A Visit to DBG

Baby Verdin

Verdin Juvy and Adult

Baby Verdin 2Verdins (yellow-headed one is an adult)

On another unseasonably cool day in Phoenix, we went back to the Desert Botanical Garden. Here are some of the sights.

Cholla BerriesCholla with Fruit

Cardon 2

Cardon 1Cardons (native to northwestern Mexico)

GIWOGila Woodpecker, male

Artichoke BloomArtichokes

Gaillardia 2

See the bee, above?

Red Flower

GallardiasGaillardias

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren BackCactus Wren (Arizona State Bird)

Crested Saguaro

Crested Sag CloseupCrested Saguaro

Stages of a BloomPrickly Pear blooms

Sag BlossomsSaguaro blooms (Arizona State Flower)

Thing

DovesMourning Dove juveniles

Look what we saw! If it hadn’t been cloudy, the photos would have been much better but it’s the first time I ever got one without branches in front of it. It was also very windy that day!

GHO 1

GHOW 2Great Horned Owl

Camera Scene

Dove in Nest

Yellow Flower

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Spring Heads Into Summer

Painted Lady 4.13Painted Lady

Bee Green EyesLeafcutter Bee

Fiery Skipper 4.12Fiery Skipper (with Green Bottle Fly)

Checkered SkipperCheckered-Skipper

Once again, the lantana is pulling the butterflies, bees, and flies into its sweet nectar. It totally froze this winter, turned black, and then came back to life again! Lantana is hearty.

So, sadly, my winter visitor birds have now moved on to their summer homes. Hope they come back next year! Especially my favorite, “Tink,” below:

OCWA New Branch 4.6Orange-crowned Warbler

YRWA 3.25Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, male (“Chatty”)

YRWA F 3.15Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, female (“Shy Girl”)

But, in return, the only migrator I saw~so far~in my yard was a Plumbeous Vireo and I didn’t get a photo because it left right away. But it as well as the following bird made my Yard Bird species count jump to 47:

Gambel's Quail YardGambel’s Quail

These quail are normally in desert areas, not crowded urban areas like where we live. I strongly discouraged this guy from settling in as quail spend so much time on the ground and lay their eggs on the ground. There are way too many cats for that to have a good outcome. So after 2 days of me shooing him off, he disappeared. I hope he got out of our cat-friendly neighborhood fast.

So we are now back to the year-round regulars:

Thrasher 3.5

Thrasher Discussion

Thrasher BabyCurve-billed Thrashers (above photo is a juvenile)

Towhee Nuts 4.6Abert’s Towhee (gathering nuts to take back to the nest)

Mock Mulberry_edited-1

Mock with BflyNorthern Mockingbirds (gathering food for nestlings)

House Finch, male and Lesser Goldfinch, female

Mourning Doves

Eurasian Collared-Dove and White-winged Dove

Gila 2.6Gila Woodpecker, male

Verdin 4.7Verdin

Starling OrangeEuropean Starling (bashing an orange)

And, of course, we have House Sparrows, too. Who doesn’t? Now we are settling in for another long, hot summer here in Phoenix.

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Great Backyard Bird Count 2019

Merlin 2 smaller

MerlinMerlin

On Valentine’s Day, I saw a new lifer and it was in my yard! A Merlin, I was totally shocked to see it there and sad, when I looked at the photos, to see it was dining on an Anna’s Hummingbird, no doubt one I have been feeding. I have photos but I know most people don’t want to see things like that. Neither did I, even though I know that’s nature, raptors have to eat, and if you feed birds in your yard, there’s a chance you’ll attract their predators, too. Still, a hummingbird…

This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count was held from February 15-18, sponsored by National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. My birder friend, Karen, and I were going to go out that Saturday but she was sick so that didn’t happen. It was a gloomy weekend and, finally, on Monday, I wanted to have something to report on eBird.org so I sat in the yard for awhile. Here are some of the birds I saw. Most photos were taken on that day.

YRWA 2 2.1

YRWA M 2.18

YRWA SidelitYellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, male

He has been in my yard for the last several weeks but on the day of the count, a female of his species also showed up, just to get counted! I have seen her a couple times since then, too, very cute.

