Global Big Day

Desert Spiny Lizard (regrowing his tail after some incident or accident)

Phainopepla, male

On May 5, Global Big Day, 28,000 people ventured outside in 170 countries, finding 6899 species: 2/3rds of the world’s bird species in one day. This is a new world record for birding and more birds seen by the Global Big Day team than any one person has ever seen in an entire year. You can read more about the results here.

My birding friend, Karen, and I went to Hassayampa Reserve Preserve, near Wickenburg, that day so that we could participate. By submitting our sightings to ebird.org, our results are included in all this data, too.

I have a slight disclaimer. While we did see many Desert Spiny Lizards and Phainopeplas that day, the above 2 photos are actually from another day when I was at Desert Botanical Garden because the shots I got on May 5 were not as good. That said, all the following shots were taken at Hassayampa on May 5. It is very dense and dark there, tree-wise, so I’m not pleased with many of these shots.

Yellow-breasted Chat (lifer)

This bird, above, was the bird both of us were most hoping to see as it was a lifer for both of us. They were very elusive but I finally got a couple mediocre shots. You can see, in the second photo, that this bird has a band around its left leg.

I got 2 more lifers that day (with no photos):

Common Yellowthroat
Lazuli Bunting~the male is gorgeous but we saw only the female, pretty but not nearly as colorful

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle subspecies

The above bird was a little unusual to see as we usually see the Audubon’s subspecies around here. The Audubon’s has a yellow throat and the Myrtle has a white throat and other subtle differences.

Vermilion Flycatchers, male and female

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Townsend’s Warbler

Black-throated Gray Warbler

Song Sparrow

Summer Tanager, male

Pine Siskin

Red-winged Blackbirds, male and female

Ornate Tree Lizard

A couple more excerpts from the article I mentioned earlier:

For the second year in a row, Colombia led the world in bird species on Global Big Day. The herculean efforts of the Colombian birding community found an unfathomable 1546 species in one country in one day.

The final US tally was 716, bolstered by great totals from Texas (408), California (361), and Arizona (310). US eBirders also documented 577 species with photographs in their eBird checklists, and 172 with audio—quite remarkable!

And there you have it—another birding world record in the books! Never before have so many birders gone out in this many countries, found so many birds, and noted them all down in eBird for their fellow birders, researchers, and conservationists.

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A May Day Bouquet

Black-chinned Hummingbird

A bouquet of birds, I mean. When I was little, living in Illinois, on May Day, we would make construction paper baskets, fill them with flowers (wildflowers, dandelions, flowers from our mothers’ gardens), leave them on a neighbor’s doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run and hide to watch them find their bouquets. Hardly anyone I mention this to knows what I’m talking about but we thought it was very exciting way back then and it really was a tradition (see NPR article). We would also have a May Pole at school. Now May Day is nothing special, I guess.

I just got this pretty copper hummingbird feeder, made by an Arizona artist. She has an Etsy shop where she sells a few different styles. The hummingbirds have been enjoying it even though I have several other feeders out, too, and it’s very easy to maintain. (Disclaimer: I don’t know her personally, I paid for mine, and am not getting a kickback.) 

We have Verdins building nests again in our pine tree. Their nests have the entrance on the bottom.

Curve-billed Thrashers, adult and fledglings

House Finch, male

Costa’s Hummingbird, immature male

House Finch, fledgling

Anna’s Hummingbird

Gambel’s Quail chick

Wilson’s Warbler, male

Lesser Goldfinch, female

These photos were taken in our yard and the last 6 at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Happy May Day!

 

Visions of Yellow

WIWA M1

WIWA M Lemon

WIWA M2Wilson’s Warbler, male

Wilson's Warbler F

WWF 3Wilson’s Warbler, female

It’s that happy time of year again, Warbler Season, when the migrating warblers pass through our area on the way to their northern summer breeding grounds. These two Wilson’s Warblers were in my yard. I only saw the female once but the male has been around a couple days so far.

