All Good in the ‘Hood

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Amazingly, four Wood Ducks have been hanging out about half of a mile away from our house in an odd little office complex pond (see a photo of it here). There are 3 males and 1 female. This was another lifer for me! They are not really common here and I’ve been trying to see one for a long time. I never thought I would see 4 at once! And so close to home!

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I’ve been there twice so far. The security guard said they fly in and out so they are spending their time somewhere else nearby, too. I’m hoping they plan to winter here. So beautiful!

our-perch-boy_edited-1House Sparrow, male

I’ve been trying to get the backyard birds to pose for holiday shots. Herding cats is easier than herding birds. I should have stuck with cat holiday shots.

our-perch-girlHouse Sparrow, female

Not surprisingly, only the sparrows are participating so far.

thrasher-straightCurve-billed Thrasher

towhee-12-7-16Abert’s Towhee

ocwa-suet_edited-1Orange-crowned Warbler

Last year I only saw our wintering warbler eating oranges but this year it is digging the suet, too.

verdin-12-3-16Verdin

inca-12-7-16Inca Dove

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hum-3-12-716Anna’s Hummingbird, male

 

Wintering

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It’s cold here in Phoenix right now…really. See?

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The birds in our yard are happy to have some food.

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annas-2-11-28-16Anna’s Hummingbirds, males

I was just telling a birder friend last weekend that I had a sweet Orange-crowned Warbler who wintered with me last year and that I hoped it would come back this year. Monday I walked outside and guess who was here? And I’m pretty sure it’s the same one because it has a little black “muzzle” around its bill. I’m so flattered and amazed that it came back to my yard and hope we have many photo shoots in the future.

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That same friend and I went on a little birding outing last weekend. She had yet to see the (rare for AZ)  Red-breasted Sapsucker that I mentioned in my last blog post. And I had never seen a Red-naped Sapsucker, reported at the same Scottsdale park. It was a very cloudy day, not the best for photography, but we found her target bird:

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rbss-backRed-breasted Sapsucker

And we found my target bird, a lifer:

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rn-sapsucker-2Red-naped Sapsucker

It had been months since I last had a lifer. My friend and I then went back to Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden as she had never been there. No lifers and not much bird action at all on a cold, cloudy day.

mock-sxg-11-26-16Northern Mockingbird

costasCosta’s Hummingbird

LIFE WITHOUT MARBLES

In sadder news, we had our almost 19 year old cat, Marbles, put to sleep last week. The vet came to our house and it was very peaceful. Marbles left purring.

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He loved laying in sunny spots. We didn’t get Marbles until he was 6 so we only spent 12 and a half years with him. He was always a very small cat but very alpha, especially the first few years. He mellowed later on and he and Google were great brothers.

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This is Google saying goodbye on his last day.

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Kitty dynamics always change when one dies. We still have 3 indoor cats, who don’t get along with each other very well. Maybe that will change now. And we also have our many outdoor cats. Soon I will update on them.

The Countdown

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I wasn’t going to get into the election because I don’t want to alienate anyone…but I changed my mind plus these are all the photos I have right now.

Both of these murals were done by local muralist Angel Diaz about voting against Maricopa County’s long-time, attention-grabbing, controversial Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. His opponent is ahead in the polls right now. Do you see the additional hidden message in the top mural? I didn’t notice it when I was there but see it now.

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I know tensions are running high on both sides so I won’t say much here. We voted early and dropped our ballots off at an early polling location a couple weeks ago.

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The Arizona Democratic Party has a sense of humor

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And they really had a taco truck there.

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Google’s PSA:

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You can probably guess who I’m voting for…

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At any rate, it will all be over in a couple days and we can get back to just the normal scary stuff like creepy clowns.

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The Heat is On

Sag Buds and Bloom

It was 100° this weekend but it wasn’t our first of the year. We’ve had a few the last couple of weeks. Starting today we have 4-5 days in the 90s so I hope to get out and catch a few more lifers or at least some pretty birds before 100°+ becomes the summer norm.

Leaf-footed Bug NymphsLeaf-footed Bug Nymphs on Hibiscus

Yard bird species #28 and #29:

Brewer's SparrowBrewer’s Sparrow

Phainopepla F_edited-1Phainopepla, female

Verdin Baby Orange

Verdin Baby Wings

Verdin SuetVerdin, juvenile

I’ve never seen the adult Verdins at the suet feeder but this little one loves suet and also hops around on the ground with the sparrows, something Verdins never do. I guess he/she is a free-thinking bird.

Finch F 5.7.16House Finch

Sparrow Baby

Baby SuetHouse Sparrow, fledgling

SparrowHouse Sparrow, juvenile

Baby Mock 5.7.16Northern Mockingbird, fledgling

Towhee ConcreteAbert’s Towhee

BCHU 5.7.16Black-chinned Hummingbird

GW 5.7.16Gila Woodpecker

The Backyard Mean Girls are more interested in bullying each other than chasing birds.

Edie 5.7.16Edie

Stripe SeriousStripey

Lilki Lou 4.14.16Lilki

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