Thursday, October 15, 2015

Anna's Hummingbird - Sarg

Anna's Hummingbird - Sarg

I have a ton more photos of the birds we've seen lately at the Glendale Recharge Ponds, but I want to share a couple (of the hundred or so) that I have of this adorable guy.  We call him Sarg - he's the territorial male Anna's Hummingbird that lives in our backyard.

Sarg, like other hummers, is very territorial and has claimed all five of the feeders along the back patio as his own private diner.  He chases off any other hummer that visits and on occasion there have been little duels.  At first it was rather humorous, but then I got concerned for the others.  However, after reading more about hummingbirds I found out that's how they are.  Once they have a consistent food source, they stake their claim.  Also around breeding season their like that. 

Sarg is always on the lookout - Anna's Hummingbird

So I thought I would outsmart him.  Last weekend Mark and I bought another feed and pole and put it on the other side of the house in front of my studio window, near the Texas Ebony tree where the Costa's Hummingbird has been hanging out.  I stayed out back to see what would happen.  Well, the sweet tiny Costa's hummer had his own private diner for about, oh, five minutes and then I'll be darn!  That little stinker Sarg hovered over the house, spotted the new feeder and dove over there.  He cracks me up!

And on a side note, these are two of my best photos so far.  Yes, I'm still working hard on my photographer skills... but I really love these shots!

Peace and happy birding!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Birding at the Glendale Recharge Ponds II

Black Phoebe

If you think you won't see a variety of birds at the Glendale Recharge Ponds, trust me you will.  Although the adorable Black Phoebe has reclaimed the area, don't worry - he'll let you pass.

Black-necked Stilt

The past two weekends Mark and I ventured out there in the early morning to do a little birding before the heat kicked in.  Watching the shorebirds enjoy the water made me want to jump in.  Okay, not really, but gosh I can hardly wait until it cools off here... makes me itch like crazy not birding.  Anyway, here's a few photos I took from both Saturday adventures there.  

Great Egret

This is the Great Egret that I was taking photos of when I noticed a large bird in the background in the dry area.  After closer inspection, I realized it was a falcon - which we later identified as a Peregrine Falcon.  You can see him and his parent in my previous post here.

Green Heron
This inconspicuous Green Heron tried to be sneaky and camouflage himself, but I found him.  Then he decided to have a stare down contest with me.  Not sure who won, but it was fun while it lasted.

Green Heron
To back up a little, we parked on the bridge near the riparian area.  I was eager to walk over to the basins, but decided to look into the riparian while getting our birding gear out.  There he was, standing tall and proud.  That was the first time I've seen this bird's neck all stretched out.  I've only seen him crouched, so it was a pretty cool sight! 


One of my favorite birds is the Killdeer.  They are entertaining, a joy to watch so cute!


This is the same Osprey from my Eagle post.  He was such a massive sized bird and this shot does not do him justice, but it's okay. 

Snowy Egret

To some it up, in the two days we went (3 hours total) we identified 35 species, saw over 260 birds, and added 11 lifers.  Not too shabby for 3 hours of fun birding.

Looking forward to our Prescott trip in October, but in the meantime I still have more birding adventures to share.  And I'm sure we'll be making regular trips to the Glendale Recharge Ponds.

Peace and happy birding!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Birding at the Glendale Recharge Ponds - Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

Following up from my last post about our birding adventure at the Glendale Recharge Ponds, here's the Peregrine Falcon that we saw.  A lifer for us!

Peregrine Falcon at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

Okay, so I know they are raptors, but look at that adorable face!  More like those eyes - he's just too cute!  I'm just glad that this juvenile didn't have any prey with him.  I'm squeamish.  Big time!  So in other words, you'll never see any photos of birds with prey or the likes on here my blog, Flickr, Instagram, Twitter...

Peregrine Falcon at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

We stood there watching the juvenile for quite some time and then he took flight.  We followed his path and he landed close to another bird, which we later discovered was an adult Peregrine Falcon.  Perhaps mom or dad were teaching him how to hunt. 

Oh and please excuse the photo quality as they're not the best, but I'm sharing them anyway.  I'm a birder first and hobby photographer second.  However, I'm trying VERY hard in hopes of taking much better photos.  Lots and lots of practice.

Peregrine Falcons at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

I have several other photos of a variety of species that we saw over the past two weekends at this birding hotspot.  I'll share them as I can over the next couple weeks.  In October we're going on another birding adventure in Prescott.

