An Assortment

roadrunnerlong_edited-1

roadrunnerGreater Roadrunner

yrwabathingYellow-Rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

verdinVerdin

Those photos were taken at Desert Botanical Garden a couple weeks ago when I took a friend there.

Tony and I have not gone on one of our day trips for a few weeks now but we went over to Granada Park the other day, which was a dreary day, and saw these birds:

vf1

vf2Vermilion Flycatcher (first I’ve seen in central Phoenix area)

rndufemaleRing-necked Duck, female

wcspimmWhite-crowned Sparrow, first winter

giwogranadaGila Woodpecker

And then the yard birds…

bbhu1.26Broad-billed Hummingbird, female (Yard Bird #46)

She was a new yard bird! And a rare bird for the area! I reported her on eBird and it was confirmed. These birds normally don’t come much further north than southeastern Arizona although a few others have been reported in our area this winter. I would so love a male to show up because this is what they look like (we saw this one in Madera Canyon earlier this year):

BBHU_edited-1

Aren’t they gorgeous? Of course, all hummingbirds are beautiful. The one below is an Anna’s female, you can see how different she looks from the Broad-billed female.

anna27sgirl1.26

gilawp1.26Gila Woodpecker, male

mock1.26Northern Mockingbird

yrwa1.26Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

I saw this guy a few weeks ago and then he disappeared. Now I saw another one in our yard the other day by itself so don’t know if the same one returned:

wcspfos2

wcspfosWhite-crowned Sparrow

And then my very favorite yard bird, Tink, was kind enough to pose away from the feeders the other day:

ocwa11.26

ocwa31.26

ocwa41.26

An amazing thing happened just before I took these photos. A hawk (Sharp-shinned, I think, but I didn’t get a photo) crashed through the mesquite tree where the feeders are looking for a snack, I guess. I know they need to eat but I was pleased it came out empty-taloned. It then landed on my neighbor’s garage while I ran in to get the camera and it took off just as I tried to get a shot. I really hope it gets its meals somewhere other than our yard…so does Tink.

ocwa21.26Orange-crowned Warbler

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2019 Begins…

prickly pear

prickly pear 2

We went for a late afternoon walk around Desert Botanical Garden the other day. We had some really cold days here and, with the holidays and all, we haven’t been on one of our day trips for about a month so we have to get back on the road again soon. Meanwhile…

butte

I thought the birds would be a little more active. We did see a lot of quail, doves, starlings but I didn’t take photos of them. We also saw a cute little wren that I would have liked to get a photo of to identify it but it wasn’t cooperative.

costa's female_edited-1

costa's female 2_edited-1Anna’s or Costa’s Hummingbird, female

flora

There were very few butterflies. I imagine many froze during the cold snap. ūüė¶

queen bflyQueen Butterfly

verdin_edited-1Verdin

square square

cactus wrenCactus Wren

rose

cactus

Being at the Garden reminded me that I didn’t meet any of my goals for 2018! I had similar goals for 2017 and met them all but 2018 was different. Spending 5 weeks in Indiana unexpectedly threw me off for the whole year. When I got back, I couldn’t get back into the swing for quite awhile, one of my cats got very sick, and then the summer was so hot that I just decided I would chuck my 2018 goals:

  1. Volunteer 100 hours at Desert Botanical Garden. Not even close (compared to 102.75 in 2017).
  2. Find 50 new Lifers (new birds). Found 36 (compared to 58 in 2017).
  3. Go on many AZ day trips with Tony. Went on 16 (compared to 23 in 2017).

I¬†also went to a few parks on my own and a few expeditions with my birding friend, Karen, plus I went to a couple places back in Indiana so I did see many pretty sights, gorgeous birds, and other wildlife so I can’t really complain. But I’ve decided not to be too specific in my 2019 goals:

  1. Maybe volunteer at Desert Botanical Garden, maybe not. Maybe elsewhere, maybe not.
  2. Find some new birds.
  3. Go on as many day trips with Tony as we can.
  4. Take as many photos as I can.

