The Promise of Fall

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)

Fiery Skippers

Mournful Duskywing

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)

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Stifling, Stagnant, Sticky

Southern Dogface

It sure is hot here in Phoenix. We hit 115 and 116 last week. This week it’s just down to 110 or so. Too miserable to venture out much but I was glad to see two of these butterflies cavorting around together. I’m not seeing many butterflies lately. I imagine it’s hard on everyone. The birds sure manage to look pretty pathetic.

Gila Woodpeckers
Abert’s Towhee
Anna’s Hummingbird

Curve-billed ThrashersEurasian Collared-Dove
Verdins, adult and juvenileNorthern Mockingbird

Here’s our humor for the day. Spotted by Tony while we were grocery shopping. We didn’t have a phone with camera with us so we had to buy it:

Learning the Ropes

This cute little immature Verdin can now eat all by himself. A few days ago I watched him (or one of his siblings) try to figure the big world out with the help of a parent.

“Feed me some orange!”

“Yum!”

“Look, grape jelly, yum!”

“Yum, crawly bugs!”

“Yum, pomegranates!”

“Yum, a dragonfly! Thanks, Mom.”

So I haven’t blogged, haven’t taken many photos, haven’t gone on any day trips, or even birded locally. One of our kitties, Google, who is diabetic, now has kidney disease, too, and was hospitalized for a few days. Now we have a bunch more things we have to do to him in hopes of keeping him alive longer as he’s only 10…sub-q fluids, different meds, testing his glucose twice a day, giving insulin (which he’s been getting for 3 years)…it’s a lot but he’s very sweet and deserves more time, we think.

That, combined with worrying abut my mom and hoping that all is going smoothly with her caregivers back in the midwest, plus the extreme heat and humidity here, has dampened my enthusiasm for all the things I like to do. Hope it comes back someday. Meanwhile, a few minutes in the yard now and then is about all I can do.

Curve-billed Thrasher

Anna’s Hummingbird, male

I haven’t seen the Ladder-backed Woodpecker from my last post again but, since I only go out to put bird food out and seldom stay long, he could very well still be here. I hope to see him again.

All the birds are looking very hot and raggedy now. I believe many of them are also molting, accounting for the stray feathers popping up all over on them.

Gila Woodpecker, male

Google

Google is accepting warm wishes, thoughts, prayers, vibes for his improved health if you want to send any his way.

Yard Moments

Ash-throated Flycatcher, Yard Bird #39

Abert’s Towhee

Curve-billed Thrasher

Inca Dove

White-winged Dove

Verdin

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

White-crowned Sparrow

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.

It’s Still Spring

“How many peanuts can I fit in my bill?”

Abert’s Towhees

It was an exciting day in the yard last week when yard bird #38 showed up, haven’t seen it since:

Cooper’s Hawk, immature

House Finches, male feeding female (or young one)

Gila Woodpecker, male

This was also exciting (to me). After 24 years of living in this house and having our aloe veras multiply exponentially so that there are now several beds of them, we had one that bloomed yellow. How that hasn’t happened until now and why it’s the only one that is a different species is a mystery. The hummingbirds love the orange ones but didn’t seem impressed by this yellow one so the bees took over.

Honey Bee on yellow Aloe blooms

Verdin

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

Anna’s Hummingbird, female

Prepare for cuteness. This little Anna’s fledgling wants her mom to keep feeding her but mom thinks she needs to be on her own, with a little supervision:

You can see she’s able to find food with all the pollen on her bill. She just wants her mom to do it.

Here is my NSFW (Not Safe for Work) image, pretend it’s Nat Geo:

Curve-billed Thrashers

A sure sign of spring in the desert is the return of these guys, who love to drink the nectar from saguaro blossoms. As far as I know, there are very few or no saguaros in our neighborhood but we always get a few of them who hang out here. The blue eye shadow is very noticeable.

White-winged Dove

My little Orange-crowned Warbler that stayed in our yard for the last 5 months has now migrated, too. Hope he or she returns in the fall.

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