Imagine my surprise one recent morning when I went into the backyard and spotted yardbird species #51 at the birdbath! A Black Phoebe took a quick drink and then flew off. I’ve never seen it since, wish I would, but it seems an unlikely place since I usually see them by bodies of water. I was glad it waited til I ran inside and grabbed my camera.
I was doubly surprised 2 days later to see a Say’s Phoebe diving for insects which was yardbird species #52! I see these birds often in parks but never in my yard. Once again, I have not seen it since. Phoebes are such pretty birds, I hope they visit again.
As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, a couple days later, I saw my favorite little bird, Tink (an Orange-crowned Warbler), return to our yard for the winter for the 5-6th season. At least I think and hope it was her. She seemed like the same bird, going back and forth between the 2 jelly feeders. I saw her for a few days and now have not seen her again for a few so I hope it was her and she plans to stay the winter. I don’t sit in my yard all day everyday so I could easily be missing her…I hope…I really wasn’t expecting her this year as I know they don’t live forever but, right on schedule, she returned…or so I think.
So those were exciting days! Here are a few of the Verdins who inhabit our yard all year…cute, tiny, and busy…
Verdins have roosting nests all year long. I think it’s where they sleep at night and hang out. The opening of the nests are on the side or bottom. Here is one leaving its nest in our pine tree:
They love jelly and oranges. Here they are in the little jelly house (click each to see larger):
An infrequent visitor to the yard is the Great-tailed Grackle. This female entertained me for awhile a few days ago and has been back since with another of her female friends:
They are loud, raucous, curious birds that are fun to watch. And those are some of the exciting goings-on in the backyard lately.
I have no clue what this insect is but I’m trying to find out. He has some loooong antennae, though. He was soaking up the sunshine nibbling the lantana.
Today’s weather sounded more like a fortune than a forecast. I intended to go birding somewhere but made the often repeated mistake of sitting in the backyard watching the birds “for just a couple minutes,” and then it was too late to head out. Tomorrow…
Great-tailed Grackle, female
Anna’s Hummingbirds, males, molting
Verdin and Anna’s Hummingbird
You can see that Verdins are only a tiny bit larger than hummingbirds.
Honey Bee (with full pollen baskets)
American Kestrel, male
The female Kestrel flew in a few seconds later and all the rest of the birds took off. They soon left, empty-taloned.
Notice how the skippers, above and below, seem to have tiny little horns coming out of their heads? I never noticed that until today, after years of photographing them.
The lantana is the popular place to be if you’re a little flying critter. I’ve seen some other butterflies there in the last few days but haven’t been able to get any shots.
1 Sometimes in the open you look up where birds go by, or just nothing, and wait. A dim feeling comes you were like this once, there was air, and quiet; it was by a lake, or maybe a river you were alert as an otter and were suddenly born like the evening star into wide still worlds like this one you have found again, for a moment, in the open.
2 Something is being told in the woods: aisles of shadow lead away; a branch waves; a pencil of sunlight slowly travels its path. A withheld presence almost speaks, but then retreats, rustles a patch of brush. You can feel the centuries ripple generations of wandering, discovering, being lost and found, eating, dying, being born. A walk through the forest strokes your fur, the fur you no longer have. And your gaze down a forest aisle is a strange, long plunge, dark eyes looking for home. For delicious minutes you can feel your whiskers wider than your mind, away out over everything.
The Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park is part of a 12-mile greenbelt through Scottsdale and in the floodplain of Indian Bend Wash. “Its purpose is to provide an educational resource where growing regionally appropriate plants also grows public awareness to reduce outdoor water use, fosters development of sustainable landscaping, and enlists community participation to conserve water resources for our future.” And it attracts a lot of indigenous wildlife!
In my attempt to make our desert~full of birds, flowers, and butterflies~look traditionally festive during the holiday season, at least one photo of every December post I make will feature some seasonal decoration (to go with the WordPress snow). This Rosy-Faced Lovebird was the most Christmas-y looking of the bunch (credit for the lights is Obsidian Dawn, they’re free!).