I knew my next post–this one–was going to be my 800th so I thought it should be something special. However, I haven’t had anything particularly special to show so I figured I’d better do it now or I’ll totally get out of the blogging habit like so many of my original blogging friends seem to have done.
This bird probably doesn’t look very exciting to a lot of you and American Robins are pretty common in much of the U.S. However, they are not very common at all in the Phoenix area so I was totally shocked one day to see this guy in our yard. He’s an immature robin. He hung around all day, dipping in the bird bath, flying here and there. I thought he might stick around awhile but he was gone the next morning. I guess he was just passing through. This was yard bird species #48!
On another extremely hot day, there wasn’t much activity in the yard so I made an effort to find a few things…
Gila Woodpecker Feather
Sitting out in the yard for very long is not appealing when it hits 115° some days and 105° on a “nice” day so checking up on my little yard friends is sporadic and brief.
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Black-chinned Hummingbird, female
Verdins, adult and juvenile
This cute little cat drops by every few weeks and meows very pitifully. I thought she was homeless and would probably wind up joining our group at some point but she disappears for long periods of time and looks healthy so I’m hoping she has a home closeby.
So on to 900 now but that won’t be for a couple years…
Honey Bee Twins
The bees like the birdbath, everyone likes the lantana. Just wish there were more butterflies around this year.
Rosy-faced Lovebirds, occasional visitors
Curve-billed Thrasher Scratcher
There are a couple of juvenile Verdins who are happily feeding themselves but now there appears to be an even younger fledgling Verdin who still needs to be fed by a parent. This is it flapping its wings and begging for food:
And it got fed, again and again…
And here’s an interesting little family of Abert’s Towhees:
Here is one of the adults feeding a juvenile Towhee:
And here is the same adult feeding its foster baby, a Brown-headed Cowbird!
The Brown-headed Cowbird is North America’s most common “brood parasite.” A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). They evolved this way because centuries ago this bird followed bison herds on the Great Plains, feeding on insects flushed from the grass by the grazers, and so did not have time to nest the normal way. Some people hate them and think they are “evil,” because heavy parasitism by cowbirds has pushed some species to the status of “endangered” and has probably hurt populations of some others (Audubon). I think it’s pretty interesting behavior.
Brown-headed Cowbird, juvenile
Anna’s Hummingbird, male
Verdins (yellow-headed one is an adult)
On another unseasonably cool day in Phoenix, we went back to the Desert Botanical Garden. Here are some of the sights.
Cholla with Fruit
Cardons (native to northwestern Mexico)
Gila Woodpecker, male
See the bee, above?
Cactus Wren (Arizona State Bird)
Prickly Pear blooms
Saguaro blooms (Arizona State Flower)
Mourning Dove juveniles
Look what we saw! If it hadn’t been cloudy, the photos would have been much better but it’s the first time I ever got one without branches in front of it. It was also very windy that day!
Great Horned Owl
Lesser Goldfinch, male
Some days it’s only around 100° here now! The difference between 100 and 110+ is pretty significant. It’s almost bearable to sit out in the shade for an hour or so. We’re still in our monsoon season, though, so it’s humid (for AZ). But there are signs that the season will change…maybe not totally for a couple months but, in just one month, our nights will become pleasant again and that will be a relief. Meanwhile there are a few other signs of better times coming…
The lantana is blooming and there are more butterflies…
Orange Sulphur (I think)
No migrating birds spotted in our yard yet and those that are here are still molting and rough-looking but the Lesser Goldfinches are more plentiful and everyone is more active.
Verdins, adult and immature
Curve-billed ThrasherInca Doves
Gila Woodpecker, male
Anna’s Hummingbirds, male
Black-chinned Hummingbirds, male and female
And he flew off into the light…
After McCain’s death, he wrote in his 2018 memoir, The Restless Wave, the Audubon Society will make [part of the land on his Cornville, AZ ranch] a special birding area.
“The thought of that pleases me very much,” he wrote. (azcentral)