Verdin (on the Autumn Equinox)
These were all taken in our yard in the last few days (okay, one is an older one but I won’t say which). It’s been very nice here, seeming like Fall, but it will probably warm up again before Fall really begins. However, we’re at the point now where the mornings and nights will be pleasant and that’s when we know we’re in the home stretch here in Phoenix…a happy time for most of us.
Painted Lady (again)
House Finches, female and male
Gila Woodpecker, female
All the critters in our yard are either melting, molting or both right now. The thrashers dig holes and lay in them to keep cool. Notice the second one is drifting off to sleep, showing his nictitating membrane. We have a lot of shade and some water so they are able to keep relatively comfortable.
Abert’s Towhee, refreshing in bird bath
House Finch, male youngster
Ash-throated Flycatcher (or Brown-crested Flycatcher)
I was surprised to see the above bird as I’ve never had one in the yard before. That is yard bird species #32. If it was a Brown-crested Flycatcher, it would be a lifer (bird never seen before) but when I asked the “experts, ” about half said it was Brown-crested and half said it was Ash-throated so I still don’t really know. It’s a juvenile, whichever it is.
Baby House Sparrows (possibly House Finches), I can’t really tell
The following 2 shots are in the “Things Only the Camera Sees” category. I didn’t notice until I looked at my photos that this Verdin was shedding a feather just as I was taking pics. It’s too bad it was behind branches and so dark.
Stripey, preferring muddy rain water to fresh water.
Rosy-faced Lovebird, juvenile
House Finch family
Gambel’s Quail, male
I have a few photos saved up for times like these, the dog days of summer, when it’s just too hot to get motivated to go anywhere. By using these five photos, all taken in local parks (above), I am drastically depleting my reserve. So we have to get back on the road again very soon…
We traded Tony’s 2003 Mustang, which needed some expensive work, in and got a new-to-us Ford Escape. We had been using my car for our day trips but we really needed more clearance for some of the rougher roads.
We have a lot of pets, including a diabetic cat that needs insulin every 12 hours so it’s easiest for us to go on day trips since it would be a lot to require of a pet-sitter. It’s best if the places we go are less than 2.5 hours away so we can spend a few hours at our destination before heading home. I used this online tool (freemaptools.com) to draw a radius of 150 miles around Phoenix to see what all might be included. But I noticed that these distances are “as the crow flies” and to really get to some of them would take up to 4 hours or so depending on the roads.
So I modified the parameters to 150 minutes from Phoenix, driving an average of 70 mph, and came up with this map, below:
Fortunately, there are a lot of beautiful places within these boundaries and we need to get exploring. There are birds and all sorts of fascinating things out there.
Here’s Google, our diabetic cat, posing as a Currency Manipulator. He’s doing well, having been diabetic for almost 2 years now.
Hibiscus, its 7th year
Summer in this city means photographing my yard because it’s too hot to go anywhere else…
Verdins, adult and juvenile
Abert’s Towhees, adult and juvenile
Water is life, we have plenty out for the critters…
Ornate Tree Lizard
Northern Mockingbird, juvenile
Rough Stink Bug
Curve-billed Thrasher, juvenile
House Sparrow, fledgling
House Finch, juvenile
Brown-headed Cowbird, juvenile
Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head.
(Summer in the City, written by Steve Boone, Mark Sebastian, John Sebastian, 1966)
San Francisco Peaks, Humphreys Peak, highest point in AZ at 12,633 feet (click to enlarge panorama)
It’s heating up in Phoenix now so our local adventures will be on hold and we’ll have to take our day trips to higher altitudes. Last week we were in Flagstaff, elevation 6,909 feet. We were primarily at The Arboretum at Flagstaff located on 200 acres deep within the Coconino National Forest.
Western Bluebirds, male and female
There were many nesting boxes throughout. I think they appeal to the Western Bluebirds especially.
And I got 4 lifers!
House Wren (lifer)
Pygmy Nuthatch (lifer)
Violet-Green Swallows (lifers)
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (lifer)
Mountain Short-horned Lizard
The Botanical Blacksmiths exhibit features many metal sculptures at the Arboretum.
Flagstaff Fun Fact:
This is the U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station. Visible from The Arboretum, it is the national dark-sky observing facility under the United States Naval Observatory. Flagstaff is also home to Lowell Observatory (where non-planet Pluto was discovered) and Northern Arizona University’s Barry Lutz Telescope and was the first jurisdiction on Earth to enact a light-pollution-control ordinance. Arizona has the densest grouping of dark-sky communities in the world, according to the International Dark-Sky Association: Flagstaff, Oak Creek and Sedona. Most people in the U.S. cannot see the Milky Way. We are fortunate to have many places in Arizona where one can do so.