Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sycamore Canyon Birds

I know there's seed in there somewhere! 10-14-09

As autumn descends on Sycamore Canyon the bird population continues to change. While nighthawks, white-winged doves and martins have left, the sparrows, warblers and raptors are returning. Though a few turkey vultures still linger, I know that one day soon will be THE LAST DAY I see them until next spring. The Gambel's quail chicks from this summer have almost all matured and show up at my feeder now as adults, except for a few from a late hatching, which still do not have their adult plumage or top knot!

Waiting for the seeds to fall. 10-14-09

I love their happy chatter as they come to clean up seed from beneath the lone sunflower seed feeder. I have severely limited my bird feeding lately due to the presence of rock pigeons. So far it seems to be working, and though I often see these winged pigs on my neighbor’s rooftop, they seldom land in my yard any more.

Gila Woodpecker clown 10-11-09
For awhile I was not seeing many woodpeckers, but they have come back in force again and the Gila woodpeckers crack me up with their laughter –like whinny and their clownish antics. I love to see them hang from the hummingbird feeder sipping nectar through their beaks like a straw. The flickers do not do this however; only the Gila woodpeckers.

On Sunday a juvenile cooper’s hawk hunted my bird feeder causing a dove to crash into the window. I heard the crash and when I came to investigate saw the marvelous raptor sitting on the fence. Later in the day I decided to water the garden and give it a good soaking with the hose. In the process I sprayed the orange tree with its oval basin-like leaves. As I turned away from shutting off the hose I looked up to see a hummingbird splashing with delight in one of the orange tree leaves! The huge leaves made a perfect tiny bird bath for this perfect tiny bird!

Black-throated gray warbler in my backyard 10-13-09

I had the surprise of the week last night when I was sitting out back talking on the phone to my youngest brother. As I he and I were in deep conversation a black-throated gray warbler flew into the yard and landed in the mesquite tree right in front of me! I could not help but gasp, and Chris, understanding my love for the birds, said he could wait if I needed to get a photograph. I did not think the bird would linger, but I casually got up and went inside to retrieve my bins and camera. Sure enough it was still out there and when I sat back down it came close enough for me to capture one quick photo before it flew away! With the Bewick’s wren I saw in the wash with TR last Tuesday and the warbling vireo I saw on September 25, this brings the Sycamore Canyon Bird List to a total of 83 species of birds! It blows my mind to think I live in a place where one can see 83 species of birds all within walking distance of my front door!

Black-throated gray warbler in Gardner Canyon 8-17-08

I took this photo of a black-throated gray warbler last year in Gardner Canyon which is just on the other side of the Santa Rita Mountains from where I live. I included it so you can get a better look at the beautiful coloring of this black and white warbler with its yellow lores. My camera has been acting up and will not focus when I want it to. I am trying to figure this out. Even though it has a fully charged battery, it will take one picture, then refuse to take anymore. It flashes F-- as if the battery is dead or missing. I have to shut it off and turn it back on again and then it will work for a few shots before it rebels on me. Any idea anyone? I have tried removing the lens and reattaching it as well as removing the battery and reinserting it. I have reformatted the card also. It goes through spells like this, then it stops. I don't know why but I hate it when it does. I could have gotten a much better photo of the warbler in my yard if it hadn't balked on me!


abb said...

For the time being, our birds are simply AWOL here in Connecticut. I've read several pieces that have surmised it's because of the overabundance of natural food. I really don't care what the reason is, I just want my birds back!
At least I can live vicariously through your photos and words. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well at least you have some really nice colourful birds for the winter to observe Kathie.

Kathie Brown said...

TSAnnie, I bet the first snow will bring them out! Load up your feeders. My Mom said it was snowing there today!

Roy, I have wonderful birds to observe. I get hummingbirds in winter! What more can you ask for! and I never tire of the quail!

Mary said...

Well, I declare I do believe I saw a Black-throated gray warbler in West Virginnie. Did I? :o/

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Black-throated gray would be such a wonderful life bird for us! I think the Cute Hubby and I are going to try a south east Arizona trip in the spring... ahh... spring... it is rainy and 40 in MD today.

Have a good weekend!

Mary said...

Beautiful little warbler! I always love the quail and the gila woodpeckers.

Mary C said...

Oh, Kathie, your Gila woodpecker at the hummingbird feeder just cracked me up! It's as funny as orioles trying to get nectar from a small hummingbird feeder that I've seen in my yard.

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, I think it was a black-throated green. Black-throated grays are the western version. Very similar.

Bird couple, will you let me know when you come? I would be so pleased to meet you!

Mary, I love the woodpeckers and quail too!

Mary C, how nice to see your smiling face again!

Gaelyn said...

Kathie, I love seeing your birds. Can hardly wait to see some of the same when I return to Yarnell in a few more days.

Congrats on the award, you so deserve recognition.

I sure do hope you come to the canyon next summer. I'd love to show you around. I might make it your way this winter. Have a place to park my truck with little camper on it's back?

Hope your camera gets better, very frustrating.

karin said...

I found you from Bobbie. When I saw Sycamore Canyon I thought of the one we hiked in west of Sedona. But his must be a different Sycamore Canyon. We are both casual bird watchers (no life lists). Eliot, my companion, used to have one in his youth. I first became more serious before I met him when I volunteered at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. I love the woodpecker at the hummingbird feeder.