Friday, March 30, 2012

The Things Birders Say...

So funny because its so true!

Click on image below to see this hilarious video:


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spotted Towhee Spotted

Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)

My most exciting backyard visitor this spring - a male Spotted Towhee!  He stayed for about 3 days, hopping around in true towhee-style in the thick brush.  Most of the time he foraged on the ground under our seed block, mixing right in with the White-crowned Sparrows.  But my resident Abert's Towhees were not as thrilled as I to see their colorful cousin and chased him away at every turn.  I tried to tell them not to be so inhospitable to their visiting relative, but the Abert's just wouldn't listen.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hummingbird Class

Male Anna's Hummingbird fluffed up and only flashing just a hint of color.
Avian expert and birder extraordinaire, Tom Gaskill, was in rare form this Saturday teaching his hummingbird class at Desert Botanical Garden.  With his seemingly endless knowledge base (avian and otherwise), boyish enthusiasm, vast birding experience and keen wit, his lectures never disappoint. 

An important point that Tom made throughout his presentation was that color should be the last thing you consider when identifying hummingbirds in the field.  Of much more importance is size, shape of head, body and bill, behavior - esp. tail movement, and vocalizations.  Plumage color and gorget shape can be misleading.  For example, as a male Anna's ages, his gorget sides get longer and can look like a Costa's.

Speaking of Costa's, Tom recommends planting Penstemon to attract them into your yard.  Costa's have shorter bills and are attracted to plants with shorter tubular blossoms.  To attract Anna's and Black-chinned, try planting some Chuparosa, which have longer tubular blossoms.

If you haven't taken a class or gone on a bird walk with Tom you're missing out!  But don't despair, he has 2 more classes coming up this spring at DBG.  There's Swifts and Swallows on April 12th with a field trip on April 14th, and Nighthawks on May 2nd.  Register online at DBG website.  Tom is also the guest speaker at the May 9th Sonoran Audubon meeting where he will be sharing his experiences birding in Egypt (I know, incredible right?  Who goes birding in Egypt?  I think if there were birds on Venus, Tom would be there!)

There is a new festival coming up this August - the first annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival!  The festival will take place August 3-4-5, 2012, with presentations and a “Hummingbird Mall” at the new Sedona Performing Arts Center. Includes three full days of presentations by hummingbird experts in many interest areas: science, gardening, photography, conservation, and regional species studies.  See .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos by Anonymous kayaker/birder, Prescott, March 20, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Three Star Owl Open Studio Tour!

I'm SO EXCITED!!!  Tomorrow I'm heading over to Allison Shock's Three Star Owl studio.  Its part of the Camelback Studio Tour Show & Sale.  Allison says its more than just owls at her studio, but how can you not just go nuts for her new "sake set" - a small owl pitcher with two small owl cups for sipping sake or any other potent brew!  She even has some hand-knitted owl hats, great for early morning winter birding with style.

Each studio is open from 10am - 5pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday (March 9, 10, 11).

Admission is free, and parking is easy.

For a map of studio locations (all within a couple blocks of one another) click on:

I will also be checking out some uber-cool metal yard art by artist Tracy Paul of Pentimento Metalwork that will be on display all around Allison's yard.  Hmmm..., I think I'll bring the binocs and bird her backyard while I'm at it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Red-necked Grebe

Somehow last week a Red-necked Grebe got blown way off course and ended up at Tempe Town Lake.  Its been a veritable who's who of the birder world on the Pedestrian Bridge ever since - Troy Corman, Tommy DeBardeleben, Rich Ditch, and Pete Moulton have all been out to catch a glimpse of this Arizona rarity.

Photos by Jeff Stemshorn, March 3, 2012,
Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge

Do you have an event, bird walk, meeting, or nature walk that belongs on this calendar? Please send info to

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...