Looking Ahead to 2017

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cw-12-28-16Cactus Wrens (Arizona State Bird)

rmr(above graphic credit)

gilded-flickerGilded Flicker

queenQueen Butterfly

mock-12-28-16Northern Mockingbird (pondering what lies ahead)

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Wishing all of us peace, love, and understanding…as well as health and prosperity in 2017!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

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Bird Patio, Part 1

GilaGila Woodpecker, male

Gila Female 2

Gila FemaleGila Woodpecker, female

In my last post, I mentioned that I went to a birding friend’s house in Apache Junction after she, two other friends, and I met at Gilbert Riparian Preserve. Well, as fun as Gilbert was and as cool as getting 8 lifers there was, going to Samantha’s house was the icing on the cake and one of the best birding experiences I’ve had.

Samantha's Patio

I didn’t have a wide angle lens with me but this is a photo that Samantha took awhile ago (I have her permission to post it here). She has a phenomenal patio that looks out over a wash with the Superstition Mountains beyond. In the foreground, you can see her hummingbird and bird feeders but what you can’t see are all the beautiful perches she also has for the birds.

Flicker F

Flicker 3Gilded Flicker, female

She hides suet, seed, peanuts, etc. on them and the birds come flying in to search for the food thereby providing attractive and closeup photo opportunities.

Blackjack 1

Blackjack 2

Blackjack 3Curve-billed Thrasher, melanistic

This handsome guy above, Blackjack, is much darker than a typical Curve-billed Thrasher and is a topic of interest among local birding experts.

Cactus WrenCactus Wren, Arizona State Bird

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3 Finches

Finch CoupleHouse Finches, male and female

Abert's Towhee

Towhee 2Abert’s Towhee

I don’t count birds on my life list unless I’ve seen and photographed them since beginning birding so, although I grew up in Illinois and Indiana and used to see Northern Cardinals (the State Bird of both those states) all the time, I had yet to see them in Arizona. I knew Samantha had them in her yard frequently so I was hoping they would drop in. I got half my wish…and I was excited!

Cardinal 2

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Cardinal 3

Cardinal 1

Cardinal 4Northern Cardinal, female

The males are more timid, unfortunately, but she’s so beautiful anyway. Samantha said the boy showed up later that afternoon after we had left, of course.

Anna'sAnna’s Hummingbird, male

Anna's 2Anna’s Hummingbird, female

Her hummingbird feeders attract a ton of hummers but I was concentrating on the other birds more.

Next time, more birds from this awesome bird patio..

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More Beauties at the DBG

Flicker WingsGilded Flicker

It’s fun to get lifers, as I showed in my last post, but it’s also nice to get shots I like of familiar birds. These were taken on my excellent birding day at the Desert Botanical Garden last week. Click to enlarge any of the photos.

DoveMourning Dove

Dfly and BeeDragonfly and Bee

Hummer Girl

Hummer SuckingHummingbirds

Cactus

RTHA_edited-1Red-Tailed Hawk

Lizard 2Desert Spiny Lizard

Flower and Bee

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CW Bfly  DSC_3878Cactus Wren

Queen BatteredQueen Butterfly, a little battered

Flicker 2

Flicker BackGilded Flickers (2 different ones)

Summer at Granada

Ring Necked Duck

Granada Park, as I’ve mentioned before, is my main “go-to” birding location. It’s close to home, has 2 small lakes (ponds), desert trails, and is at the foot of Piestewa Peak. From November to June, I went at least once a week but, in June, due to the heat, I kinda wimped out and only went once the whole month. So far, in July, I’ve gone twice, and last weekend had a good yield for me. So here are some photos of summer in Granada.

Ring-Necked Duck

This Ring-Necked Duck (drake), above 2 photos, is actually a rarity this time of year in Phoenix. They normally migrate but I saw him (or another just like him) last summer, too, so I wonder if he can’t fly or if he just likes Granada. He has plenty of other park ducks to hang out with but none of his own kind. When fall comes, though, his friends will return.

Flicker 2_edited-1Gilded Flicker, male

This handsome guy appears to have been snatched from the talons of death just in the nick of time. I don’t know if tail feathers grow back, hope so. Bet it hurt but he was lucky.

Kestrel 1_edited-1American Kestrel, male

He might have been the culprit because kestrels are small but fierce.

Common RavenCommon Raven

I never see crows or ravens here but I did.

Goose 2

Goose 1Domestic Goose

This goose is a full-time resident and pretty bossy.

WW DoveWhite-Winged Dove

FinchHouse Finches

Heron 1Green Heron

Nighthawk_edited-1Lesser Nighthawk

HumAnna’s Hummingbird

SparrowHouse Sparrow, male

NestVerdin Nest

Sag

Sag Holes

One of the 2 remaining saguaros in the park after the last one collapsed.

DSC_3033Ash-Throated Flycatcher (LIFER)

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Georgie

This is Georgie, who I have gotten to know at the park, along with her mom. But they are moving out-of-state in a few days so I won’t see this pretty girl there anymore. The lake won’t be the same without Georgie fetching her ball over and over.

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Medley

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Did you know that it is illegal to possess feathers of all native bird species due to the Migratory Bird Act of 1918?

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA), codified at 16 U.S.C. §§ 703–712 (although §709 is omitted), is a United States federal law, at first enacted in 1916 in order to implement the convention for the protection of migratory birds between the United States and Great Britain (acting on behalf of Canada). The statute makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell birds listed therein (“migratory birds”). The statute does not discriminate between live or dead birds and also grants full protection to any bird parts including feathers, eggs and nests. Over 800 species are currently on the list.

The National Audubon Society was founded to protect birds from being killed for their feathers.

We have all probably picked up some feathers we found lying about and no one will likely prosecute us but there is a law in place to protect native birds.

Speaking of native birds…

Flicker Crop

Flicker 2

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I have dozens of photos of birds in this large saguaro at one of my favorite places, Granada Park. So you can imagine my dismay when I showed up at the park a few days ago and found this:

Saguaro Downed

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I don’t know if it was decayed and collapsed, if lightning hit it, if it was intentionally set on fire, or what, but it was a favorite gathering place for birds and I’m afraid there were probably a few nests in it. And, as one of my friends said, “It is not like a new saguaro nesting place is going to just appear.”  There are a couple other saguaros in this particular park but it’s still a sad event…