I saw some at the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG), too, where I also saw this warbler (which I think is a female but I’m not positive). I saw one of these last year in the same exact Mesquite tree but the photo I got was pretty bad):

MacGillivray's Warbler

MacGillivray's 3MacGillivray’s Warbler

Warblers are really hard to get photos of because they never stop moving and they like to hide behind branches and leaves all the time.

The following warbler was a lifer and a lot of people are trying to get looks at him! I succeeded on my first day of searching for him at the DBG, flitting around in some Texas Ebony trees.

Hermit Warbler 5

Hermit Warbler 4

Hermit Warbler 3

Hermit Warbler 2

Hermit Warbler 1

Hermit Warbler 6Hermit Warbler, male

OCWA Upside Down

OCWA 2

OCWA 3Orange-crowned Warbler

I also saw some Townsend’s Warblers at the DBG but didn’t get a shot. This is what they look like (from last year at the DBG):

DSC_3955Townsend’s Warbler

There are many, many other kinds of warblers so I hope I get to see something else new and exciting before spring migration ends.

As tiny, bright, and yellow as warblers…these guys were all over at the DBG although I’ve never had any in my yard:

Goldfinch M

GFMLesser Goldfinch, male

GFFLesser Goldfinch, female

Yellow is such a happy color. Happy May Day!

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Headin’ South

DSC_4262

DSC_4261

DSC_4260Wilson’s Warbler

As I mentioned in a post earlier this month, I’ve been seeing some migrating birds around town as they pass through on their southward journeys. Even though I had already seen a Wilson’s Warbler at Desert Botanical Garden, I was totally excited to go out in my backyard a few days ago and see one happily hopping around one of our trees. He didn’t stay for long and I never saw him again but you can see he politely posed for me at many angles.

Townsend's Warbler 1

TW 2

TW 3

TW 4

TW 5Townsend’s Warbler

And I was totally happy to see some more Townsend’s Warblers at  Granada Park, another beautiful little bird that seems to like pine trees.

DSC_4474

DSC_4475

Flycatcher OtherPacific-Slope Flycatcher

And, yup, more of these flycatchers, too! I also saw a flycatcher in my yard but it was gone in a flash before I got my camera so I don’t know what kind it was 😦

But there were also a couple more lifers in the last few days. These were both at Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden:

BTGW 1

BTGW 2

BTGW 3Black-Throated Gray Warbler

DSC_4001

DSC_4002

DSC_4003Willow Flycatcher

Time is slipping away but I’m still hoping to get some more migrants. Here is a brief summary of those I’ve seen:

Migrants x 6

 Bring on some more!

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One Day, Five Lifers

DSC_3955

DSC_3952

DSC_3951Townsend’s Warbler

Isn’t he beautiful? It’s warbler season here as they (and other migrants) pass through heading to their winter areas. I went to the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday morning and added 5 lifers to my list! That was my biggest day ever. Why I’m not out again today I’m not sure.

DSC_3821Wilson’s Warbler

Warblers are fast little critters so it’s hard to get an unobstructed shot of them. Good thing most of them have some yellow on them or I’d never see them.

DSC_3847

DSC_3851

DSC_3870Pacific-Slope Flycatcher

So here are the bad shots of the 2 remaining lifers:

MacGillivray's WarblerMacGillivray’s Warbler

That was my one and only shot of this warbler and it was only when looking at my photos at home later that I noticed the white eye-arcs indicative of MacGillivray’s. I confirmed it with my birding group. Wish I had gotten a better look at him.

The following photo is of a Great Horned Owl. While this is technically not a lifer because I’ve seen them before~and, in fact, I’ve seen this one before, I think, as he’s always in the same cottonwood tree at the DBG~I’ve not counted them on my list because I didn’t have a photo. This photo is bad, he was way up in the tree, in a dark, wooded area, and there were leaves blocking my view but it’s a diagnostic shot anyway. So he was my 5th lifer of the day.

DSC_3926

I saw a ton of other birds and critters at the DBG that were not lifers and they will be in my next post. Here’s one of them, a little Verdin, a bird I see everywhere, even in my own yard, frequently, but they’re so cute that I’m always glad to see one. This guy looks a little rough. We had a horrible storm the night before so maybe that accounts for his messy feathers or maybe he’s just molting.

Verdin