Friday, April 27, 2012

Hawk vs. Snake

As told by the rescuer-   "This has to be the weirdest thing that ever floated by me on the Snake River.  They were stuck together in death lock, each wanting to kill the other first.  My guess is that the falcon snatched up the tasty snake, and it somehow got its tail around the falcon's neck, strangling it in midair causing both of them to crash into the river.  They are both alive and well, considering.

I think a few more minutes and the snake would have won.  The tail was actually tied in a  knot around the neck, and getting tighter by the second.  I got the snake untied, and well, as you can see, they both made it.

This is another one of those stories you tell, and are always acknowledged with "yeah, right!"  Well, here's the proof.  Neither of them bit me or scratched me; the snake didn't want to stop biting the falcon's leg, and only let go after I had untied everything else.

 I got the water out of the falcon's lungs with birdie inversion technique, and stayed with him until he was almost dried off in the sun, and flying a little. Ball of snake and falcon, that is the weirdest thing I have pulled out of the water so far, it beats the wagon wheel!"

As told by the hawk:  "What the hell just happened!?"

Note - This took place on the Comal River in Texas, the bird is likely a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, and the snake is likely a Texas Fox Snake.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photos by awesome Arizona wildlife photographer
 and part-time purveyor of bird porn, Denny Green.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Birdy Verde!

April 26-29: Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival, Dead Horse Ranch State Park - The Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival provides a unique recreational experience to anyone interested in the natural world and fosters awareness of the importance of habitat for the enrichment of all life in the Verde Valley. The festival takes place in the Verde River Valley of Central Arizona. The diverse terrain provides a wide variety of habitats for wildlife and nature adventures. Join us and bird the Verde! Learn more and register for specific events at

Wheelchair accessible event at Birdy Verde - Armchair Birding with Anita MacFarlane, April 26, 27, 28, 29 at 8am to 10am, Dead Horse Ranch, during the Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival. Let the birds come to you. Bring your favorite camp chair, binoculars, a little refreshment, and just enjoy birding as the hours slip by. We will only have to walk a short distance on the Day Use Accessible Trail to a spot where feeders bring the birds up close. A knowledgeable guide will help identify species. The area is open for birding at any time but the guide will only be available during these hours. Donations to help cover feeder costs are appreciated.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hot Weather Birding - Arizona Falls Park

As the temperatures climb towards the triple digits here in the Valley, we start seeking out every available pocket of shade no matter how small.  How about one surrounded by waterfalls?!  And with birds!!!  That is what Arizona Falls Park has to offer.

Its certainly no birding hot spot, but how many places do you know of in Phoenix where you can sit in the shade with water falling all around you, look up and see hummingbirds and an occasional duck?  Other birds seen here include Abert's Towhees, Northern Rough-winged Swallows, Curve-billed Thrashers, Gila Woodpeckers, Verdin, Yellow-rumped Warblers, and of course House Sparrows, House Finches, and Great-tailed Grackles.  At sunset during the summer this might be a great spot to see Lesser Nighthawks, Mexican Free-tail Bats, and many species of sparrows, as they all flit around eating bugs and mosquitoes over the Arizona Canal.

Main attractions:

•Three waterfalls
•Shaded viewing room
•Renewable-energy hydroelectric plant
•Solar-paneled roof
•Pedestrian bridge
•Dance floor

So if you bird along the Arizona Canal or happen to be near the Arcadia neighborhood in Phoenix, stop by Arizona Falls for a cool break from the relentless summer sun.
  • Where:  G.R. Herberger Park, 56th Street and Indian School Road
    in the Arcadia neighborhood
  • Hours:  Open 24 hours
    On-site parking is available from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Wheelchair Accessible!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Deep Thoughts With the Great Blue Heron

 This yoga stuff isn't all its cracked up to be, maybe I 
should try pilates.

