want to see things like that. Neither did I, even though I know that’s nature, raptors have to eat, and if you feed birds in your yard, there’s a chance you’ll attract their predators, too. Still, a hummingbird…

This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count was held from February 15-18, sponsored by National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. My birder friend, Karen, and I were going to go out that Saturday but she was sick so that didn’t happen. It was a gloomy weekend and, finally, on Monday, I wanted to have something to report on eBird.org so I sat in the yard for awhile. Here are some of the birds I saw. Most photos were taken on that day.

YRWA 2 2.1

YRWA M 2.18

YRWA SidelitYellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, male

He has been in my yard for the last several weeks but on the day of the count, a female of his species also showed up, just to get counted! I have seen her a couple times since then, too, very cute.

YRWA F 2.18

YRWA F 2 2.18Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, female

LEGO 2.2Lesser Goldfinch, male

GIWO M 2.18

GIWO F 2.18Gila Woodpeckers, male and female

Towhee 2 2.18Abert’s Towhee

Verdin 2 2.18

Verdin 2.18Verdins

My favorite little bird wanted to be counted, for sure:

OCWA 2.2

OCWA 2 2.18

OCWA 1 2.18Orange-crowned Warbler

And my rare bird for this area is still hanging around:

BBHU 3 2.18

BBHU 3 2.8

BBHU 2 2.18_edited-1

BBHU 2 2.8

BBHU 1 2.18Broad-billed Hummingbird, female

Anna's 2.6

Anna's 2.5Anna’s Hummingbirds, male

And an occasional visitor to our yard also showed up to be counted that day, 2 of them, in fact:

ROFL 2.18Rosy-faced Lovebird (along with Eurasian Collared-Doves)

Altogether, I saw 16 species in the yard that day in about an hour and a half.