Friday, December 14, 2012

Look who is gathering atop
Jacklyn Anderson's Christmas tree!

Who needs all those store-bought Christmas tree ornaments when you could have these?!  With some felt and yarn, and the cool bird patterns from Downeast Thunder Farm, you can make your own bird ornaments, and the patterns are free!

There are quite a few bird ornaments that you would never find at any store, or even at a craft show, like the Great Blue Heron, Baltimore Oriole, or the Downy Woodpecker.

Check out the kingfisher!  With a few alterations you could easily fashion her into a Belted Kingfisher.

And for those of us who never were able to catch a glimpse of the Winter Wren at Gilbert Water Ranch, we can now make our own, perky tail and all!

Special thanks to DBG docent Jacklyn Anderson for 
sharing these bird ornaments on FaceBook.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos by wildlife photographer Denny Green,
 at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico.

 To see Sandhill Cranes in Arizona, check out Wings Over Willcox,
Jan. 16-20, 2013.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos taken by Arizona wildlife photographer Helmut Hussman, 
at the Salt River in the Tonto National Forest.  

Our Bald Eagles will be breeding soon, so remember that access to certain areas of the Salt River will be restricted starting Dec. 1st.  See Bald Eagle Management Program Seasonal Breeding Area Closures.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos taken at Gilbert Water Ranch
by Arizona Wildlife Photographer Denny Green.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Heroes? Really??

Even the Turkey Vulture doesn't buy it - the "Heroes" of the Salt River are the Salt River Tubing company and their can-tossing customers???  The true heroes of the Salt River are the critters that thrive and survive there despite the constant barrage of litter dumped into their habitat year after year, mainly by the crowds of tubers.

Have you ever seen what it looks like at the Salt River recreation sites the day after Memorial Day?

Who made the decision to allow this area of the Salt River to be taken over each summer by trash-tossing flotillas of drunks?

The next time you stop by the Mesa Ranger Station to buy a Tonto Pass, consider suggesting strongly that they find a more environmentally friendly source of revenue than the slovenly Salt River Tubing company.  How about eco-tourism?  Let's attract visitors who care about the environment.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Magnificent Monarch Rescue

On a recent trip to Singh Farm my friends and I had the good fortune to come across a newly emerged Monarch butterfly, hanging under a pot drying his wings.  My ever-inquisitive friend, Aurora, got up close and was distressed to discover that the butterfly was getting tangled in a spider's web.  (Gail Morris of the Southwest Monarch Study later told us it is a common ploy - as the unsuspecting newby butterfly hangs to dry his wings, the spider starts building a web around him.)

Newly emerged Monarch butterfly beginning to become
entangled by a spider's web.

 Aurora quickly put out a large stem for the butterfly to latch on to, and wallah - he was freed from the spiders trap!  We shared a few peaceful and precious moments as the Monarch stretched out and dried his wings in the warm sunlight.

Other Monarchs were happily flitting around the huge stand of tropical milkweed at Singh Farm. 

Before we knew it, our Monarch was dry and ready for his first flight.  Without any fanfare or pre-flight check list, off he flew into the sunlight.  Aurora watched him, a bit misty-eyed, and said with complete earnest "they grow up so fast".

Monarch chrysalis on a palo verde tree at Singh Farm.

One of the Monarchs tagged by the Southwest Monarch Study feeding on the
tropical milkweed at Singh Farm, October 2012.

Monarch migration in Arizona is winding down, but you can still see oodles of them at Desert Botanical Garden's Butterfly Pavilion now through Nov. 25th.  There is one more opportunity to tag and release butterflies at DBG with members of the Southwest Monarch Study on Thursday, Nov. 15th at 1:30 pm. Reservations can be made by calling 480.481.8188. There is no additional charge for tagging for the general public with paid Garden admission. The tagging is limited to 50 participants.