Wow, this rock really makes my feet look big!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wordless Wednesday __ Rated PG-13

Click on above photo to see entire sequence,
not for the faint of heart...

Photos by awesome Arizona wildlife photographer
 and snake wrangler, Denny Green.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Silent Sunday at South Mountain

Silent Sunday Cycling

April 22, 2012

Time: 9:00am to 3:00pm

FREE EVENT!  Meet at South Mountain Park, 10919 S. Central Ave.  Follow the yellow signs pointing the way to the parking lot.  Every type of hand cycle is here, and recumbent cycles!  There are also many friendly volunteers to help you out and even ride with you.

Come join us and enjoy cruising through South Mountain Park with family and friends. Silent Sunday is a free event that offers cyclists, skaters, joggers, walkers, strollers, and individuals who use wheelchairs an opportunity to get out and enjoy the scenic splendors of the nation’s largest municipal park without having to share the road with vehicles. Participants will discover miles of paved roads, from flat terrain to rolling dips and hills in beautiful South Mountain Park. The more aggressive cyclist can conquer the summit road, which ends at the Dobbins Lookout at 2330 feet. The City of Phoenix will have a variety of cycles, including hand cycles and recumbent cycles for those with mobility limitations, tandem bikes (two-person bikes) for people with visual limitations. We will provide maps of the roads and trails where you can ride and we will have our army of volunteers available for those who are in need of accommodations.

Registration is not necessary, but if you plan to attend please reply to this e-mail or call Mark Stodola at 602-402-0523.

Bikes will be available on a first come first serve basis from 9 am until 3 pm and are appropriately sized for ages 8 and up. A waiver must be completed for each person borrowing a bike (under 18 require a parent or legal guardian) and a state-issued driver’s license or ID card must be provided in order to check out bikes.

Adaptive cycling is one of seven outdoor recreation programs offered through the City of Phoenix and River of Dreams for people with and without disabilities. For more information on these programs go to

Nearby Birding Spot - PIMA CANYON
 Ash-Throated Flycatchers, Canyon Wren, Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher have been recently reported. Also along Pima Wash, Kestrel, Gilded and red-shafted Northern Flickers, Black-Chinned Hummingbird, Black Phoebe,  Rock Wren, White-Crowned and Brewer's Sparrows,  and Road Runner.  Butterfly and lizard activity - West Coast Lady, Texan Crescent, Fiery Skipper, and Side-Blotched Lizard and Gila Spotted Whiptail.
It's been a disappointing wildflower year in Pima Canyon, and the earlier-than-normal blossoming shrubs and annuals have faded; mainly: Fiddleneck (all) and Brittlebush (most and all past prime). Ocotillo are flowering, however, especially along the Pima Wash Trail, with fairly numerous flowering Hedgehog cacti throughout, and some Cholla (Classic Desert). Along Pima Wash trail, some pretty good fruiting mistletoe await the Phainopepla.  * Access trailhead parking on Pima Canyon Road: I-10 to Eliot, west to 48th, north 1 mi.  Not sure how wheelchair accessible the area is in Pima Canyon.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Clark's or Western Grebe?

While spending time on the Tempe Town Lake Pedestrian Bridge ogling at the Red-necked Grebe, I started to notice small variations among the Western Grebes.  The grebe on the right in the above photo seems to have white lores, and grey plumage above the eyes, while the grebe on the left does not. The bill is only slightly yellower than the Western's, not strikingly so.  Is the one on the right a Clark's Grebe?

Try as he/she might, the Clark's couldn't interest the Western in gathering nesting material.

Above are 2 Western Grebes with their darker bills, black lores, and dark plumage just below the eye.

From left to right - 2 Western Grebes, a possible Clark's Grebe, and the Red-necked Grebe.

The poor Red-necked Grebe kept getting chased away by the trio. 

The lost and lonely Red-necked Grebe is getting redder by the day. 
Hopefully he will get back on course and reach his fellow rednecks soon!

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

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