Three of Four Seasons

This is the Darden Road Bridge in South Bend, Indiana, over the St. Joseph River. The only known truss bridge in the county, this bridge is noted for its multi-span length and unusual deck placement. It was built in 1884 by P. E. Lane of Chicago, Illinois. I came upon it by accident and it was really pretty.

I just got back from there; my 95 year old mother was in Rehab. She’s fine now and will be released in a couple days. I didn’t have much time for birding, understandably, nor did I take my birding lens but, even so, I got 5 lifers!

These first few photos were taken at St. Patrick’s County Park, also on the river.

Black-capped Chickadee

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.

White-breasted Nuthatch

Tufted Titmouse

Red-bellied Woodpecker

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):

Common Grackle

The robins were in abundance everywhere, pudgy little things.

American Robin

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.

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Backyard Enticements

OCWA Orange 2 2.16.16

My favorite little model lately has been this Orange-crowned Warbler. It loves to eat the oranges I put out in the mesquite tree everyday. I’m afraid it will be leaving soon to migrate north as it’s been unseasonably warm here.

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I’ll miss this little cutie. The orange is a popular spot, though. Sometimes there’s a line.

Thrasher Orange 2Curve-billed Thrasher

Sparrow OrangeHouse Sparrow, male

Starling OrangeEuropean Starling

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Verdin Orange 2.2.16Verdin

And two Verdins are building a nest in our pine tree. Verdins build several nests a year, some for breeding, some for roosting, so time will tell which it is.

Verdin 2.18.16

Verdin Pine 2

Verdin Pine

Nectar break:

Verdin 2.10.16

There’s also pink grapefruit out there sometimes but it’s not nearly as popular. But this little female House Finch likes it and there’s no waiting.

House Finch F 2.20.16

The birdbath is also a popular spot.

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Mock Display 2Northern Mockingbird

TowheeAbert’s Towhee

Grackle Female copyGreat-tailed Grackle, female

And because I don’t want to encourage the birds to forage on the ground in harm’s way from the cats, I try to think up things I can feed them that won’t drop to the ground. Yum, pine cones coated in peanut butter is a new, delicious treat. You can add seed and suet but I’m not doing that. I don’t know how this will work when it’s 110 degrees but it’s working right now.

Pine Cone PB

Sparrow Pine Cone

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Fountain Hills

Fountain

Ftn Lake

Fountain Hills, AZ, is home to a world-famous fountain that operates daily and shoots water 562 feet high. I was there on December 15th and today, New Year’s Day, Tony and I went back. Fountain Park is a beautiful place with a 29 acre lake and the park is filled with sculptures and recreation areas. It has changed a lot since the last time I was there years ago. This is my favorite sculpture there:

Heron Sculp FH

But…the reason I initially went was because I wanted to see these guys, and I did…fun-loving Hooded Mergansers, a lifer. Both drakes and hens were there.

Hoodie Boy 4

Hoodies M and F

Hoodie Up

Hoodie Group

Hoodie Girl 2

Hoodie Couple 2

Hoodie Boy

2 Hoodies

The second lifer I saw there was this female Common Goldeneye:

Goldeneye 2

And the third lifer I saw, today, to start out 2016, was this Eared Grebe.

Eared Grebe 1

Love those red eyes. And I also saw these guys:

Ruddy BoyRuddy Duck, male

Ruddy GirlRuddy Duck, female

Pied-Billed GrebePied-billed Grebe

Shovelers ChurningNorthern Shovelers, churning up their food

Spotted Sandpiper FH

Spotted SandpiperSpotted Sandpiper

The first day I was there, which was cold and windy, I also saw these birds:

GrackleGreat-tailed Grackle, female

RWBB 2

RWBBRed-winged Blackbird, male

Say's Phoebe 2

Say's PhoebeSay’s Phoebe

SparrowHouse Sparrow, female

I hope the new year has started out fortuitously for you, too.

Happy 2016!

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Fall at the Parks

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Says 6_edited-2

Says 4_edited-1Say’s Phoebe

Earlier this week, I went to a new-to-me park in Scottsdale (Northsight Park) because I had seen photos in my birding group of a cooperative male Vermilion Flycatcher spotted there. They’re really not very common in the city although outside of the city, you can find them often, especially in riparian areas. They are gorgeous birds. I’ve seen one back before I had a longer lens so my shots are not very good and I was hoping to get some closer photos. But, it was not meant to be, I guess. I did see the above Say’s Phoebe, only the second one I’ve seen, who posed nicely for me.

Saw a gazillion of these guys (this one is a girl), which are very plentiful here this time of year:

YRWA_edited-1Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

Cactus WrenCactus Wren

A few miles down the road, at Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden, a few more birds let me photograph them.

Gila 2

Gila 3

GilaGila Woodpecker, male

MockNorthern Mockingbird

DSC_4954_edited-1Rosy-Faced Lovebird

DSC_4962Tree Lizard

GrackleGreat-Tailed Grackle, male

I also saw a Cooper’s Hawk but the pics are bad. And, finally, this happy hummingbird was enjoying the fall colors of a Mexican Bird of Paradise.

Hum 1

Hum 2

Hum 3

Today is “supposed” to be the last day of 100 plus temps this year!!!!! Low 90s tomorrow and heading into the upper 80s.

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♥ That makes Phoenicians happy! ♥

Bees, Birds, Butterflies, & More

Bee Purp

Bee Yellow_edited-1

These photos were all taken at the Franciscan Renewal Center’s (The Casa) Healing Garden. It’s on my route to work and I sometimes stop on my way home and usually get a few good shots. It’s a magical, peaceful place.

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Kale. They have many vegetables and herbs growing in the garden.

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Mountain

Woodpecker

Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

Gila in Palm

Gila Woodpecker

Grackle

Great-Tailed Grackle, female

Starling

European Starling

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Swing

Their slogan: “Paz y Bien/Peace and Good.”

More than Honey

If you’re interested in how bees affect our ultimate survival, check out this fascinating film, More than Honey (on Amazon, iTunes, Netflix, etc.) One of the featured beekeepers is Fred Terry, one of Tony’s good friends for many years, the “Singing Beekeeper” of Oracle, AZ. We’ve seen Fred’s hives in Oracle before. The film was the 2013 winner for Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara Film Fest 2013, German Film Award 2013, and Swiss Film Award 2013. It’s compelling, troubling, informative, beautifully photographed…and Fred looks great (he’s been stung 100-250 thousand times!!!!!!).