Holiday Birding

The Holiday Office Party

The two Curve-billed Thrashers in my yard are exceedingly curious and also very fond of unsalted peanuts. I sort of accidentally realized that anytime I put something different on this little outdoor table, they will quickly jump up to check it out and keep doing so if there are some peanuts involved. So I started a little series of them checking things out. They both share the spotlight in the following photos.

Santa Got Run Over By a Thrasher

Some outtakes from that shoot…

The Winter Solstice
Embellished Winter Solstice
A December to Remember

We just finished watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix:

Huddling Inca Doves

Actually, it turns out that the Abert’s Towhees and Northern Mockingbirds (2 of each) are also fairly curious and I have a few shots of them joining in various festivities which I’ll post at another time.

Meanwhile, here are a few more of the little yardbirds (an Anna’s Hummingbird, House Finch, Gila Woodpecker, my wintering Orange-crowned Warbler, and Verdin) wishing you a safe, healthy, Happy Solstice, Happy Yule, and Happy Holidays!

Birdsong

Sometimes there are 50 or more birds in our yard at one time, eating, hanging out…and the cacophony of bird sounds is pretty intense. Other times there are gentle chirps and buzzes…

Abert’s Towhees

Curve-billed Thrashers

House Sparrow
Gila Woodpecker
Rosy-faced Lovebird

House Finches (click to enlarge)

The Anna’s Hummingbirds are sipping from the plants I recently bought.

And perching and fighting and showing their colors…(click to enlarge)

Northern Mockingbird

And my little Orange-crowned Warbler happily winters here…

But they all need to watch out for this guy:

American Kestrel

Escape to Scottsdale

The above images of a Great Blue Heron and a tiny Verdin were taken at Indian School Park in Scottsdale where I had hoped to find a rarity reported there, a Magnolia Warbler, but did not. I actually do think I caught a fleeting glimpse of it from underneath but not enough to be sure so it will not be added to my life list. It was miserably hot so I sat in my car hoping someone else would come along and help me find it but no one did.

A few days later, it was slightly cooler in the morning so I met a friend while socially distanced at another park, Scottsdale Rotary Park. We sat and talked for a couple hours and I really only got these photos of a Say’s Phoebe:

As it warmed up, I stopped at one of my favorite parks, Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden, where I have found some lovely birds in the past. I didn’t stay too long because of the miserable heat we are still experiencing here in the Phoenix area but here are a few shots;

Bewick’s Wren
Gila Woodpecker, male
Say’s Phoebe
Rosy-faced Lovebird

Like everyone else here, I can’t wait until it’s cool and I can at least go out to parks amidst this stupid pandemic…maybe next week.

Meanwhile, back at home, here are a few shots of doves, not my favorite birds although the little Inca Doves (first 2 shots) are sweet:

And I thought this dove looked slightly angelic:

Eurasian Collared-Dove

Also seen flying around the Phoenix area:

Still Staying Home

Gila Woodpeckers, male and Female

Abert’s Towhee
Lesser Goldfinch, male
Curve-billed Thrasher
House Finch, female

Yes, we’re still staying home and staying safe. Being retired, we can do that now. Not the funnest thing in the world but what are you gonna do? It’s also been really hot here but we have a day or 2 of reprieve right now so I was able to hang out with my backyard birds more than I usually do (and take a couple of neighborhood walks).

Okay, so now on to my 2 most cooperative Anna’s Hummingbirds, Comet, and Ole, an immature one. He is named “Ole” because he hangs out in the oleanders, far from Comet, who guards the backyard feeders. Ole uses the feeder in the front yard usually.

This is Comet:

This is Ole:

There are girls and a couple other males around but they are all skittish and not posers like Comet and Ole. Here’s a girl:

Fine Feathered Friends

Gila Woodpecker Feathers
Steller’s Jay Feather
Red-tailed Hawk Feather

A collection of Anna’s hummingbird photos over the last few days. I think most of them are the hummer I call “Comet” who definitely dominates the backyard feeders. But the last 3 are a younger male Anna’s, just beginning to grow his gorget feathers. He mostly stays by the feeder in the front yard. Probably smart. There are others around, too, but they just are too skittish most of the time.

And this is yet another Verdin nest that blew down during a recent wind. It was already an abandoned nest, though. We’re waiting for our monsoon season that has not quite happened yet and cooler temps that have not quite happened yet. Climate change, you know.