Gila Woodpecker, female
A few days ago, when it was unseasonably cool, I wandered over to the Desert Botanical Garden around 5 pm. It was not crowded at all, the birds were happily chirping and eating, everything was blooming, and the sun made it all glow. The Garden is always beautiful but this evening it seemed that everything came together to make it extraordinary. These photos don’t begin to capture the way it looked.
Mexican Fencepost Cactus
Coneflower and bonus bug
Flame Skimmer Dragonfly
Gambel’s Quail nibbling in herb garden
It was really quite spectacular!
In March, this female Williamson’s Sapsucker showed up at the Desert Botanical Garden for a few days. She really loved the aloe nectar so she stayed in one area and was easy to find. They are rare here (preferring western mountains) so many birders went out to see her.
She looked very pretty foraging through the blooms.
These are from the new Butterfly Pavilion at DBG. I guess I don’t enjoy photographing them in a controlled setting like that; it’s more challenging to get them in their native environments. Apparently both these species can be found in Arizona but I’ve never seen them.
Desert Spiny Lizard
Lesser Goldfinch, female
Gambel’s Quail, male
And just in time for Easter!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Bees, Butterflies, Cottontail, Desert Botanical Garden, Flora, Gambel's Quail, Lesser Goldfinch, Lizard, Parks, Phainopepla, Williamson's Sapsucker
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Black-chinned Hummingbird, male
It is definitely spring here in Phoenix. Sorry if it isn’t where you are. Soon enough, we will be trying not to be miserable while you are basking in lovely weather. We had a lot of rain (for us) this winter so it’s extra vibrant this year. These photos are mostly from my yard but a few are from Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden (the first one and the last 3).
Palo Verde Sap
I noticed this colorful Yellow-rumped Warbler, below, feeding off the aloe and thought he looked unusual. He seems to have the characteristics of two different subspecies, the Myrtle and the Audubon’s. When I got home, I checked with my bird experts and they agreed that he is what is known as an “intergrade.” I think that’s a fancy word for “hybrid.” Anyway, these 2 subspecies only breed in a small area of Alberta, B.C., so he had a long trip down here. They are somewhat uncommon but not really “rare” in Arizona. Nevertheless, I was excited.
Yellow-rumped Warbler Myrtle x Audubon’s Intergrade, male
These first few photos were taken at St. Patrick’s County Park, also on the river.
There is a Bald Eagle nest at this park that has been inhabited for the last couple of years. The eagles took over an existing Red-tailed Hawk nest (I didn’t know they did that). Below is the nest.
And my mom and I saw one of the eagles in a nearby tree! Wish I had my birding lens for that. Here’s their Bald Eagle Live Cam.
On another day, I went to Madeline Bertrand County Park in nearby Niles, Michigan, and that’s where I got 4 lifers in less than an hour! These are birds we don’t see in Arizona.
Dark-eyed Junco, Slate-colored
I also saw a beautiful Blue Jay but the photos are pretty blurry.
Northern Cardinal, Indiana State Bird
We have Great-tailed Grackles in AZ but in Indiana, they have these guys all over the place (my 5th lifer):
The robins were in abundance everywhere, pudgy little things.
In the 2 weeks I was there, I experienced all the seasons but summer. The temperatures ranged from 19 to about 65. We had rain, snow, sleet, hail (golf ball-sized), tornados all around us, and a little sun. I prefer Arizona’s 2 seasons, beautiful and hot. I’m fortunate it was “mild” while I was there, for the most part. Bye, snow.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged American Robin, Bald Eagle, Black-capped Chickadee, Darden Road Bridge, Dark-eyed Junco, Flora, Grackle, Indiana, Michigan, Midwest, Northern Cardinal, Parks, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Snow, Travels, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch
Great Blue Heron
Despite mentioning in my last post that the Glendale Recharge Ponds are not my favorite place, I was back there one day last week. My birding friend, Samantha, wanted to look for the Long-tailed Duck reported there (that I could not find a few days prior when I went). She’s really good at finding birds so I wanted to go, too. We actually had 2 other target birds that day, at other locations farther west of the ponds: White-tailed Kites (2 have been reported) and a Tundra Swan. I was also really hoping to find some Western Meadowlarks and Western Bluebirds as they have been seen in the places we were going. All would be Lifers for me. But…
However, I had a 6 lifer day anyway! Samantha has more birds on her life list than I do so she was not so lucky. Here’s what I got at Glendale Recharge Ponds:
I was most excited about these two:
I saw these cute guys before we left:
We then drove several miles to our second location in search of Kites. No such luck but I did get one other lifer there and have a really bad shot to prove it:
Then we drove several more miles to where we hoped to see the Tundra Swan. No such luck again but we did see these guys and there were lifers, for me, among them. I saw them slightly better with my binoculars than these photos show.
Since we had already gone so far, we decided to make one other stop a few more miles away referred to as the “Thrasher Spot.” I had never been there but Samantha had with much success. It’s a nondescript little area known for a variety of thrashers, Horned Larks, and a few other less common birds but they all seemed to be taking afternoon naps by the time we got there. We saw hardly any birds and nothing unusual.
The most exciting thing I saw there was this mistletoe cluster in a mesquite tree with a tiny bird in the upper right corner. However, despite getting zero target birds, 6 lifers in one day was awesome!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged American Pipit, Black Phoebe, egret, Flora, Geese, Glendale Recharge Ponds, herons, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Sandpipers, Savannah Sparrow, Say's Phoebe, Song Sparrow, Sparrow, stilts, Vesper Sparrow