The excitement just never ends in the Thomas Animal Sanctuary (my backyard). Thought I'd seen every part of the desert food chain over the last few years - big fat desert spiny lizards, roadrunners trying to eat the spiny lizards, cottontail rabbits, owls stalking the rabbits, rock squirrels, and the occasional hawk swooping down to eat the squirrels .
Arizona Herpetological Association for advice and was told King Snakes are great to have in your garden, are non-venomous, feed on rodents and snakes, and are immune to rattlesnake venom. So we cut him loose from all the netting and he's still here, just waiting for a frog to hop by.
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Things That Go Bump in the Night
Last Friday evening it was Nocturnal Animal Discovery Night at the Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center. The Rio Salado Park Rangers, the Arizona Herpetological Association, and Adobe Mountain Wildlife were all there sharing their expertise and did a great job. There were snakes, bats, a ring tail, a skunk, and we were all agog over the gorgeous Great Horned Owl. If you still haven't been out to the new Audubon Center, tssk tssk, you really should go. Inside is a gift shop area, wonderful displays, amazing photography, a lecture hall, and classrooms. Large glass floor to ceiling windows look out to a demonstration pond/marsh habitat. I had a hard time focusing on the lectures as the sun was setting, it was too tempting to look out at the marsh to see who might fly by. Us birders can have short attention spans.
The handouts provided were excellent, and beautiful posters of Arizona Rattlesnakes, and Bats of Arizona were handed out free of charge. Afterward, we went outside with black light flashlights looking for scorpions. As a followup event it would be great to go out on the trails on the north side of the Rio Salado at sunset for possible owl and nighthawk sightings, and with hopes of bumping into one of our nocturnal critters!.
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 4:25 PM 0 comments
Friday, June 25, 2010
One Bad-Ass Bird!
Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Its the male Great-tailed Grackle defending his turf. Or maybe he's just peeved because he's wearing a pitch black feather coat in 110 degree weather. With his crazed, maniacal, menacing look, he'd make a great side-kick for some dark goth-girl, or a black-leather-clad biker-chick, or even a wanna-be teen vampire. Hmmm... I think the heat is getting to me.
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 4:26 PM 0 comments
Labels: Great-tailed Grackle
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Gila Woodpeckers Like Oranges?
Gila Woodpecker (Melanerpes uropygialis)
Through all the relocating I haven't seen any Orioles or Verdins at the oranges, but I did see Gila Woodpeckers performing acrobatic acts just to reach one! I wasn't sure if he was having a little OJ with his ants, or oranges with a side of ants. Either way, the whole Gila family seems happy.
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 5:37 PM 0 comments
Labels: Gila Woodpecker
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Raven Attacks Remote Control Aircraft
Check out this amazing YouTube video of a "Raven" defending his airspace. Country of origin for bird and video is unknown, but bird looks like a Hooded Crow, not a Raven. Click HERE to go to YouTube, or click on video below.
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 10:24 AM 0 comments
Labels: Hooded Crow
Monday, June 14, 2010
Lesser Goldfinches Still Nest-Building
Lesser Goldfinch (Carduelis psaltria)
Its mid-June and our resident Goldfinches are still building nests. The pictured nesting material is available at Wild Birds Unlimited. DON'T use dryer lint! Stay tuned for baby Lesser Goldfinches!
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 7:33 PM 0 comments
Labels: Lesser Goldfinch
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Common Yellowthroat at Granite Reef
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Unseasonably cool weather has sent me out birding in June!! While at Granite Reef Rec. Area along the Salt River, June 11th, I heard the Common Yellowthroat calling and calling and calling. This time it was not down in the reeds, it was perched up in a mesquite! Other birds seen included 2 pairs of Bullock's Orioles (one in photo on right), one Roadrunner, a few Ladderback Woodpeckers (photo on left), and lots of Lucy's Warblers who - in true warbler fashion - refused to sit still and pose for my camera :-(.
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 6:56 PM 0 comments
Labels: Common Yellowthroat, Granite Reef
Monday, June 7, 2010
Owling in the Desert
McDowell Mountain Park - Owl’s Eye View
Date: 6/19/2010 Time: 6:30 PM to 9:30 (1 hour lecture followed by a 1.5 hour hike) How much do you know about Owls? Learn all about the strategies these animals employ that make them such successful predators. After the program, stick around for an owl prowl at the Nursery Tank! Go on the Owl Prowl with Ranger Amy - a moonlit hike to experience the desert like an owl. Look for owls and enjoy the cooler night air. Meet at the Nursery Tank Trailhead. This night walk is less than 2 miles total in length, and is on flat terrain on a wheelchair accessible trail.
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 4:03 PM 0 comments
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Peach-faced Lovebirds are Back!
Peach-faced Lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis)
After being absent from our yards during March and April, the Lovebirds seem to have returned. I wonder if they had a better food source in the spring months and didn't need to come to the feeders. Or were they off to more remote locations to nest and fledge their young?
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 2:02 PM 0 comments
Labels: Peach-faced Lovebirds, Yard Birds
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
What the Heck is THAT?!
Announcing a new feature on my Bird Blog - the Whatzit page. Its a call to any and all of you to help me identify the birds in my photos. Feel free to comment on any of the numbered Whatzits. Here's a few recent photos that I need help with:
Taken in late May looking straight down the steep
embankment at Tempe Market Place habitat.
I know they are Swallows of some kind...?
Taken recently at Granite Reef Rec. Area in late
Posted by Peggy Thomas at 12:52 PM 0 comments
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