That terrribly cute bird with the punk rock hair is a Ladder-backed Woodpecker who has been visiting my yard a few times lately. I sure wish he would become a regular but he is very skittish and flies away at the slightest disturbance from the other birds.
However, he never showed up during the Great Backyard Bird Count when I was out in the yard. Every February, for 4 days, the Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology have this citizen science project where you count species and numbers of each and report them to ebird.com. You can do it anywhere, not just your yard, and you can do it as many times as you want. I actually did it 4 times, all in my yard, twice alone, and twice with my birding friend, Karen. On the last day, Karen and I saw 20 different species in my yard in 2 hours. There were even 110 House Sparrows at one time!
Here are some of the birds that were seen during this event:
We had a great time and I’ve added some different foods to lure more birds into the yard so I hope I get even more variety in the future. I keep a yard bird list and I’m up to 55 species that have visited my yard. Some of them were only one hit wonders but it’s always exciting to get some different ones.
…And I have no Halloween photos this year. This Anna’s Hummingbird posed in the late afternoon sunlight for me a couple days ago as did the Curve-billed Thrasher below.
I went to my old standby Granada Park, that I used to frequent a few years ago. The birds were very sparse, it seemed altogether different…and boring. All I saw was this cute Desert Cottontail with an Abert’s Towhee. I don’t think I’ll go back for quite awhile.
And a Cloudless Sulphur Caterpillar on Senna:
But I still haven’t seen many butterflies in our yard and I think the season for that is coming close to an end. All of these are skippers: Violet-clouded Skipper, Fiery Skipper, and Eufala Skipper.
Pollinators coming in for a landing: a Leafcutter Bee and a Fiery Skipper. If we didn’t have lantana, we wouldn’t have any butterflies at all, I guess.
I was mostly excited to see that the Gila Woodpeckers have returned. They are not migratory but I seldom see them in the summer. Now they are back with their raucous calls. I think they’re such fun birds and very attractive.
Fall seems to have officially arrived in Phoenix. Our days are cool and pleasant now and birds are active.
It’s my April blog post! These 2 photos were not taken today on Earth Day but earlier this week at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. We had visiting relatives and took them there…sadly, it was HOT!!!!! But we still had a nice time…this is a Gila Woodpecker and a Desert Spiny Lizard.Chihuly in the Desert was also installed amid all the lovely flora at the garden. These are just a couple pieces:
You can see that the desert is in full bloom, too.
It was extremely windy here in Phoenix today and the birds were having a hard time navigating. This Inca Dove was being buffeted about so much that she had to use her wings to stabilize herself while scrounging for food.
And here are a few more photos from my yard a few days ago…
A Bee-fly, Rosy-faced Lovebirds, and a Verdin sunny side up.
Ferguson and Torti are now sporting new peace sign collars:
And Ferguson, of course, is always busy, always challenging himself…with geometry problems and learning to play the piano, ragtime, of course…
…While Bouche and Callie romped in the dirt and flowers on this sunny, windy Earth Day.
No, I wasn’t in a March for Peace. I’m not aware of any around lately but I have been thinking about Peace, as I know a lot of us are. Our house got a facelift and this peace sign is now on the front. A guy named Mitch, who did the rest of the work on our house, made it. It’s about 3 feet in diameter.
This is a brushed aluminum sculpture my mom had in her house and now I have it. It was made by John Mishler. It was actually the model for a larger one that my mom commissioned him to make for my parents’ church after my father died in 1997. Technically, it’s the Descending Holy Spirit but now it’s the Dove of Peace.
And even this Curve-billed Thrasher got into it, he’s the Peace Enforcer:
Ferguson is not only the Cat of Peace, he also made a half-hearted attempt to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Some Honey Bees and wasps have been pollinating around now that spring has arrived in Phoenix.
And the Anna’s Hummingbirds have been busy, chasing and eating:
Plus many others including this Curve-billed Thrasher and Gila Woodpecker:
And, lastly, this is entitled: “You’re right, I found my grill.” Starring Ferguson, of course.
I started this blog on February 13, 2009…so 13 years of blogging…but it has gotten sparser and sparser as the years have gone by. Initially, I posted almost daily, then down to 3 times a week, then weekly, then a couple times a month and now I try to do it at least monthly. I know people don’t read blogs as often anymore and there is other social media that is more immediate but I do it sort of for myself, too, so I can look back and remember what was going on at a certain time in my life. But I do thank anyone who still reads this. So here is a jumble of photos I’ve taken since my last post. More birds~House Sparrow female, White-crowned Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Curve-billed Thrasher, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Gila Woodpecker male, House Finch male, Anna’s Hummingbird male.
And cats…these are the indoor cats…Ferguson, the most cooperative, Torti, the least cooperative, and Bouche, who still can’t totally let go of the outdoor life. He’s a dasher. There are several outdoor kitties, too.