Canvasback drakes meeting Mallard couple
They’re diving ducks:
I hadn’t seen a Canvasback duck for a couple of years so it was fun to see two handsome drakes when I went to Granada Park, a Phoenix city park, the other day. Through part of 2014 and all of 2015 and 2016, I went to Granada Park about once a week and saw a lot of cool birds there. Starting in 2017, I quit finding new birds and it was kind of boring so I didn’t go much in 2017 and this is only the second time this year that I’ve gone. It was nice to be back on a crisp day. I didn’t see any new birds but it was still fun to see who may be spending the winter. Plenty of the following ducks were there:
American Wigeons, males
Great-tailed Grackle, female
Northern Flicker, Red-shafted, female
Gilded Flicker, male
Mourning Dove, feeling sublime
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, female
It’s been really cold here, freezing at night, so many of the plants are covered up. The outdoor kitties have a lot of extra blankets and towels in their beds (and a new igloo but it only fits one, unfortunately) and the birds are bundled up.
Tink, the Orange-crowned Warbler, is happy for all the grape jelly but wishes it would warm up. She kindly posed for a New Year’s photo, though…
Acorn Woodpecker, female
If you don’t live in the purple range below at an elevation over 4500 feet, maybe you’ve never seen one of these comical woodpeckers before. I hadn’t~at least not since I’ve been paying attention to birds. So I was excited to see a lot of them the other day when we went to Goldwater Lake in Prescott, AZ.
This is a granary tree, above, the main food storage “pantry” created and used by communal groups of these fascinating woodpeckers. They have a complex social system where family groups hold territories, and young woodpeckers stay with their parents for several years and help the parents raise more young. Several different individuals of each sex may breed within one family, with up to seven breeding males and three breeding females in one group (Cornell Lab). There can be up to 50,000 holes in one tree!
Acorn Woodpecker, male
This whole area was very birdy and beautiful! The dam separates the upper and lower lakes.
Western Bluebird, female
Western Bluebird, male
The Bluebirds were also lifers and the female was very accommodating. I have many shots of her. Also easy to photograph were the Juncos. I got a new subspecies, below. I also got another lifer, a Bridled Titmouse, but my photos are very blurry.
Dark-eyed Junco, Red-backed
This is actually a Prescott city park but it is part of Prescott National Forest. Nice trails.
Common Raven, snacking
Ruddy Duck, with blue bill in breeding plumage
Great Blue Heron
Marine Blue Butterfly
Canvasback Duck, drake
Canvasback Duck, hen
While not technically a lifer because I saw a female Canvasback last year, I had never seen a male Canvasback until I was at Granada Park recently. I love those red eyes.
It was a gloomy day so the water looked murky. I didn’t know what the following duck was until later and he isn’t a lifer either but I had never seen a juvenile Redhead before:
This is what he will look like when he grows up (from the same lake last year), another handsome duck:
And because they are so often overlooked because they are common, yet really pretty:
Western Pygmy Blue
Redhead drake (lifer)
Mallards (he’s crested)
Common Merganser hen (reminder: I need to get my hair cut)
Ring-Necked Duck drake
Ring-Necked Duck hens
Some of our ducky friends will be heading out soon, back up north. Safe travels, guys. It’s been fun spending time with you.
Are you the sort of person who looks up when geese fly over? I always do; they make me happy because they seem so happy. I see them a lot, at home, and around where I work. A couple weeks ago, I was walking into work and a flock flew overhead so I looked up. Then I looked around to see who else might have seen them…hard to miss because they were loudly honking away. Everyone else was looking at their phones or their feet. I’d rather see geese, wouldn’t you?
Here’s the duck portion, a little Duck Drama:
And then they swam away together, with a mediator, letting bygones be bygones.