Peace and happy birding!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bald Eagle - Birding at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

Bald Eagle at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

I have lots to blog about, but haven't had the extra time lately.  So for now I want to share something from our birding adventure on Saturday at the Glendale Recharge Ponds.  As you can see, we saw an amazing bird!

This was our second trip there - first time was last weekend in which we added 8 lifers!  Basin 5 was filled to the brim with a variety of species that day, but I'll go back to that adventure in another post.

Bald Eagle at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

We arrived at 7am and while it was a bit "cooler" than it has been, the sun was pretty bright and a bit harsh in the wide open area, making it a rather warm 1 1/2 hour morning.  Considering what all we saw, it was well worth the sweat.

This time we parked on the parking bridge by the riparian area.  We were actually the only ones there, besides bicyclists.  Basin 5 was quite full of water and was in the process of filling while we were there.  Basin 2 had a little water and basin 1 a little more.  The others were dry.

Bald Eagle at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

There were not nearly as many birds as last weekend, but plenty enough.  Added 3 more lifers, identified 19 species and saw over 140 birds. 

I must admit, the most exciting part of the morning was seeing the Bald Eagle!  While walking in between the long stretch of the basins towards basin 1, Mark spotted the eagle in flight heading into the basin.  We stopped in our tracks and watched.  He then flew up to the utility post and sat there.  We continued to walk closer to basin 1 and then all the way to the end where we just stood there admiring him.  And taking lots and lots of pictures.

Osprey at the Glendale Recharge Ponds

Last weekend we had many highlights, like the Osprey above.  Apologies for the poor quality, but this was a far off shot and I'm simply an amateur hobby photographer.  Anyway... no, he did not catch the duck.  He actually landed about 5 feet past to catch a fish.  Osprey's feed almost exclusively on fish.  It was an awesome sight!

To sum up the major highlight of this weekends birding adventure... it rocked!  I'll have more to share about both our trips to the Glendale Recharge Ponds as soon as I can.  This location is noted as a birding hotspot and indeed it is.

Peace and happy birding!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Cactus Blossoms

Orange Cactus Blossom

If you think we're nothing more than tumbleweeds, cactus, dust storms, monsoons, hot as ___ heat, etc., let me show you just a tad of Arizona's colorful side.

We have a variety of color throughout our state.  And yes we do have lots of the other stuff, including the HOT as ___ HEAT, but we also have other seasons that bring cool weather and snow up north.  Sometimes the cold white stuff hits down here in the valley, in some locations, which makes us all get wildly excited.  We also have lush green forests up north, beautiful trees, eye catching cactus blossoms, flowering shrubs, the mesmerizing red rocks of Sedona, breathtaking sunsets, and so much more.

Pink Cactus Blossom

Whenever we go on walks or hikes, I can't resist taking photos of nature (these were all taken with my Samsung Galaxy S6).  There is so much to see all around us.  In fact, there are times that I see things in nature, like when you see things in clouds (which I do often).  I've seen some hilarious cacti that looked like... well, I'll save that for another time. 

Then one day I saw kissie face cactus.

Kissie Face Cactus
This is Kissie Face Cactus.  Yep, I named it that because that is what I see.  We came across this cool blossoming cacti while birding at the Rio Salado Restoration Habitat a few months ago.  I couldn't stop staring at it!  Do you see the kissie face its making or do you see something else?  Kissie Face also made it to Az Central's website, which you can see here.
See?  We do have color here in the desert.
Peace and happy birding... and nature exploring,

Friday, July 24, 2015

Birding with My Canon

Canon Powershot SX50 HS

Over the past several years being a backyard birder, I didn't think I would want a camera other than the one on my phone (Samsung) or my old Canon point and shoot.  Needless to say, but some of (okay, most of) the backyard photos I did take of the birds are not pleasing to the eye.  Plus I didn't know where my love of birds was going to take me, so what I had at the time was good enough for me.

Time goes by, my love of birds grew (and continues), hubby fell in love with birds, we started going on our own birding adventures and decided a good camera would be a good investment.  Not only would we then have photos of the birds that we saw, but would help with identification as well, along with taking notes in our field journal. 

So the research began on what camera would be best for our birding in nature adventures.  We both enjoy taking photos (via point and shoot and our phones), neither one of us are professional photographers (obviously), it needed to be within our budget (until I win the lotto), a DSLR was out of the question (at this time anyway) and we wanted something more than just a P&S.  That led us to the camera that we bought at the end of May.