If you come across and photograph Monarch butterflies while out birding, help Gail in tracking them simply by posting your photos and locations on the Southwest Monarch Study Facebook Page

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A Fall Surprise

I thought I was seeing things when I saw the flash of blue at the hummingbird feeder, then I caught a glimpse of the red bill.  It had to be a Broad-billed Hummingbird!  In MY backyard!  Try as I might to get photo documentation of such an unexpected visitor, "Flash" proved to be  too speedy for me to focus on.  So I called in the big guns - who better than bird photographer Jeff Stemshorn - the fastest camera in the west!  What he lacks in stealth, he makes up for in speed.

We tried to photograph Flash at his favorite feeding spot - the okra (or as Jeff calls them "Okra Winfrey") blossoms in my vegetable garden.  But flash didn't like having the jolly green giant cameraman lurking around his blossoms.  So he (Flash, not hid-out in my least favorite shrubbery - my oleanders, ugh.  We watched, and heard, Flash zip back and forth from oleander to feeder to oleander, only changing course to run off an occasional interloping Anna's or Black-chin.

As the temperature plummets today into the 50's and tonight into the 40's I suspect Flash will fly south to warmer climes, or maybe to Boyce Thompson Arboretum to hang with the only other Broad-bills I ever see with regularity.

Farewell my fall friend, thanks for flashing by!

Photos by bird photographer extraordinaire Jeff Stemshorn
Thanks Jeff!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Birding is Better Than Politics

Get your "Why BIRDING is better than American Politics" t-shirt, 
designed by Kenn Kaufman at the Kaufman Nature Shop at Cafe Press!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos by wildlife photographer Denny Green
Great Grey Owls, Grand Teton National Park,
October 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

Who's Seeing What, and Where?

The temps are dropping and my birding antennae are rising!  So, where to go, what to see?  Such decisions, what is one to do?  Surf the net!  Here's a run-down of how to find out what birds being seen around the Valley, and where:

Birding ListServe - This is where you can find out what birds of interest are being seen daily across the state, from very reliable sources such as Troy Corman, Mark Stevenson, Magill Weber, George West, Tommy DeBardeleben, Laurence Butler, Lindsay Story, Jeff Ritz, Ernie Nickels, Melanie Herring, and many other experienced avid birders.  They cover everything, from Glendale Recharge Ponds and Tres Rios in the west valley, to Gilbert Water Ranch and Boyce Thompson Arboretum in the east.

Facebook - Birding -- Arizona and the Southwest - Here you will find some awesome bird photography, with recent photos and locations.  Many local birders and photographers regularly post their bird photos here - Peggy Coleman, Denny Green, Paul Landau, Jeff Stemshorn, Saija Lehtonen, Pete Moulton, Brendon Grice, Gordon Karre, E.J. Pieker, Robert Henderlong, Bernie Howe, and several more. 

Birder From Maricopa - If you really want all the details about your chosen birding destination, then you must go to Tommy DeBardeleben's excellent website  When I first started reading Tommy's posts on the Birding ListServ, I thought for sure I was reading the adventures of someone who had birded Maricopa County for the last thirty years, and was retired.  His posting was prolific, and he always seemed a step ahead of everyone.  Then I found his website, with an extensive detailed listing of birding sites all over the valley, and I was convinced he was eighty years old, and was frantically adding to his life list before he took his last breath.  I was stunned to find out that he was a young adult, completing his second big year in a row! 

Butler's Birds and Things  - Laurence Butler is an avid birder and excellent writer who has the most entertaining bird blog I've ever come across.  He posts great photos and absolutely delightful descriptions of the birds he sees.  Laurence comes from a family of birders and has certainly inherited the birder gene!  For a great read, check out Butler's Birds and Things

AZFO - Recent Arizona Rarities - If you are working on your life list, or doing a big year, you should regularly check the Arizona Field Ornithologist's "Recent Arizona Rarities" page.

If you are heading to Desert Botanical Garden,
the Monday Morning Birdwalkers
keep a thorough list of birds sighted -
DBG Birdwalk Birdlists.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum also has an
updated page of recent bird sightings

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos by Arizona Wildlife Photographer Helmut Hussman, a.k.a. H5

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos courtesy of Arizona Wildlife Photographer Becky Standridge.

See more of her incredible photography

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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