YRWA F 2.18

YRWA F 2 2.18Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, female

LEGO 2.2Lesser Goldfinch, male

GIWO M 2.18

GIWO F 2.18Gila Woodpeckers, male and female

Towhee 2 2.18Abert’s Towhee

Verdin 2 2.18

Verdin 2.18Verdins

My favorite little bird wanted to be counted, for sure:

OCWA 2.2

OCWA 2 2.18

OCWA 1 2.18Orange-crowned Warbler

And my rare bird for this area is still hanging around:

BBHU 3 2.18

BBHU 3 2.8

BBHU 2 2.18_edited-1

BBHU 2 2.8

BBHU 1 2.18Broad-billed Hummingbird, female

Anna's 2.6

Anna's 2.5Anna’s Hummingbirds, male

And an occasional visitor to our yard also showed up to be counted that day, 2 of them, in fact:

ROFL 2.18Rosy-faced Lovebird (along with Eurasian Collared-Doves)

Altogether, I saw 16 species in the yard that day in about an hour and a half.

October Yard Action

Powdered DancerPowdered Dancer Damselfly

Bee FrontalHoneybee

Fiery Skippers (click to see larger)

We’ve had the best October ever, weather-wise. Due to some Pacific tropical storms, we had over 3 inches of rain in early October and it’s been far cooler than normal. Usually it’s still unbearably hot in October…not this year!!!! It’s been awesome.

Although I didn’t see any migrating birds in our yard and no new yard birds lately, we have had some colorful and more occasional visitors this month.

Lizard 10.15Ornate Tree Lizard

Mushrooms

The rain brought fungi, gnats, and mosquitos. No fairies under those ‘shrooms.

Towhee 10.1

Towhee 10.15

Towhee Peanut ButterAbert’s Towhees

Thrasher 10.15Curve-billed Thrasher

Inca 10.20Inca Dove

Rosy-faced Lovebird and Lesser Goldfinch (click to see larger)

Hummer 10

Hummer 10 b edited-1Anna’s Hummingbirds, males

Stripey Birdbath 10Stripey

Gila WP Girl 10.15

Gila WP SidewaysGila Woodpecker, female

Look who’s getting excited about Halloween Trick or Treats!!!

Curve-billed Thrasher, House Finch, Northern Mockingbird (click to see larger)

And the most exciting visitor is this little bird (“Tink”). This is his/her 4th winter to come to our yard and this year she showed up a couple weeks earlier than last year. She loves grape jelly and usually stays until about April. I’m so glad to see her back. I know she will pose nicely for me several times this winter. According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “The oldest known Orange-crowned Warbler was a male, and at least 8 years, 7 months old when he was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in California.” I just find it amazing that a bird can find its way back to a specific place year after year but it does happen. I feel flattered that she likes the accommodations.

OCWA 10.19Orange-crowned Warbler

Hope your October is as awesome as ours is!

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The Promise of Fall

Lesser Goldfinch, male

Some days it’s only around 100° here now! The difference between 100 and 110+ is pretty significant. It’s almost bearable to sit out in the shade for an hour or so. We’re still in our monsoon season, though, so it’s humid (for AZ). But there are signs that the season will change…maybe not totally for a couple months but, in just one month, our nights will become pleasant again and that will be a relief. Meanwhile there are a few other signs of better times coming…

The lantana is blooming and there are more butterflies…

Orange Sulphur (I think)

Fiery Skippers

Mournful Duskywing

No migrating birds spotted in our yard yet and those that are here are still molting and rough-looking but the Lesser Goldfinches are more plentiful and everyone is more active.

Verdins, adult and immature
Curve-billed ThrasherInca Doves
Gila Woodpecker, male

Anna’s Hummingbirds, male

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, male and female

And he flew off into the light…

After McCain’s death, he wrote in his 2018 memoir, The Restless Wave, the Audubon Society will make [part of the land on his Cornville, AZ ranch] a special birding area.

“The thought of that pleases me very much,” he wrote. (azcentral)