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


Starlings in Cactus with ornament_edited-2


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.


Cats x 10_edited-2

Svengali, Kit, Stripey

Jessi, Ivory, Ferguson

Ebony, Google, Edie, Torti

Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice…if you celebrate…



Sellah Park

Woody 1

There’s a small park in Tempe that I had never heard of with a little pond. The word got out among the local birders and bird photographers that a male Wood Duck and two females were hanging out there for the winter. Wood Ducks are not real common in the Phoenix area although a few are spotted here and there most winters. I hadn’t seen any in a couple years so I headed out last Sunday and got there shortly before sunset.

Woody 3

Woody 4

Of course, the male was the star of the show but the females are pretty, too.

Woody Girl 2

Woody and Ladies

It was getting dark but I was fortunate to catch a few golden patches of water.

Woody 2

Plus…to make things even better, there was a rare bird there, too, which was part of the draw. This tiny little guy is native to South America so everyone assumed he was an escapee from a zoo or private collection. Apparently, the latter is the case. He belongs to someone who lives a couple of blocks from the park and recently escaped. The owner knows where he is and comes to visit him but has decided he seems happy so is leaving him there. Hope he’ll be okay because he’s pretty tame and much smaller than one would think.

Ringed Teal 1

Ringed Teal 2

Ringed Teal 3Ringed Teal, male

Both these boys were more than happy to pose for the cameras. I have so many photos that I had to try a couple special effects…

Woody Orton and Blur_edited-1Orton Effect

Woody WC Square_edited-1Watercolor

My last Wood Duck experience can be seen here.

thanksgiving-png-1 bckgrnd

Apache Trail

Canyon Lake Pano

Canyon Lake Vista

We went on another new-to-us day trip the other day. We took the Apache Trail (SR 88) from Apache Junction to 6 miles past Tortilla Flat (Milepost 220). I spent hours trying to stitch these 3 photos above into a panorama but could only do two without it getting all bolloxed up. So I opted for using the last 2. Guess I need to experiment more.

Tortilla Flat (pop. 6) is a 115 year old former stagecoach stop that is now a tourist trap with restaurant, saloon, general store, mercantile, and museum, but the drive there is lovely and paved.


Tortilla CreekTortilla Creek

American SnoutAmerican Snout

Green Ocotillos

Ocotillo Close

It’s rained a lot in our area lately due to 2 tropical storms. I’ve never seen such green Ocotillos; they almost looked plastic.

Rolling Mtns

More Mtns

BridgeBoulder Creek Bridge, built in 1937

It was another cloudy day and there weren’t many birds cooperating. Here are a couple we saw by the lake.

YRWAYellow-rumped Warbler

RWBLRed-winged Blackbird, male

Osprey on Wire

Osprey 2_edited-1Ospreys

We saw a few Ospreys, going in for the dive, but no one came up with anything while we were watching.

Hide 1Someone’s hide and hair; it is the Wild West

Pavement Ends_edited-1

This is where we stopped, not so much because we’re chickens but our SUV is not a 4WD. We might rent a Jeep one day and do the rest of the trip. I’ve heard December is the best time to take the drive because of the fall colors. I think it would be pretty dramatic since I know you see Fish Creek, Apache Lake, the Salt River, and end at Roosevelt Lake.


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This is the only actual Halloween shot I’ve taken this year. I thought the birds would be more responsive to getting a treat by doing a trick for me but…wrong. Just this guy, one time…at least while I was watching and waiting.

So I had to find some older photos that might seem a little spooky or creepy…hope you don’t get too scared.



bones-on-ballDem Bones

dsc_0001-cropCreepy Mausoleum






dsc_0015-lomo page_1 dsc_0026

dsc_2426Lalo Cota mural


lalo-cropped-squareLalo Cota painting

ants-dhr_edited-1Emerging from the depths of the earth…






The Magic Tunnel, etc.

Tunnel and Bldg_edited-1

I went to Dreamy Draw Recreation Area again the other day, part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve (past posts of mine from there 1, 2, 3). Dreamy Draw is the site of a purported 1947 UFO crash and it is said the dam was built to cover up the evidence. That may be urban legend but it is true that this area was full of mercury mines in the early 1900s and got its name from the “dreamy” miners who were affected by the toxins. At any rate, the place always gives me the slight creeps…

The tunnel goes under the freeway so hikers can easily get to the other part of the park. What you see on the other side is a dilapidated house in downtown Phoenix, a few miles away and a few years ago. I guess the mercury vapors are still floating around…or maybe it was the magic of Photoshop…

Dreamy Draw Dam_edited-1

This is the dam, above.


Metal Contraption

Spaceship debris?


Blurry Fence

This is an interesting article on the lore of Dreamy Draw.

Do you ever have a bunch of stray photos sitting on your desktop that don’t really go with anything else? I do and I’m trying to organize my photos today so I need to file these away.



This is not my photo. It’s a drone shot that my friend, Cynthia, sent me, taken on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific, home of the Norfolk Pine, where she lives. It’s a very small island, owned by Australia, and 600 miles away from New Zealand. It’s where many of the Bounty mutineers settled and half of the current residents are their descendants. It also has a rich history of being a penal colony. Anyway, if you click on the photo, you can see her house on the left hand side with the red peaked roof. I wish I had a drone…


The following photos were taken in January, when my friend, Regina, who lives in Pittsburgh, was visiting Arizona. We had not seen each other in 40 years, since college days. I’ve posted photos from Sahuaro Ranch before (1, 2) but, on this particular day, I didn’t take many photos since Regina and I were catching up.


There are over 100 peacocks on the property as well as citrus orchards, a rose garden, chickens, and historic buildings. It’s a working farm, to some extent.


Siamese Orange

This park is owned by the City of Glendale. There are many feral cats on the property who are all neutered and fed and cared for by volunteers.

Palm Holes

Feather on Concrete

Brown Bunny

Bunnies, too.

Black Cat