Even though some of you may be buried in snow, winter has definitely left Phoenix: it’s been in the 90s. That is unseasonably warm and most of us hope it cools off again before it’s supposed to be that hot. But before winter is officially over, I wanted to post some of the birds that wintered in our yard.
Without a doubt I enjoyed this little guy, above (“Yellow Bird”), the most. He was here last winter, too, and I hope he comes back next year. It’s a drag getting attached to a wild animal, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again. The above photo was taken a couple days ago and I haven’t seen him since so maybe he has begun migration. Safe travels, little dude.
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s
This warbler, above, was the first time I’ve seen this species in our yard. It and the Orange-crowned Warbler were chasing each other around the mesquite tree the other day.
I only saw this bird, above, for one day. Last year we had several come in the spring when our mulberry trees got berries…that will happen in the next couple of weeks so maybe they will be back. Hoping for some other berry-eaters, too.
House Finches, male and female
Anna’s Hummingbirds, male and female
Gila Woodpecker, male
House Sparrow, female
Migration will be in full swing soon so I hope to see some new and exciting birds.
Posted in Home
Tagged Finches, Gila Woodpecker, Home, Hummingbirds, Mockingbirds, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Rosy-Faced Lovebirds, Thrashers, Verdins, White-Crowned Sparrow, Yellow-Rumped Warbler
A couple of weeks ago, Tony and I spent a lovely day in Apache Junction. I found my target bird, a Western Meadowlark, at Prospector Park, pretty quickly. Such big, handsome birds.
There were a few other pretty birds there:
Gambel’s Quail, male
Vermillion Flycatcher, male
House Finch, male
We were already almost there so we went on to my new favorite park, Lost Dutchman State Park, in the Superstition Mountains. It was gorgeous!
Although I didn’t spot any lifers there, I was able to get my best ever shots of these plentiful Phainopeplas, striking birds with red eyes.
And no visit to Apache Junction is complete without a stop at the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel, a movie memorabilia museum showing the movies that were filmed at Apacheland, including Charro, starring Elvis.
Posted in Arizona
Tagged Arizona, Elvis Chapel, Finches, Gambel's Quail, Lost Dutchman State Park, Parks, Phainopepla, Say's Phoebe, Superstitions, Vermillion Flycatcher, Western Meadowlark
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, male
These cute guys show up in the Phoenix area in the winter but they’re so fast that it’s often hard to get a clear shot. However, this little guy was very cooperative the other day at the Desert Botanical Garden and almost seemed to enjoy my attention. So did this guy, who let me get about a foot away from him:
Costa’s Hummingbird, male
I never see Costa’s in my yard. We have many Anna’s year-round and a couple Black-chinned in the spring.
Anna’s Hummingbirds, male
My little yellow yard bird has done many cute things lately.
Orange-crowned Warbler, male
And the tiny Verdins are always busy and love their fruit:
House Finch, female
House Finch, male
Did you know that House Finches were originally a southwestern bird but can now be found all over the US? I just found that out recently.
I’ve been to two places in the last week looking for specific Lifers and didn’t find either! I’m declaring two 2017 Goals here:
- Find at least 60 Lifers (this will require more day trips but as Tony is now retired, he is willing to come along to interesting places).
- Volunteer at the Desert Botanical Garden for at least 100 hours (which isn’t really much over a 52 week period).
Do you have any goals you want to put into writing this year?
Not me, my new lens. I’ve been trying to determine if it is, in fact, sharper than my previous super telephoto lens. It’s definitely sharp in good light but I guess I can’t expect miracles in low light.
So last winter an out-of-range Red-breasted Sapsucker wintered in a Scottsdale park. Amazingly, he returned again this year to not only the same park but the same couple of mesquite trees he preferred last year! I guess he enjoyed his winter in Scottsdale as many other snowbirds do. This year he was a little higher up than last year so my photos are not as good but I loved seeing him and think it’s so amazing that one little bird can find the very tree he was in last year.
I stopped at Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden on my way home and saw a few other critters (almost all in low light).
House Finch, male
And back to my yard:
American Snout Butterfly
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
This guy, thankful for nuts…
Posted in Home
Tagged Butterflies, Doves, Finches, Holidays, Home, Hummingbirds, Mockingbirds, Parks, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Say's Phoebe, Scottsdale, Starling, Thrashers, Verdins
My birding has been almost non-existent the last few days even though I keep meaning to go out. Mornings are now cooler although it still gets to around 100° in the afternoons so it’s best to be an early bird. I hope to step it up this week. This is FALL migration, after all!
So many people in my Facebook birding group are getting exciting migrants in their yards but not us, yet…I keep looking, though.
All of the hummers in this post are Anna’s Hummingbirds. Other people in the area are getting Rufous and Black-chinned passing through so I hope to see something different soon. I am very glad that we have our Anna’s year-round, though. It would be lonely without them.
Abert’s Towhee (molting)
House Sparrow, male
House Finch, male (photobombed by House Sparrow)
Curve-billed Thrasher (showing his tongue and peanut)
And completing the Quadfecta of Doves:
Inca Doves, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove
So I did possibly (probably) get a new yard bird recently that is also a Life Bird. Many experienced birders agreed that this is a Clay-colored Sparrow (below), which would be somewhat out-of-range, but a couple identified it as a Brewer’s Sparrow which would make it not a Lifer and not a new yard bird.
I submitted it to eBird but never heard back and I’ve seen a few other people reporting Clay-coloreds in the area so I’m going with that for now. Yard Bird #30. Isn’t he cute and inquisitive looking? I’ve only seen him once; he must have moved on.
Be on the lookout for new and unusual birds in your areas during this migration period. You might see something awesome.