Critters Prettily Lit

Thrasher BuffetedCurve-billed Thrasher

The above bird was seen at Glendale Xeriscape Garden (on a very windy day). I’ve been to quite a few locations in the past couple of weeks looking for birds but didn’t get enough good shots at any to make a post on their own so the theme here is “pretty lighting.”

Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center:Hummer AudubonAnna’s Hummingbird, male

Phoebe Stick 1Black Phoebe

Sorry, Dragonfly :(
Sorry, Dragonfly 😦

Tempe Town Lake:Verdin Munch 2Verdin

Desert Botanical Garden:Finch BabyHouse Finch, juvenile

RT Ground SquirrelRound-tailed Ground Squirrel

Glenrosa Estates (our yard):Towhee PineAbert’s Towhee

2 SkippersCommon-checkered and Fiery Skippers

IncasInca Doves

Liz MesquiteTree Lizard

Gila WPGila Woodpecker, male

BCHU BuzzyBlack-chinned Hummingbird, male

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*I’m adding this post to the weekly WordPress Photo Challenge because it represents how I view the Earth through my lens. Check some of the other blog posts out.


Kinda More of the Same

Towhee PerchAbert’s Towhee

So, two exciting things happened in my yard yesterday~but they’re not really all that exciting 🙂 First, I finally got a different kind of bird on my perch! Previously only Curve-billed Thrashers and House Sparrows were brave enough to go after the hidden peanuts~at least when I was outside. Finally, the above Towhee was cooperative enough to sit there for a few seconds while I fired off some shots and he got his peanut as a reward.


BCHU 2Black-chinned Hummingbird

Second, a Black-chinned Hummingbird showed up! Last year, one came in May and stayed a few weeks so I wasn’t expecting any yet but was hoping one or more would show up this year. Unfortunately, their dapper purple collar is hard to capture unless the sun hits them just right, which it did not here. I never got good shots last year but I hope to this year before he goes on his merry way~or maybe he will stay. This type of hummer is smaller than the already tiny Anna’s Hummingbirds I usually post.

Thrasher Nut Perch

Thrash BalanceCurve-billed Thrasher

Mock BathNorthern Mockingbird


Finch Female

Finch Male 3.24.16

Finch OrangeHouse Finches, male and female

Gila 3.24.16

GW 1.9.16_edited-1Gila Woodpecker, male

And I never, ever get tired of these cutie-pies. They, along with Bushtits, Titmice, and Chickadees, are in the Paridae family. These guys are only found in the Southwest:

Verdin 3 3.22.16

Verdin 3.22.16 2Verdin

I had thought that when I retired, I would go out birding more but so many days I take my coffee out to the yard and wind up staying there, entertained by the locals. Lifers in my yard are few and far between,though, so I need to get out in the wild more!

Early Spring at the DBG

Finch Cactus

Finch Minimalist

Finch Nest BuildHouse Finches

The cacti are not yet blooming but the birds and other critters are busy~singing, nest-building, flying, and running around at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Harris's antelope SquirrelHarris’s Antelope Squirrel

Ground Squirrel

SquirrelRound-tailed Ground Squirrels

Cactus WrenCactus Wren


Anyone nesting in there? Guess not.

Gila WPGila Woodpecker

Starling SneezingEuropean Starling

This poor Starling kept sneezing, he must have spring allergies.

YRWA DBGYellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

3 Hawks

Red-tailed HawkRed-tailed Hawks

There were 5 of these hawks circling together.

Mourning DoveMourning Dove

ThrasherCurve-billed Thrasher



RCKI DBG CrownRuby-crowned Kinglet

I know that’s a bad photo but it’s the first time I’ve actually seen the red crown on one of these very fast-moving birds.


BTGCBlack-tailed Gnatcatcher

Sign 1

Sign 2

Sign 3

I’ll be spending more time at the DBG because I start my volunteer orientation there this weekend!

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Backyard Enticements

OCWA Orange 2 2.16.16

My favorite little model lately has been this Orange-crowned Warbler. It loves to eat the oranges I put out in the mesquite tree everyday. I’m afraid it will be leaving soon to migrate north as it’s been unseasonably warm here.

OCWA Orange 4 2.2.16

OCWA Orange 2.16.16

OCWA Orange 5 2.2.16

OCWA 2.9.15

I’ll miss this little cutie. The orange is a popular spot, though. Sometimes there’s a line.

Thrasher Orange 2Curve-billed Thrasher

Sparrow OrangeHouse Sparrow, male

Starling OrangeEuropean Starling

Verdin Orange 1.19.15

Verdin Orange 2.2.16Verdin

And two Verdins are building a nest in our pine tree. Verdins build several nests a year, some for breeding, some for roosting, so time will tell which it is.

Verdin 2.18.16

Verdin Pine 2

Verdin Pine

Nectar break:

Verdin 2.10.16

There’s also pink grapefruit out there sometimes but it’s not nearly as popular. But this little female House Finch likes it and there’s no waiting.

House Finch F 2.20.16

The birdbath is also a popular spot.

Mock Display 2.12.16

Mock Display 2Northern Mockingbird

TowheeAbert’s Towhee

Grackle Female copyGreat-tailed Grackle, female

And because I don’t want to encourage the birds to forage on the ground in harm’s way from the cats, I try to think up things I can feed them that won’t drop to the ground. Yum, pine cones coated in peanut butter is a new, delicious treat. You can add seed and suet but I’m not doing that. I don’t know how this will work when it’s 110 degrees but it’s working right now.

Pine Cone PB

Sparrow Pine Cone

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Sparrow F Perch_edited-1

Sparrow F Fly_edited-1

Sparrow F Perch 2House Sparrow, female

If you saw my last 2 posts, I mentioned how my birding friend, Samantha, has pretty perches set up in her gorgeous yard where she hides food so the birds will provide great photo ops as they look for the goodies. So, although my yard is entirely different with quite a few trees, making it dark, I decided that if I had a perch or 2, I could get more attractive photos.

Well, I have my first perch!


It’s a piece of Lake Erie driftwood with several little holes and areas to hide peanuts and other delicious snacks. Then I realized that, in my case, having it be portable so that I could move it around my yard to take advantage of better sunlight, would be a plus. Tony kindly put it all together with a dowel and an old Christmas tree stand. Different angles and creative zooming (and cropping, if necessary) provide different views.

Thrasher 2 2.9.16

Thrasher Perch 2.9.16

Thrasher 3 2.9.16

Thrasher 4 2.9.16Curve-billed Thrasher

Sparrow 2.10.16

Sparrow Perch 2.10.16

Sparrow Perch 2.12.16House Sparrow, male

The only problem I have now is that only the Thrashers and House Sparrows will use the perch. I have halved oranges in the trees that other birds eat. I don’t want to put seed out because it will fall to the ground and the birds will forage for it which isn’t safe with cats around. Once I stock the perch, I stay outside to make sure the cats don’t get too interested (they don’t, they’re either sleeping or full) because I don’t think it’s right to lure birds into a dangerous situation. But I need more Bird Diversity!

Thrasher Drop Nut“Oops.”

Thrasher Mad“I lost my nut!”

Thrasher Mad B“Is there another one in there?”

Thrasher Mad C“Whew!”

And this is a little late (hope you had a good one) but it shows another angle of the perch:

Sparrow VD

Next time I’ll show a few other settings in my yard that provide somewhat attractive photo ops.

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