“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.
“For me? I hope it’s peanuts.”
“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.
“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.
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.
Svengali, Kit, Stripey
Jessi, Ivory, Ferguson
Ebony, Google, Edie, Torti
Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice…if you celebrate…
I love observing and learning about the critters right in our own back yard. There is always something going on if you take the time to look…
The last few days, I moved my portable perch over to the only thing in our yard that has autumn colors…the pomegranate bush…which didn’t produce any pomegranates this year. That’s too bad because birds love pomegranates. Adding a few peanuts to the perch draws them in, though.
House Sparrows, female and male
This very strange looking little creature dropped by. Someone on Facebook was able to ID it for me. “Tylospilus acutissimus is a species of predatory stink bug in the family Pentatomidae. It is found in the Caribbean, Central America, North America, and South America.” (Wikipedia)
This moth was found floating in a tub of water in the backyard. I thought it was a goner but it flew away after a couple hours of rest…look at its cute face!
A Honeybee was upside down in a container of grape jelly filled with rain. I put her in a dry spot and gave her some jelly which you can see she is sucking up here and she flew away after awhile, too. Both took off to pollinate the world!
My favorite winter visitor also loves grape jelly…
Lesser Goldfinches, male and female (they love baths and thistle)
Here’s a few citizen scientist things you can do in your yard (click to go to articles):
- Don’t rake your leaves as much.
- Join eBird and record your sightings.
- Feed the birds, especially in the winter.
Ash-throated Flycatcher, Yard Bird #39
These Black-chinned Hummingbirds are smaller than our resident Anna’s Hummingbirds. They’re also more skittish. It’s really hard to get a photo of their purple collar as well as getting them in flight. I wasn’t able to get a photo yet of one flying while showing the purple.
Black-chinned Hummingbird, male
Black-chinned Hummingbird, female
Green-tailed Towhee, Yard Bird #40
I was totally shocked to see this guy, above, but it is spring migration so you never know who may pop by. We have a mulberry bush with berries right now but I don’t know if he got any and I haven’t seen him since. They are beautiful birds. He appeared at almost sunset with the sun right behind him and only posed on a wire so these aren’t the greatest shots.
Mom House Sparrow feeding baby
House Finch, immature
House Finches, male
The orange guy is a little different from all the red ones we have. It’s partly due to diet and genetics. This is an interesting article about why redder is not always better for finches.
Anna’s Hummingbird, flying by fake hummer
Stripey and the Solar Cat
See Stripey’s tongue sticking out? I don’t think she was too impressed with the solar cat.
Brown’s Ranch was founded in 1917 by E.O. Brown, a Scottsdale entrepreneur, and encompassed 44,000 acres at its peak, supporting 3,000 to 5,000 head of cattle. His descendants lived on the ranch until 1970. After changing hands several times, the remainder of the ranch was acquired by the City of Scottsdale in 1999 for inclusion in the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The Preserve is a large, permanently protected, sustainable desert habitat that includes an interconnected network of non-motorized, multi-use trails (hike/bike/horse) accessed from multiple trailhead locations over 30,500 acres. It is the largest urban park in the U.S.
It was a sunny, windy day and the 3 mile Brown’s Ranch Trail just got prettier and birdier the farther we went. We’d never been to any part of the Preserve before and I had no idea it was so beautiful. The trails were great. We’ll be exploring more of it soon.
White-crowned Sparrow (on agave stalk)
I imagine in the spring, when the desert is in bloom, that it is even more spectacular.
Cactus Wren (on agave stalk)
Phainopepla, male (on agave stalk)
Gilded Flicker couple
Yes, those are bullet holes even though shooting is not allowed in the Preserve. But this is Arizona, the Wild West.
Mount Humboldt with FAA Radar Facility
Northern Mockingbird (on agave stalk)
There were no lifers but it is definitely on the “return to” list, at some point. And I learned that birds love dried agave stalks so I am in search of one for my backyard photo props.
Curve-billed Thrasher with treat
The birds (and other critters) have been having a ball in our yard the last few days leading up to Halloween. In addition to their regular oranges, grape jelly, and suet, they’ve been enjoying bird seed packed with fruits and nuts that I recently won in the Pennington Wild Bird Photo Contest (with this photo). Plus they find extra goodies in the yard like insects, berries, and pomegranates.
Gilded Flicker, female, yard bird species #33
This girl, above, has started dropping by for a drink now and then. She’s so pretty.
Honey Bees enjoying pine sap
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
House Finch, female
White-crowned Sparrow, first of season
House Finches, male
Gila Woodpecker, male
Queen Butterfly in Mesquite
If this is the same warbler, this will be its third year to winter in our yard. He or she is also over a month early so I’m not positive it’s the same one yet. Time may tell…I hope it is or, if not, I hope the other one will show up later and I’ll have 2. There is grape jelly in this feeder and this bird loves it.
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