Trapped in a Rabbit Hole

House Finches, immature

I disappeared for awhile…I’m in northern Indiana because my mother is in a rehab unit after a fall and we’re deciding where she will go afterwards. She wants to go back home so that is what we are hoping can happen.  I’m an only child and know next to nothing about this town or navigating any of these healthcare/assisted living/bureaucratic issues. It’s a sucky time all around, for sure.

So this was my yard before I left AZ. I miss my husband, my cats, my house, my birds, my friends, and Arizona. Tony is taking care of the kitties and birds. Someday I’ll be back…

Curve-billed Thrasher

To make matters even worse, my t-mobile hotspot that I have just for visiting Indiana (since my mother doesn’t have wifi) is not working well because t-mobile is upgrading their cell towers in this area so reception is sporadic and poor. Right now I’m using the next-door neighbor’s wifi (with permission) so it’s nice to be able to get online again.

Abert’s Towhee

European Starling

Northern Mockingbird

We have the quinfecta of doves in our yard:

Mourning Dove

White-winged Dove

Inca Dove

Eurasian Collared-Dove

And my newest yard bird, #40 (although I’ve seen this bird around for quite awhile):

African Collared-Dove (Ringed Turtle Dove)

These birds are usually escaped captive birds that don’t do well in the wild but this one seems to be doing fine. There’s also a chance that it’s just a very pale Eurasian Collared-Dove but several birders ID’ed it as African Collared so I’m going with that.

Anna’s Hummingbird

Fiery Skipper

I hope to get out and go birding a couple times while I’m here but I don’t have my birding lens with me so I may have to rent one…the one I have with me just doesn’t work well for birds.

So…wish me luck, I hope things go smoothly and we can all get back to a more normal life pretty soon.

Sorry if I haven’t visited your blogs, I’ll be trying to do that in the next couple of days.

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Back to Madera Canyon

It’s a penguin!

Not really.

Acorn Woodpecker

Last week we were back at one of our favorite places, for the second time ever. We had been there almost exactly one year prior (last year’s post). Last year I got 5 lifers; this year I got 5 more. Many consider Madera Canyon the third hottest birding spot in the U.S. as it is a very diverse environment (part of the Madrean Sky Islands). This was my favorite and the target bird for the day:

Arizona Woodpecker, male (lifer)

He was accommodating and came right to the feeders at Santa Rita Lodge a couple of times while we sat there in their bird viewing area. This is the only brown woodpecker in the world and is only found in southeastern Arizona and part of Mexico.

Pine Siskins, Lesser Goldfinches, House Finches

The Pine Siskins were also lifers but I have a feeling they were there last year, too, and that I thought they were finches.

Rufous-crowned Sparrow (lifer)

We also saw a Red-faced Warbler (lifer) but my photo does not do it justice. They’re a fairly uncommon bird.

Then we also heard the bird that is almost everyone’s target when going to Madera Canyon, the Elegant Trogon. We hiked a little with another couple looking for him and, after not locating it where we heard it might be, we split up. We kept hearing it calling as it has a very loud and distinctive call. We found the other couple again and, of course, they had gotten views of it! The American Birding Association considers heard-only birds to be as countable as seen birds. I don’t really agree as I would have loved to have seen it but I’m still counting it as my fifth lifer. This is what they look like and, in the U.S., are only found in Arizona and occasionally southern Texas. They’re really a Mexican bird and look very exotic and tropical. Someday we’ll see one!!!!

I love these birds and they are plentiful there. They are also a Mexican bird found only in southern AZ and southern TX:

Mexican Jay

They’re loud and boisterous like other Jays.

View from Old Baldy Trail

Santa Rita Lodge also has hummingbird feeders. I think these are the most beautiful of the hummers I’ve seen:

Broad-billed Hummingbirds (last one is a female)

Cordilleran Flycatcher

Chipping Sparrow

Black-headed Grosbeak

Just like last year, as we were getting ready to leave, we saw a couple of these guys:

Coues White-tailed Deer

The weather was perfect and it was another great day in Madera Canyon!

