Holiday Birding

The Holiday Office Party

The two Curve-billed Thrashers in my yard are exceedingly curious and also very fond of unsalted peanuts. I sort of accidentally realized that anytime I put something different on this little outdoor table, they will quickly jump up to check it out and keep doing so if there are some peanuts involved. So I started a little series of them checking things out. They both share the spotlight in the following photos.

Santa Got Run Over By a Thrasher

Some outtakes from that shoot…

The Winter Solstice
Embellished Winter Solstice
A December to Remember

We just finished watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix:

Huddling Inca Doves

Actually, it turns out that the Abert’s Towhees and Northern Mockingbirds (2 of each) are also fairly curious and I have a few shots of them joining in various festivities which I’ll post at another time.

Meanwhile, here are a few more of the little yardbirds (an Anna’s Hummingbird, House Finch, Gila Woodpecker, my wintering Orange-crowned Warbler, and Verdin) wishing you a safe, healthy, Happy Solstice, Happy Yule, and Happy Holidays!

Birdsong

Sometimes there are 50 or more birds in our yard at one time, eating, hanging out…and the cacophony of bird sounds is pretty intense. Other times there are gentle chirps and buzzes…

Abert’s Towhees

Curve-billed Thrashers

House Sparrow
Gila Woodpecker
Rosy-faced Lovebird

House Finches (click to enlarge)

The Anna’s Hummingbirds are sipping from the plants I recently bought.

And perching and fighting and showing their colors…(click to enlarge)

Northern Mockingbird

And my little Orange-crowned Warbler happily winters here…

But they all need to watch out for this guy:

American Kestrel

Sequestered

Thanks to my cousin, Deborah, for describing these times as “sequestered,” so I could use it for this title.

Anna’s Hummingbird, male, and yes, nature called in the last photo.

Abert’s Towhee

This is the stalk from an agave that my neighbors gave me as I wanted it for a photo perch. So…this is the only bird I have seen use it briefly! Still hoping for a little more action.

Verdin, immature

The above photo is of a Gray Hairstreak, not a particularly good shot, but you can see how the markings on the hindwing mimic antennae and eyes so that a potential predator may attack there rather than the head.

I had one more socially distanced visit with my friend, Maggie, in a park the other day. It has now become so hot in Phoenix that it is doubtful we can do that for a couple more months. Saw a couple birds:

Black Phoebe
Northern Mockingbird
American Kestrel
Almost full moon on July 2

Here is something else I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on lately. It’s something of a “Vision Board” or “Dream Board,” hoping that it will manifest if I wish it so. It’s a composite photo with several layers of symbolic/representative elements added:

This was the original photo that I used, taken on the Apache Trail:

Some of the elements added were taken from the internet (most of them) and a couple were from photos I’ve taken, including the tiny hummingbird in the upper left.

I’ve also spent many hours collecting some 19th century photos and writing fact-based, fictional stories about the subjects and further hoping to include them in my road trip. In fact, on the road trip photo above, the box of photos is pictured on the lower right hand side. So I want to do a Road Show within a Road Trip. Yes, I know I sound nutty: sequestering can do that to you.

if you would like to see the vintage photos and read their stories, I have linked it here on my blog as a PDF. You can download it or just read it here: Fanciful Facts.

Mount Lemmon

Geology Vista Point Closeup

Geology Vista Point_edited-1Geology Vista Point

Okay, as of right now, beautiful Mount Lemmon in Tucson is now my favorite Arizona destination. There is only an ugly 2 hour drive on I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson and then an annoying drive through Tucson between it and me.

Both Tony and I had been to Mt. Lemmon decades ago, separately, yet neither one of us really remembered it. If I had, it would not have taken so long to go back. It is awesomely beautiful and goes through several life zones before reaching the 9,000+ foot peak by an extremely nice 2 lane highway.

Hoodoo You Love

Hoodoos abound.

Bear Country

Pipevine SwallowtailPipevine Swallowtail

Lake View_edited-1

Neither of us even knew there was a lake up there…Rose Canyon Lake. Small yet gorgeous. Here are a few panoramas. If you want to see them larger, click here: 1, 2, 3.

Rose Canyon Lake Pano 2_edited-1

Rose Canyon Lake Pano 1_edited-1

Rose Canyon Lake 10 Pano_edited-1

Dam

Seriously sublime!

Dragonfly on Log

Red Dragonfly

I got my one and only lifer here.

Yellow-eyed Junco 2

Yellow-eyed JuncoYellow-eyed Junco

We actually saw several. Normally getting only one lifer when I knew so many others had to be there would have saddened me…not up here because it was just so awesome!

Dull Firetip SkipperDull Firetip Skipper

Chipping SparrowChipping Sparrow

Onward and upward we went through a beautiful census designated place (CDP) called Summerhaven, full of beautiful chalet-type summer homes. Yes, I want to live there now.

Bear Crossing

Abert's SquirrelAbert’s Squirrel

Purple Flower

The ski run was closed but this was the view from Ski Valley. This is the southernmost ski resort in the U.S. The temperature up here was a refreshing 75° while it was a toasty 113° in Phoenix.

From Ski Valley

This place was phenomenal!

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Holiday Cheer

OCWA in Snow 2_edited-1“I’m glad I’m wintering in Phoenix!”

Are you in the mood for the holidays? Hmmm, I’m not really (yet, anyway) but here are a few photos of my yard birds beginning to celebrate.

Finch Christmas Tree_edited-1

Thrasher with Present_edited-1“For me? I hope it’s peanuts.”

Hum 12.18

GIWO House_MC-1“I pecked that myself.”

That was an Orange-crowned Warbler (“Tink”), a House Finch, a Curve-billed Thrasher,  an Anna’s Hummingbird, and a Gila Woodpecker.

Google Sweater“Mom, I wish we had a fireplace and I wish I had a Christmas sweater.”

And here are a few from holidays past…beginning with Google in 2009. He still likes the Christmas tree but mostly lays under it instead of in it now.

Goog in Tree sharper

Our Perch 1_edited-1

Robin

Starlings in Cactus with ornament_edited-2

santa-verdin

Christmas Mocks ps

Say's Phoebe Ornament

Bun Antlers

House Sparrows, an American Robin, European Starlings, a Verdin, Northern Mockingbirds, a Say’s Phoebe, and a Desert Cottontail were all hoping for some holiday cheer.

merry-and-bright

Cats x 10_edited-2

Svengali, Kit, Stripey

Jessi, Ivory, Ferguson

Ebony, Google, Edie, Torti

Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice…if you celebrate…