Beneath the Canopy

RC KingletRuby-crowned Kinglet (lifer in my yard!)

RC Kinglet 3

Even though we live in a very urban area in central Phoenix, our backyard is almost entirely covered with trees. On Google maps, you can’t see anything but treetops. It means there’s a whole other world under there and it also means most of my photos are high ISO because it’s dark, even on a sunny day (which is rare lately).

I’ve seen 24 species in our yard which isn’t bad for an urban setting. Here are a few of the birds that flit from branch to branch daily.

Thrasher 3 1.2.16Curve-billed Thrasher

Thrasher 4 1.2.16

Thrasher 1.2.16_edited-1

I love their Angry Bird look.

Mock 2 11.18.15Northern Mockingbird

Sparrow 1.2.16House Sparrow, female

DSC_1468Abert’s Towhee

Hum 12.5.15

Hum Fly 12.28.15_edited-1

Hum 12.8.15

Hum 1.2.16

Hum 2 12.5.15Anna’s Hummingbird

We have a huge Goldwater pine, a large mesquite, African sumac, mulberry, pomegranate, oleanders, queen palm, and California pepper. In the front, we have lantana, ficus, silk oak, and more African sumac. Most of these trees/bushes seem to provide some sort of seeds or other sustenance for the birds so I don’t have any feeders out other than for the hummers because I don’t want seed falling to the ground for birds to forage any more than happens naturally. We do have outdoor cats…

Pine in Yard


But…since the holidays, I have been putting out an orange a day and a few nuts high in the trees much to the excitement of several birds.

“OMG, is this for me?”

OCWA Orange cropOrange-crowned Warbler

Verdin Orange cropVerdin

Wood Thang

Tree Thang

Above our cozy, happy little canopy danger always lurks, however.

Kestrel 1.2.15American Kestrel

dsc_0508 aHarris’s Hawk

I know these guys have to eat, too, but I don’t want them eating my cute little birds.

dark, brimming with life
beneath the lush canopy
birds sing, eat, drink, fly

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B-Flies in the ‘Hood

Last year, in my yard, I got a Variegated Fritillary, some Skippers, and right down the alley, some Giant Swallowtails. This year I’m starting earlier and have a new one that I had to identify on the internet. These photos are of a Painted Lady!

There may have been 2. They’re fast and they’re hungry! Once again, as last year, they’re loving the lantana.

So I wrote another bad haiku in their honor:

Probing proboscis
Guzzles sweet nectar juices
Happy butterfly

And the Skippers are back, too! And probing. You can see their proboscises better by clicking on the photos.

Early Morning Gaggle

Crisp autumn morning
Elicits raucous, wild squawks:
Joyful, I am, yes.

I’m getting good at bad haiku.

When I first saw these birds the other morning, hooting and hollering, there were a lot more of them. By the time I got my camera, they had thinned out but they were still rowdy.

This Friday, October 15th, is Blog Action Day. Consider signing up your blog and participating. This year’s theme is Water. Maybe some good can come out of the collective consciousness.

Bad Haiku

Sun vs. Rain

glistening berries
sparkling in brilliant sunlight
foreshadow wet gloom

I can’t write poetry like my blogger friend, Unilove, but anyone can write bad haiku…and I just did.

I’m a traitor to my desert. I try to always preface my whine of “I hate rain,” with “I know we need it, but…” But I’m not the only one now…others are being bold and saying it, too.  For the past 6 weeks, we have had 1-2 rainy days a week, very unusual. I think we’ve already hit our average rainfall for the year. And that’s good, I know, because drought is really bad but I’m sick of it! And it’s going to rain again this weekend. We will have a lot of wildflowers because of it…and more bugs in the summer…and a lot of dandelions now but it’s a good thing…I guess.