These were my first bird photos of 2019. It was cloudy, cold, and rainy so they were from my yard only. The hummers were all fluffed up.

anna's 010119_edited-1

anna's 1.1_edited-2Anna’s Hummingbird, male

Hope your year is off to a good start and that you have many exciting goals…or no goals…but fun times ahead.

 

Hello, October!

Desert CottontailDesert Cottontail

Dragonfly SXGMexican Amberwing, female

Vermiflion FC 3 SXG_edited-1

Vermilion FC 2 SXGVermilion Flycatcher, female

October is a good month for Phoenix since the mornings and nights get cooler, although the days can still get hot. Right now, we have the remnants of Hurricane Rosa bringing us rain and clouds so it’s cooler than normal, high 70s-80s. Feels great after a long, hot summer.

The above photos were taken at Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden one day last week. I love the light there. I often see warblers there during migration but not this time.

The next few photos were taken yesterday at Desert Botanical Garden on a gloomy day. I mistakenly thought the birds would be out in full force but I was wrong again. There were a ton of Queens, though.

Queen 1

Queen 3Queen Butterfly

Cactus Wren Lomo

Cactus Wren 2Cactus Wrens

QuailGambel’s Quail, male

Bee and Sunflower

SulphurSulphur with tattered wings

Verdin 2Verdin, mid-snack

I just don’t know where all the migrating birds are!!! I keep looking. The following photos were taken in our yard last week. The skippers are out in full force.

Skipper 9.23Fiery Skipper in Lantana

Svengi as ElvisSvengali does Elvis

It’s definitely beginning to look and feel like Fall here. Happy October!

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Spring’s Arrival

Verdin

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.

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Giant Swallowtail

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

American Wigeon,male

Rosy-faced Lovebird

From Lake Margherite in Scottsdale:

Northern Shoveler couple

From Evelyn Hallman Park in Tempe:

Green Heron

What says “Spring” like baby ducks?

Mallard ducklings

The four critters in the butterfly and bee photo:

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Look into My Crystal Ball

I got a new toy, a crystal ball for photography effects. So far, I haven’t really been to a location that is especially conducive to this little gadget but I’ve experimented with it a little. The above photo was taken at the Desert Botanical Garden. After I realized I wasn’t going to get anything I was pleased with, I walked around in the late afternoon sun and got some regular photos.

Currently the Garden has an exhibit by Jun Kaneko scattered around various areas. Some people love it, some not so much. I’m probably in the latter category but I do know that they need to bring exhibits in so that more people will come to the garden so they can support their mission of research, education, and conservation. The sculptures are mostly glazed ceramic forms although the one, below, is a bronzed form.

Below are the stars of the show, the Tanukis, based on Kaneko’s interpretation of the Japanese raccoon-dog which is a real animal and also a popular theme in Japanese art. See more on Tanukis here.

Visitors are encouraged to hug the Tanukis and everyone wants their photo taken with their favorite one. I was volunteering one night at a busy event and countless people handed me their phones and asked me to take their pictures.

A few days later, I went over to Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden to try my luck with the crystal ball again:

Still not thrilled with the results, I snapped a few other shots:

Red-naped Sapsucker

Gila Woodpecker

I have a glass stand and a wooden stand for the ball but the photos I’ve seen that I like the best are those where the stand doesn’t show, either by cropping it or by not using it. However, if you don’t use the stand, you have to be careful that the ball doesn’t get scratched by whatever you have it on and that it won’t roll away and break. Here’s a practice photo I took with the glass stand…not thrilled with seeing it.

Do you want one? This is the one I have.

Do you want to see some beautiful photos taken with them? Check here.

Want some tips?

CAUTION: It’s true that the ball can refract the sun’s rays and cause a fire. I set mine on a white table outside for about 3 minutes. When I touched the refraction on the table, it was burning hot!

P.S. It’s my 9 year blogiversary on 2/13!