The Locals



eagle-young-3Bald Eagle, immature

This is either Hope or Joy, one of 2 Bald Eagles hatched in a nest in a Scottsdale golf course last spring (in a densely populated area). They were well-known locally then and each of them fell from their nest as nestlings and were placed back in by Arizona Game and Fish and Liberty Wildlife rehabbers. You can read their story and see them as babies here and here. I never saw them last year as their exact location was a secret, for their safety.

Anyway, I was at Lake Marguerite, which isn’t far from that golf course, a couple times recently looking for a Hairy Woodpecker and the second time I looked up and Hope or Joy was watching me! It’s always exciting to see a bald eagle, I think, and he/she took off right as I watched, zipped over the lake, swooped down, grabbed a fish, and flew off right by me. And I even saw the Hairy Woodpecker (which was my 12th lifer this year) but the photo is basically a black and white blur so I won’t show it here. However, I got a couple shots of this girl:


lbwp-2Ladder-backed Woodpecker, female

ruddy-ducks-lmRuddy Ducks

I was also at Granada Park recently, my old standby park that I don’t visit much anymore, and I was surprised to see this beautiful guy watching me from the trees. While not a lifer, it was the best shots I’ve ever gotten of one.


coop-hawk-2Cooper’s Hawk

cormy-1Neotropic Cormorant

ring-necked-duckRing-necked Duck

yrwa-1Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

And when I was recently volunteering at the Desert Botanical Garden, I walked around afterwards and saw a few more critters.

gila-wp-1-17-17Gila Woodpecker, male

costas-1-17-17Costa’s Hummingbird, male

costas-girl-1-17-17Costa’s hummingbird, female


squirrel-2Rock Squirrel


thrashers-1-17-17Curve-billed Thrashers

towheesAbert’s Towhees

Sappy and Happy

RB Sapsucker 5


I heard this Red-breasted Sapsucker was in a park in Scottsdale and even had directions to the exact tree he likes the best. As it was, he was in the tree across the path but two women were already photographing him so I didn’t even have to look for him. He’s an Arizona rarity as he is really a northern Pacific coast bird who likes coniferous forests. He’s settling for mesquite trees in Arizona for now.

RB Sapsucker 2

RB Sapsucker 3

He’s beautiful and totally cooperative as shutters click all around him.

RBSS face

RB Sapsucker 4

I have about 80 photos of him so he might reappear on my blog again someday. I then went to a nearby pond and saw 2 Mute Swans.

Mute Swan 12.15

And some Killdeer.


As if all that wasn’t exciting enough, I stopped at Granada Park on my way home and saw this cousin of the Red-breasted Sapsucker:

LB WoodpeckerLadder-backed Woodpecker

And, speaking of coniferous forests, this guy dropped by our Goldwater Pine just in time to wish everyone Happy Holidays!


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.




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




Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

Gila in Palm

Gila Woodpecker


Great-Tailed Grackle, female


European Starling



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!!!!!!).

Birds of Color




American Kestrel, male



Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, male


Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted, male

Flicker 1

Gilded Flicker or Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted, male


Gilded Flicker, female


Gila Woodpecker

Lovebirds 2  Lovebird 3

Rosy-Faced Lovebirds

Lovebird Nibble

Rosy-Faced Lovebird, juvenile


Rock Pigeon

White-Crowned Sparrow

White-Crowned Sparrow


Anna’s Hummingbird, female






House Finches, female and male


European Starling

*Note to birds: When posing for photos, please make sure there are no branches, leaves, cactus needles, string, or other obtrusive objects between you and the camera. Thank you.

Urban Adapters



Shopping Cart

This Neotropic Cormorant was on the Arizona Canal that winds through the Phoenix area. Fortunately, although Phoenix is very urban, we do have a lot of parks, desert preserves, and riparian areas where wild animals can still hang out in a natural environment but many are just adapting to what we leave them. I don’t know what it is about shopping carts that makes people want to shove them in a canal but it’s a pretty common sight in the city. Some people are pigs.


Stuffed in Canal


He’s cute, though, and he can fly away from all these eyesores if he chooses.



“Why are you ruining my environment?”

One general feature of bird species that adapt well to urban environments is they tend to be the species with bigger brains, perhaps allowing them to be more adaptable to the changeable urban environment (BBC).

Flicker Female 2

Gilded Flicker

Gila Woodpecker

Gila Woodpecker


Ladder-Backed Woodpecker (my first)


Gila Woodpecker


Abert’s Towhee


Black Phoebe

Hawk 2 June 13


Harris’s Hawk

I guess that means pigeons must have big brains inside those tiny, bobbing heads?

Rokinon Pigeon