Fine Feathered Friends

Gila Woodpecker Feathers
Steller’s Jay Feather
Red-tailed Hawk Feather

A collection of Anna’s hummingbird photos over the last few days. I think most of them are the hummer I call “Comet” who definitely dominates the backyard feeders. But the last 3 are a younger male Anna’s, just beginning to grow his gorget feathers. He mostly stays by the feeder in the front yard. Probably smart. There are others around, too, but they just are too skittish most of the time.

And this is yet another Verdin nest that blew down during a recent wind. It was already an abandoned nest, though. We’re waiting for our monsoon season that has not quite happened yet and cooler temps that have not quite happened yet. Climate change, you know.

Back to the Woods

Untitled_Panorama1_edited-1

Woods Canyon Lake, east of Payson, that is. It’s one of our favorite places but we hadn’t been there yet this year. It didn’t disappoint and the temperature was 70°! We saw some areas of the lake we hadn’t seen before.

WCL Boat

WC Other Area

Some of the animals appreciated the peanuts (and a little popcorn) we brought for them.

Chippy Stripes

GC ChipmunkGray-collared Chipmunk

Puffy Cheeks

Puffy Cheeks 2Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Chipmunks have stripes through their faces, squirrels do not.

Hermit Thrush bokeh

Hermit Thrush

Hermit Thrush JuvieHermit Thrushes (last one is a juvenile)

Okay, I’m sorry, I have way too many photos of the following birds but they were so loudly excited about the peanuts and so pretty that I couldn’t stop. I still have way more; maybe a post featuring just them will be forthcoming:

STJA Wings

STJA Windy

STJA Sun

STJA Green

STJA Rock Grayer

STJA RockSteller’s Jays

Almost as raucous as the jays were several of these guys:

Raven

Raven Rock

Raven 4

Raven 1Common Ravens

FlickerGilded Flicker

Hint of Fall

Red LeafA Hint of Fall

Shroom

Pine Root_edited-1

Pines and Bushes

Awesome, as always, to be back in the woods.

Tonto Creek

Tonto Creek 1

Tonto Creek 3

We went back to the Mogollon Rim one day last week but to a different place, Tonto Creek. It was a sunny, breezy, cool (for us) day.

Trout

My 3 month streak of no lifers ended on this day with 2 new birds.

Common Blackhawk 1_edited-1

Common Blackhawk 2

Common Blackhawk 3Common Black Hawk

These birds are not real common although they are known in that location. When they’re adults, they are mostly black but isn’t this one a beautiful bird? He’s learning young how to hunt the lazy way since he was at the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery and I imagine he can just swoop down into the raceways and grab a fish when he wants.

Tonto Creek 2

American Lady 1American Lady (I usually see Painted Ladies)

Hummingbird MothWhite-lined Sphinx Moth (Hummingbird Moth)

Southwestern AzuresSouthwestern Azures

Swainson's ThrushSwainson’s Thrush (2nd Lifer)

Tonto Creek 4

We still had a little time  before we needed to head back to Phoenix so we drove on a few miles back to Willow Springs Lake. The only other time we were there it was cold and raining even though it was July.

Willow Springs Lake 2

Steller's JaySteller’s Jay

GM Ground Squirrle Apple 1

Squirrel-and-AppleGolden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Willow Springs Lake 1

75° felt great!

On the Road Again

We finally got started on our AZ day trips again. I’ve been back from IN for about 6 weeks and, with a sick kitty (who now feels better), monsoons, and other assorted issues, it seemed hard to get going. But we went back to Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim (one of our many favorite places) yesterday. The temperature was 68 degrees, quite a nice relief from the constant Phoenix heat. Cool, refreshing, beautiful, peaceful. Here are some of our sights in semi-chronological order.

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

We were feeding these guys peanuts, which you can see are stuffed in this one’s cheeks, but we also dropped the occasional piece of popcorn. This one was particularly greedy and unafraid of us so kept begging for more.

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel and Grey-collared Chipmunk (in foreground)

Most Jays are very loud, very pretty, and fun to watch and these are no exception.

Steller’s Jay

I was very surprised to see this guy land quite close to me before he took off in a hurry. We also saw several members of its family flying over the lake.

Bald Eagle, immature

It was so lush in the forest after all the monsoon rains. No mosquitoes, though!

Speaking of loud and boisterous:

Common Raven

It was not real birdy, though, oddly. Other than hearing the Jays and Ravens, it was pretty quiet. We did also see, briefly, some sort of wren, warbler, and woodpecker but not long enough for photos.

Then we stopped on the Rim for the views before we left and there we saw more birds. There were many Turkey Vultures riding the currents.

This is the very edge of the Rim, looking down, glad I didn’t trip:

Lesser Goldfinch

There were several varieties of pine (or fir?) trees here.

Dark-eyed Junco, Red-backed subspecies, juvenile

Plateau Fence Lizard

Mountains as far as you can see. It was great to be out again and to have something different to blog about again! Hopefully, we are back in our routine of regular adventures.

Woods Canyon Lake

White-breasted Nuthatch

Pygmy Nuthatch

Tony and I were back on the beautiful Mogollon Rim one day last week, specifically at Woods Canyon Lake. We met our good buddy, Marika, there. She has been volunteer camp hosting at an Arizona State Park close to Show Low for the last 2 months and Woods Canyon was a half-way point between there and Phoenix.

Marika is an experienced birder and it’s largely because of her that I got 3 lifers this day!

Mountain Chickadee (lifer)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (lifer)

And a very bad shot:

Hermit Thrush (lifer)

The chipmunks and squirrels were decimating the pine cones. Delicious!

These guys were lifers when we were there in June:

Brown Creeper

Steller’s Jay

The last time we were at Woods Canyon, I got 3 lifers so that is a total of 6 lifers I have gotten there! Good birding.

Since it’s the month of Halloween, here’s the creepiest thing spotted that day:

Western Tent Caterpillars

The Rim Road leading to the lake has many exceptional vista points and a trail that goes right along the edge of the Rim. We stopped there on the way out and took in the always breath-taking views.

SR 260

Rock Squirrel, appreciating the view from the edge of the Rim

Also in the spirit of Halloween, the bizarrest thing spotted that day, just laying on a rock close to the edge…fun to speculate all the dark reasons why that might have been laying there…Boo!

Rockin’ the Rim:

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