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Yard Moments

Ash-throated Flycatcher, Yard Bird #39

Abert’s Towhee

Curve-billed Thrasher

Inca Dove

White-winged Dove

Verdin

These Black-chinned Hummingbirds are smaller than our resident Anna’s Hummingbirds. They’re also more skittish. It’s really hard to get a photo of their purple collar as well as getting them in flight. I wasn’t able to get a photo yet of one flying while showing the purple.

Black-chinned Hummingbird, male

Black-chinned Hummingbird, female

White-crowned Sparrow

Green-tailed Towhee, Yard Bird #40

I was totally shocked to see this guy, above, but it is spring migration so you never know who may pop by. We have a mulberry bush with berries right now but I don’t know if he got any and I haven’t seen him since. They are beautiful birds. He appeared at almost sunset with the sun right behind him and only posed on a wire so these aren’t the greatest shots.

Mom House Sparrow feeding baby

House Finch, immature 

House Finches, male

The orange guy is a little different from all the red ones we have. It’s partly due to diet and genetics. This is an interesting article about why redder is not always better for finches.

Anna’s Hummingbird, flying by fake hummer

Stripey and the Solar Cat

See Stripey’s tongue sticking out? I don’t think she was too impressed with the solar cat.

It’s Still Spring

“How many peanuts can I fit in my bill?”

Abert’s Towhees

It was an exciting day in the yard last week when yard bird #38 showed up, haven’t seen it since:

Cooper’s Hawk, immature

House Finches, male feeding female (or young one)

Gila Woodpecker, male

This was also exciting (to me). After 24 years of living in this house and having our aloe veras multiply exponentially so that there are now several beds of them, we had one that bloomed yellow. How that hasn’t happened until now and why it’s the only one that is a different species is a mystery. The hummingbirds love the orange ones but didn’t seem impressed by this yellow one so the bees took over.

Honey Bee on yellow Aloe blooms

Verdin

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

Anna’s Hummingbird, female

Prepare for cuteness. This little Anna’s fledgling wants her mom to keep feeding her but mom thinks she needs to be on her own, with a little supervision:

You can see she’s able to find food with all the pollen on her bill. She just wants her mom to do it.

Here is my NSFW (Not Safe for Work) image, pretend it’s Nat Geo:

Curve-billed Thrashers

A sure sign of spring in the desert is the return of these guys, who love to drink the nectar from saguaro blossoms. As far as I know, there are very few or no saguaros in our neighborhood but we always get a few of them who hang out here. The blue eye shadow is very noticeable.

White-winged Dove

My little Orange-crowned Warbler that stayed in our yard for the last 5 months has now migrated, too. Hope he or she returns in the fall.

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Spring’s Arrival

Verdin

Happy Spring! I know it may not look like spring everywhere but it does here in Arizona. These first 3 shots were taken in our yard on the Vernal Equinox and the others were taken close to it.

Painted Lady on Lantana

There are actually 4 critters in the above photo, 2 besides the obvious butterfly and bee, which I didn’t see until editing the photo. The answers to this puzzle will appear at the end of this post.

Fiery Skipper on Lantana

Black-chinned Hummingbird, male

We only have Black-chinned hummers in the spring. I don’t know if this is the same one that has been coming for the last couple of years but he arrived on schedule and usually stays until May. It’s very hard to get a shot with the purple collar showing but here is one from last year. I hope he will be cooperative again this year. Right now he is very shy and skittish.

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Giant Swallowtail

Anna’s Hummingbird, male

Yesterday I was at the Desert Botanical Garden, specifically looking for this one particular bird that has been there for several weeks. I’m always amazed when I can find one little bird in a big place but this time I actually did within about 10 minutes and not where he normally hangs out. He should be migrating to California soon but maybe he has decided to stay. He is molting right now so his throat feathers will be more resplendent in coming weeks but he’s still pretty cute right now.

From Granada Park in Phoenix:

Yellow-rumped Warbler, female

American Wigeon,male

Rosy-faced Lovebird

From Lake Margherite in Scottsdale:

Northern Shoveler couple

From Evelyn Hallman Park in Tempe:

Green Heron

What says “Spring” like baby ducks?

Mallard ducklings

The four critters in the butterfly and bee photo:

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