Friday, April 13, 2007

Desert Botanical Garden Part 2

There were two birds that I saw in the Desert Botanical Garden that I'm not totally sure about on my id. One is this guy. I think it's a mockingbird. I've never seen a mockingbird before (therefor a lifer!) and I couldn't find anyone in the garden to confirm my id. What do you all think?

Another beautiful cactus. It looked like the little flowers were poking through snow! The white was a fibrous material. I saw several birds including cactus wrens plucking this fluff presumably for nesting material.

All of the cactus blossoms were of hot, vibrant colors. No pastels to be found.

I don't know what these blooming trees are, but they seemed to be everywhere. I've got to get Pam to suggest a trees of AZ book before I go back there.

Another lifer- the verdin! This little gray bird with a lemony yellow head and rusty shoulder patch was gathering downy plant material to add to its nest. The verdin builds a spherical nest made of thorny twigs and lined with feathers, hair or fur. It has a side entrance with a spiky twig overhang- all designed to deter predators. I watched these little guys for a long time and noted all of the field marks to make a good id.

Here's another bird that I believe is a Curve-billed Thrasher. I'm hesitant on my id because the curve-billed thrasher appears more gray in the field guide. I saw quite a few of these birds on our trip. They seemed quite comfortable around people. I got a great chance to watch them when we played a long game of mini-golf. A pair was nesting in a tangled cactus in the middle of the course.

Another view of the curve-billed thrasher, though not a great picture. I tried desperately to get a clear picture, and finally as I was headed back to the car there was a pair on the sidewalk only three feet away. And Art had the camera- on the other side of the lot.

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Body Soul Spirit said...

I have enjoyed your Pheonix posts. My aunt and uncle live there 6 months of the year and have told us to visit. I think I will plan to do so! Dry warmth sounds very appealing. Sorry I cannot help with bird IDs.

Lynne said...

Ruth- My in-laws have spent parts of the last 6 winters there and I regret not visiting earlier. Temps in the low 90's are much more comfortable there than they are in our humid summers here in MN. I really hope we can go again next year.

Mary said...

Lynne, after seeing a Mocker 100 times per day, yes, that's a mocker. I'm sure he was smiling at your camera!

And, of course, Art had the camera with birds three feet from your face. Don't you just love it?

You trip provided you with great scenery and LIFERS! Your in-laws sound like great people and you might want to visit them often during the nor'easters!

Larry said...

Great Pictures from your trip!-I was wondering why you stopped posting for a while-Now I know why.

LauraHinNJ said...

I'm loving all the cactus pics! I can't imagine sticking my beak into any of then to gather nesting material - ouch!

This is silly, but I feel badly that you don't have mockingbirds up there in the frozen North! Did you get to hear him singing at all?

Susan Gets Native said...

Huh. I didn't know mockingbirds were that far west and south.
I love all the birds you saw! And that yellow eye on the thrasher is too kewl.

MojoMan said...

We enjoyed the Desert Botanical Garden last year and saw some of the same birds! I wish more desert areas were protected in that rapidly-growing area.

Cathy said...

Oh, yes! A mockingbird! Wouldn't you love to live in a area where they are common? These Arizona posts make me want sun and birds sooooo bad.

Jayne said...

I had a Mockingbird come to my feeders for the first time last night. Mind you, I hear and see them all around me, but they've not been coming to the feeder, and truthfully, I was a wee bit nervous, for a male will sometimes stake his claim to a feeder and attack anything and everything that tries to come to it. It can be a nightmare. I love to hear them singing though.

Love all the very vivid colors of the cacti blooms! The Thrasher is cool too! Did you all see any hummers out there? I'd love to see the western hummers as here we only have the Ruby Throated.

Lynne said...

Mary- Thanks for confirming my id! Those mockers seem to enjoy eye contact.

Larry- It was a great trip. It's nice to know folks notice when you're gone!

LauraH- Those birds must have tough feet for perching on those spines! No, I didn't get to hear the mockers sing. :(

Susan- There were lots of red and yellow eyed birds out there. I've always wondered if eye color has anything to do with habitat or hunting? Any ideas??

Mojoman- I was amazed at the sprawl in and around Phoenix. That garden is one cool place.

Cathy- Those mockers seem like comical birds! Winter WILL lose it's grip on the north....really!

Jayne- those mockers seemed "outgoing" I'm not surprized they would be a bit territorial. I did see hummers! More later...!

mon@rch said...

We don't normally get them where I am at but I would agree this looks like a mockingbird! Sounds like a great place!

Lynne said...

I was a littlle nervous sticking my neck out on id's- thanks for the help everyone!!

Liza Lee Miller said...

You know about the Bird PHotography Rules, Lynne. They ONLY pose pretty when you don't have your camera! :) Great birds! Gorgeous cactii!

Lynne said...

Liza- you're right on that one!! I have an album of bird butt shots to confirm it!

LostRoses said...

I'm enjoying your Arizona posts of both birds and flowers. It's true you don't see many pastels in the desert, isn't it? The birds also seem bolder and hardier!

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