The Lull

Skipper Head-on

Skipper with Bokeh 8.17.19_edited-1Fiery Skippers

The lull is before the next road trip or before it finally cools off here after what seemed to me to be an extra hot summer. We had a record number of 110° plus days. It’s still over 100 most days but, hopefully, it will stay below 110 now. So our yard, once again, is the only place I’ve taken photos.

Anna's Pine

Anna's 9.1.19Anna’s Hummingbirds

Grasshopper 1

Kestrel 8.25American Kestrel

Gila WP 8.15.19Gila Woodpecker

Thrasher Peanut 8.19.19Curve-billed Thrasher, with peanut

Towhee HotAbert’s Towhee

Verdin BokehVerdin

Anna's Up 9.14.19_edited-1

Looking forward to cooler weather and more destinations.

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Mount Lemmon

Geology Vista Point Closeup

Geology Vista Point_edited-1Geology Vista Point

Okay, as of right now, beautiful Mount Lemmon in Tucson is now my favorite Arizona destination. There is only an ugly 2 hour drive on I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson and then an annoying drive through Tucson between it and me.

Both Tony and I had been to Mt. Lemmon decades ago, separately, yet neither one of us really remembered it. If I had, it would not have taken so long to go back. It is awesomely beautiful and goes through several life zones before reaching the 9,000+ foot peak by an extremely nice 2 lane highway.

Hoodoo You Love

Hoodoos abound.

Bear Country

Pipevine SwallowtailPipevine Swallowtail

Lake View_edited-1

Neither of us even knew there was a lake up there…Rose Canyon Lake. Small yet gorgeous. Here are a few panoramas. If you want to see them larger, click here: 1, 2, 3.

Rose Canyon Lake Pano 2_edited-1

Rose Canyon Lake Pano 1_edited-1

Rose Canyon Lake 10 Pano_edited-1

Dam

Seriously sublime!

Dragonfly on Log

Red Dragonfly

I got my one and only lifer here.

Yellow-eyed Junco 2

Yellow-eyed JuncoYellow-eyed Junco

We actually saw several. Normally getting only one lifer when I knew so many others had to be there would have saddened me…not up here because it was just so awesome!

Dull Firetip SkipperDull Firetip Skipper

Chipping SparrowChipping Sparrow

Onward and upward we went through a beautiful census designated place (CDP) called Summerhaven, full of beautiful chalet-type summer homes. Yes, I want to live there now.

Bear Crossing

Abert's SquirrelAbert’s Squirrel

Purple Flower

The ski run was closed but this was the view from Ski Valley. This is the southernmost ski resort in the U.S. The temperature up here was a refreshing 75° while it was a toasty 113° in Phoenix.

From Ski Valley

This place was phenomenal!

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800!

Robin 4

I knew my next post–this one–was going to be my 800th so I thought it should be something special. However, I haven’t had anything particularly special to show so I figured I’d better do it now or I’ll totally get out of the blogging habit like so many of my original blogging friends seem to have done.

This bird probably doesn’t look very exciting to a lot of you and American Robins are pretty common in much of the U.S. However, they are not very common at all in the Phoenix area so I was totally shocked one day to see this guy in our yard. He’s an immature robin. He hung around all day, dipping in the bird bath, flying here and there. I thought he might stick around awhile but he was gone the next morning. I guess he was just passing through. This was yard bird species #48!

Robin 5

Robin 6

Robin 2

On another extremely hot day, there wasn’t much activity in the yard so I made an effort to find a few things…

Pine Cone Pot_edited-1

Gila FeatherGila Woodpecker Feather

Egg Feather

Skipper Fly Blur

Lantana Fluff

Sitting out in the yard for very long is not appealing when it hits 115° some days and 105° on a “nice” day so checking up on my little yard friends is sporadic and brief.

Thrasher 8.3.19Curve-billed Thrasher

Anna's 6.23.19Anna’s Hummingbird, male

BCHU F 8.3.19Black-chinned Hummingbird, female

Verdin Open Mouth

Verdin Feet In OrangeVerdins, adult and juvenile

This cute little cat drops by every few weeks and meows very pitifully. I thought she was homeless and would probably wind up joining our group at some point but she disappears for long periods of time and looks healthy so I’m hoping she has a home closeby.

Mystery Cat

So on to 900 now but that won’t be for a couple years…

 

The Green Corral

Deer Doe

We went somewhere finally! Back to Mount Ord (previous visits 1, 2, 3). It was 108° in Phoenix and only 93° there…it was still really hot to be walking around. But we got a change of scenery, some photos, some birds.

Queen

Cairns, the top one has a little critter, maybe a grasshopper?

Cairn 1

Cairn 2

We saw a man that we had met a couple years ago who lives up there; he’s a nice guy and we got his contact info this time. We also met another couple and talked to them for quite a long time. The woman knew a lot about birds.

Acorn WPAcorn Woodpecker

Hairy WPHairy Woodpecker

Dirt

Thistle

We didn’t go all the way to the top this time; we stayed in the ‘saddle,” which is a good place for birds. We heard a lot but the visuals weren’t very fruitful.

Mt. Ord Top

Top Closeup

So we headed back down the mountain.

Road Down

Agave

Far View Down

The views were pretty. We decided to stop at one more place before getting back on the highway…the green corral…

Green Corral

Saw this guy but had the wrong camera…

Hooded OrioleHooded Oriole

I went to switch cameras and tried to chase him down to get a better shot. I never saw him again but saw this guy instead:

Scott's Oriole 1

Scott's Oriole 2

Scott's Oriole 3_edited-1Scott’s Oriole

They were both lifers (birds I’ve never seen before)! And there was another lifer there, too, a Black-chinned Sparrow but I only have a blurry shot. So, in just a few minutes at this one stop, I got 3 lifers. What was a bad birding day became an excellent birding day.

And then we headed back to Phoenix at 108°

SR 87 Far

We turned left (south)…back to the stifling heat…but we’re used to summers in Phoenix, I guess.

SR 87 Close_edited-1State Route 87

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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