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.
The European Starlings were decorating their cactus the other day at Granada Park, which I am now considering my “home park.” It’s the closest city park with a lake (2 of them) to our house and it also has trails leading out into the desert foothills of Piestewa Peak, part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
“I refuse to be outdone by those Starlings!”
So it has both desert and water habitats and the resulting wildlife. I go there at least once a week with my camera. A lot of my photos in the last few months were taken there.
There’s a little hidden area where someone keeps the bird feeders stocked. Unfortunately, the birds hear me coming and fly away before I can get any good shots of them.
Although there are currently migrating Mallards, American Wigeons, American Coots, and Ring-Necked Ducks there, these are some of the year-round regulars that are basically just hybirds and domestic ducks (“City Park Specials”) but I think they are handsome, nevertheless.
I love this guy, above, who looks like he is posing for me. He hangs out with a couple of the big white ducks and geese most of the time.
And a few fun-loving Mallards to finish it off:
*Certain Photoshopped elements courtesy of Obsidian Dawn.