Monday, April 28, 2014

More Flycatcher Action at DBG!

Ash-throated Flycatcher perched high in a Palo Verde tree along the Wildflower Trail.

Too many bird-papparazi for the Flycatcher, he's outa here!

Bullock's Oriole stretching out to reach for
the best bud or bug.
 Desert Botanical Garden's Monday Morning Bird-walk started off with a bang. An Ash-throated Flycatcher made an appearance in the Wildflower Garden as well as a bright orange Bullock's Oriole.  In typical Oriole fashion, he remained high in the upper canopy of the trees, making it nearly impossible to get a clear shot.

A whole lot of nesting activity is still going on throughout the Garden.  The Verdin are very active building nests, Phainopepla are feeding their fledglings. and one of the female Roadrunner's is sitting on her nest.

REMINDER:  DBG opens at 7:00am starting May 1st, this Thursday!  It will open even earlier, for members only, on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 6:00am. 

A Verdin couple deciding where to place a nice fluffy down feather in their nest.

A female Greater Roadrunner tucked tightly into her thorny nesting spot, tail-feather up!

A busy Phainopepla mom flies off in search of berries to feed her fledglings.

Look closely and you'll see a female Phainopepla
with a fresh picked berry in her beak.

A very happy bee collecting pollen in the poppies.
A Round-tailed Ground Squirrel eying all the yummy wildflowers.

Photos by Peggy Thomas

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Two Whatzit and One Warbler Day!

First Whatzit? of the day!

On the one day when I thought no bird within earshot would come anywhere near my yard, two whatzits and a warbler show up!  With my backyard blaring classic country music, I sat basking in the aroma of my recently bloomed star jasmine. Eyes half closed and no camera at hand, I kicked back and relaxed, no need to scan for birds.  What bird in his right mind would show his beak amid such an assault on the ears?  

Star Jasmine in full fragrant bloom!

Then out of the corner of my eye a flash of bright yellow whizzed by.  The birder within me awoke and I looked through my Palo Verde tree, with its fading yellow blossoms, and there he was in all his glory, a Wilson's Warbler with his sporty black cap!

My first ever backyard Wilson's Warbler!

This little Verdin popped out to see what all the fuss was about.  Unimpressed by the warbler's arrival, he continued on with his usual flitting from branch to branch, bug to bug, and blossom to blossom.

As if that wasn't exciting enough, another unfamiliar bird caught my eye, this time in the Velvet Mesquite tree!  Gotta love those native trees! At first-glance I thought it was a Lucy's Warbler, then I downloaded my photos and thought Bell's Vireo.  Then I thought I had better check with other birders to ID this surprise guest, who is not as obvious as the distinctively marked Wilson's Warbler.  Jeff Stemshorn (who claims not to be a birder, hah) immediately narrowed it down to being a Flycatcher, not a Warbler or Vireo, and thinks it may be a Pacific-slope Flycatcher.  Kathe Anderson, birder and guide extraordinaire, feels that I've "got a Cordilleran or Pacific slope (or dusky!) flycatcher (pretty good teardrop eye ring, largish bill, olive-sort of coloration)."

Second Whatzit? of the day.

On top of all that, another whatzit lurked behind the branches just long enough for this blurry masterpiece to be taken. Anyone want to take a stab at ID-ing this bird?  My guess is Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Thank you Kathe Anderson and Jeff Semshorn for help with ID!

Photos by Peggy Thomas, April 24, 2014.

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