“How many peanuts can I fit in my bill?”
It was an exciting day in the yard last week when yard bird #38 showed up, haven’t seen it since:
Cooper’s Hawk, immature
House Finches, male feeding female (or young one)
Gila Woodpecker, male
This was also exciting (to me). After 24 years of living in this house and having our aloe veras multiply exponentially so that there are now several beds of them, we had one that bloomed yellow. How that hasn’t happened until now and why it’s the only one that is a different species is a mystery. The hummingbirds love the orange ones but didn’t seem impressed by this yellow one so the bees took over.
Honey Bee on yellow Aloe blooms
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s
Anna’s Hummingbird, female
Prepare for cuteness. This little Anna’s fledgling wants her mom to keep feeding her but mom thinks she needs to be on her own, with a little supervision:
You can see she’s able to find food with all the pollen on her bill. She just wants her mom to do it.
Here is my NSFW (Not Safe for Work) image, pretend it’s Nat Geo:
A sure sign of spring in the desert is the return of these guys, who love to drink the nectar from saguaro blossoms. As far as I know, there are very few or no saguaros in our neighborhood but we always get a few of them who hang out here. The blue eye shadow is very noticeable.
My little Orange-crowned Warbler that stayed in our yard for the last 5 months has now migrated, too. Hope he or she returns in the fall.
Happy Spring! I know it may not look like spring everywhere but it does here in Arizona. These first 3 shots were taken in our yard on the Vernal Equinox and the others were taken close to it.
Painted Lady on Lantana
There are actually 4 critters in the above photo, 2 besides the obvious butterfly and bee, which I didn’t see until editing the photo. The answers to this puzzle will appear at the end of this post.
Fiery Skipper on Lantana
Black-chinned Hummingbird, male
We only have Black-chinned hummers in the spring. I don’t know if this is the same one that has been coming for the last couple of years but he arrived on schedule and usually stays until May. It’s very hard to get a shot with the purple collar showing but here is one from last year. I hope he will be cooperative again this year. Right now he is very shy and skittish.
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Yesterday I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, specifically looking for this one particular bird that has been there for several weeks. I’m always amazed when I can find one little bird in a big place but this time I actually did within about 10 minutes and not where he normally hangs out. He should be migrating to California soon but maybe he has decided to stay. He is molting right now so his throat feathers will be more resplendent in coming weeks but he’s still pretty cute right now.
From Granada Park in Phoenix:
Yellow-rumped Warbler, female
From Lake Margherite in Scottsdale:
Northern Shoveler couple
From Evelyn Hallman Park in Tempe:
What says “Spring” like baby ducks?
The four critters in the butterfly and bee photo:
Curve-billed Thrasher with treat
The birds (and other critters) have been having a ball in our yard the last few days leading up to Halloween. In addition to their regular oranges, grape jelly, and suet, they’ve been enjoying bird seed packed with fruits and nuts that I recently won in the Pennington Wild Bird Photo Contest (with this photo). Plus they find extra goodies in the yard like insects, berries, and pomegranates.
Gilded Flicker, female, yard bird species #33
This girl, above, has started dropping by for a drink now and then. She’s so pretty.
Honey Bees enjoying pine sap
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
House Finch, female
White-crowned Sparrow, first of season
House Finches, male
Gila Woodpecker, male
Queen Butterfly in Mesquite
If this is the same warbler, this will be its third year to winter in our yard. He or she is also over a month early so I’m not positive it’s the same one yet. Time may tell…I hope it is or, if not, I hope the other one will show up later and I’ll have 2. There is grape jelly in this feeder and this bird loves it.
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Orange Sulphur (I think)
Our lantanas are filled with butterflies now, mostly Painted Ladies. I have never seen so many before at one time. This article might explain it.
Costa’s Hummingbird, female
Creosote Seed Pods
Lesser Goldfinch, bathing
I don’t like taking photos of butterflies with torn and tattered wings, too sad to know their lives are ending very soon, but it’s part of nature…
These photos were taken in our yard, the Desert Botanical Garden, and Dig It Gardens, my local urban nursery.
In March, this female Williamson’s Sapsucker showed up at the Desert Botanical Garden for a few days. She really loved the aloe nectar so she stayed in one area and was easy to find. They are rare here (preferring western mountains) so many birders went out to see her.
She looked very pretty foraging through the blooms.
These are from the new Butterfly Pavilion at DBG. I guess I don’t enjoy photographing them in a controlled setting like that; it’s more challenging to get them in their native environments. Apparently both these species can be found in Arizona but I’ve never seen them.
Desert Spiny Lizard
Lesser Goldfinch, female
Gambel’s Quail, male
And just in time for Easter!