Monday, April 26, 2010

Bullock's Oriole at Desert Botanical Garden

It was another great Monday Morning Bird Walk at DBG, and I only went on half of it!  It was getting too warm for me.  Thank goodness DBG starts opening at 7 AM starting May 1st.  More photos of the Bullock's Oriole in slideshow at end of this post...
Bullock's Oriole (Icterus bullockii)

Also seen was an Ash-throated Flycatcher - in Sibley alot of those flycatchers all look alike to me. 

Ash-throated Flycatcher (Myiarchus cinerascens)

Here are some good views of the Gilded Flicker revealing the yellow underside of its wing and tail.

Gilded Flicker (Colaptes chrysoid)


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Has Sprung at Desert Botanical Garden

Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii)

The wildflowers are in full bloom, our little dinosaurs - the Desert Spiny Lizards - are out basking in the sun, bullfrogs are croaking, butterflies are fluttering about, bees are buzzing, and baby birds abound.  It was another great springtime Monday Morning Bird Walk at Desert Botanical Garden. What a great group of veteran birders! I always learn something on these walks, and am reminded of how much I still need to learn.

The above photo was taken on the Wildflower Loop Trail at 8:45am on Monday, April 19, 2010. Is this really just a run-of-the-mill house cat? It almost looks like some sort of hybrid mix of a wild cat and a domestic cat.  FYI - The walks will begin at 7 AM starting in May. For the lastest bird sightings at DBG -  Watch the slide show below to see a female Gila shoo her mate back into their nest - as if to say "YOU stay home with the kids for once!".

To see ENLARGED version of slide show, DOUBLE-CLICK on the photo below.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

They’re BIG, They’re BAD, and They’re BACK!!!

While I welcomed the return of our White-crowned Sparrows this winter, I loathe the return of the White-winged Doves this spring. They are a bad omen, like the grim reaper, reminding us of what is inevitable – the hellacious inferno of heat that is coming.

The real issue I have with the White-winged Doves is that they are backyard bullies. From hogging the feeders, to chasing off any bird that gets in their way, they know no bounds. Suet and seedcakes for my Gilas and Flickers, sunflower seeds for my Thrashers and Towhees, and even nectar for my Hummers and Verdin, will all get ransacked by the gluttonous White-winged Doves. No one is safe, not even my little Lesser Goldfinches trying to feed at their sock full of thistle.

There are programs in our kids’ schools to prevent this kind of bad behavior and bullying, but apparently this has not yet reached the bird world.

White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica)

Monday, April 12, 2010

International Migratory Bird Day Festival

 Saturday April 10th 2010 was the International Migratory Bird Day Festival at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center.  Yes, its quite a mouthful!  But what a magnificent day it was, and what a magnificent Audubon Center it is!  All I can say is WOW!!!  This is a well thought out and executed nature center and riparian area.  Inside the Audubon Center there are big breathtaking photos of birds, some taken by our resident birders and photographers extraordinaire - Jim Burns, and Rich Ditch.  The first exhibit was Ask a Biologist, with Dr. Biology himself - C.J. Kazilek from ASU's School of Life Sciences, who was doing a bang up job of demonstrating their new Bird Finder , an excellent tool for beginning birders.  Outside was Arizona Game & Fish with live birds of prey on display.  I was mesmerized by the Black-crowned Night Heron!  Its not everyday that you get to see one of these shy creatures up close and personal.

I ventured over to the North side of the Rio Salado, where there are accessible trails galore of every type.  So depending on how adventuresome you are - you have plenty to choose from.  If you want to play it safe, you can bird from the parking lot, the sidewalks, and the big shaded observation ramadas.  If you want just a tad more excitement, you can follow the paved trails, and the very smooth hard packed trail around the observation pond by the parking lot.  And if you really want to hit the dirt, go on the trail along the demonstration wetlands.  You'll see different birds at different times of the year.  See the extensive Birds of Rio Salado Checklist.

Now is a great time to check out the new Audubon Center, and its many trails.  The wildflowers are blooming, many bird species are in bright mating plumage, butterflies and dragonflies are starting to appear, the Rio Salado is running high from all the rain we've had, and the weather is still nice.  So get out there before it hits 100 degrees! 

To see ENLARGED version of slide show, DOUBLE-CLICK on the photo below.
Do you have an event, bird walk, meeting, or nature walk that belongs on this calendar? Please send info to

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