The Canon Powershot SX50 HS is considered a bridge camera.  It does much more than a standard P&S, but not as much as a DSLR.  For me, this was the perfect choice. 

I've been teaching myself all about this camera, its functions, photography... let me just say here that I've been doing so much reading and learning that my brain hurts - but I'm loving it!  Anyway, I want to get out of using auto mode completely (barely using that now as I'm loving AV mode) and I'm slowly getting there.  Oh and the zoom on this camera is absolutely amazing! 

Even though I'm still learning this camera and have much to learn about photography, I share my amateur photos on my FlickrInstagram and Twitter accounts, and now here too.

I'd Rather Be Birding

I honestly do not mind constructive advise or any type of info regarding my not so perfect photos. 

Peace and happy birding!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Bird that Stole My Heart

Gambel's Quail (male) on our block fence

So you may be wondering how my love for birds began.  Come on, humor me okay? 

Living in Arizona, particularly the desert regions of the southwest, the Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii) are practically everywhere.  They are literally throughout many neighborhoods and can be seen on rooftops, block fences, yards, trees, and in other habitats.  While driving through neighborhoods we're always cautious of this as they cross the street one by one - and we always stop for them and other wildlife.

One thing that stands out in my mind of how I fell in love with this gorgeous bird is their bond for one another as they mate for life.  The male reminds me of a gentlemen, like my hubby actually.  The male stands guard and protects his mate and young.  It is undeniably beautiful to watch. 

Anyway, a few years ago I bought a quail seed block and put it in the backyard.  That not only brought more quail, but also several other birds.  So I bought a bird feeder and, well, goes without saying but our backyard soon became a little bird sanctuary.

Mr. & Mrs. Gambel's Quail and a peek-a-boo Mourning Dove

One day I looked out back to see a covey of quail (covey is a flock of 20 or more - we've had over 25 at one time!) boy was that ever exciting.  Then there was the day I'll never forget... adorable tiny baby quails in our backyard!  Oh my goodness, I fell in love all over again!  From that day forward, I began watching all the birds that came into our backyard, bought a Bird of Arizona Field Guide book and it grew from there.

Even though I've loved the Gambel's Quail for as long as I can remember, and see them on a daily basis, I still get a warm fuzzy feeling as if it were the first time.  Kind of makes me giddy actually.

Peace and happy birding!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tattooed Bird Nerds

Tattooed Birders:  Rocki and Bullwinkle
My lovely sis-n-love Tina, who is now blogging about their fun adventures (Southwest Travelers) inspired me to start blogging about our birding adventures.  I have a couple other blogs for my raw vegan recipes, my studio, and an old blog, but didn't think my birds would feel at home there ;)  So I'm dedicating this blog to birds, birding, nature adventures... you get the idea.

First let me give a brief intro (more about us in the About Me tab).

Bullwinkle spotted a birdie
Above is my best friend, love of my life, soulmate, fellow bird lover and adventure partner - aka my loving hubby Mark (Bullwinkle).  Mark is an accountant and a self-proclaimed geek/nerd.  We both used to ride motorcycles, but had to stop due to health reasons.  One of these days we hope to buy a trike, but it has to be able to hold our birding gear. 

We may not be your conventional birders, but we love birds all the same and are enjoying every aspect of birding.

Rocki spotted a pretty birdie too
We have a few tattoos.  Okay, more like I have 18 and Mark has... well, he has much less than I do (tee hee hee).  He's trying to catch up, but I keep telling him there's no way.

I know there are other birders with tattoos, so I'm not trying to say we're unique or abnormal (well, actually that's a whole other can of worms ;) but since we became "official" birders, it's fair to say that we are not of the "norm".  When we went on our first group bird walk in Prescott last month, nobody made us feel unwelcome or strange.  We had a blast of a time and I finally got to use my new bridge camera!  More about that in a future post.

Yep, that's me - Rocki.  Yep, I have pink hair.
This is me pretty much most of the time when I'm not in my birding attire.  No you're not seeing things, I'm wearing glasses - lol!  Yes, I have pink hair.  My gosh, tattoos and pink hair... and a birder! 

So, that's the very short version of Rocki & Bullwinkle - the Tattooed Bird Nerds.  I'll update the About Me page tomorrow as now it's time to switch gears and package up orders.

Peace and happy birding!