Saturday, April 21, 2007

Sun City West

My in-laws home where we stayed is in Sun City West, a 55+ community outside of Phoenix. The neighborhood that they live in has a strong sense of community and caring for one another. The vast majority are retirees, many from cold climate winters, some of them seasonal visitors, others permanent. It's clean and quiet. There are shopping malls, golf courses and healthecare centers located every few miles- or at least it seemed that way. Being a ginormous senior city, there were no schools, no kids on bikes, no parks. Very strange feeling. Since we were there during spring break there were other visiting families with kids, but no neighborhood kids. Fun place to visit...
There were however lots of Gambel's quails pictured above. These are odd birds usually seen on the ground or on roofs. They can run like the dickens and seemed able to flip that little plume about at will. I was surprised to learn that they are native birds. This guy squawked on the brick wall right outside of our bedroom window EVERY morning at about 0530 AM! A life bird! Whoo-whoo! By 0530 on the second day I wanted them to dry up and blow away...

Another life bird in the in-laws' backyard, the white-winged dove. This species is non-native, introduced in the 50's when captive birds were released in Florida. This bird sings "who cooks for you" but in a dove voice.

Correction: White Winged Doves are NOT an introduced species. They are a native species and migrate south to Mexico during winter.

Can anyone out there id this cactus for me? I was told that the blossoms last only part of a day and that the entire blooming season is only a few days.
It was gorgeous- no scent that I could tell though.
Here's another lifer that I spied in their backyard- the Abert's towhee. He's not much to look at but every one of them that I saw was so dang secretive and hinky. I was thrilled to get this picture though I know it's not a great one.


Around home here the trees are really popping. Male red-winged blackbirds have been here for several days but thins morning the ladies arrived. Two days ago there were hundreds of juncos but today there are none. Happy trails juncos! This morning also brought the first white-crowned, white- throated and song sparrows. Meal worms and Zick-dough are going like hot-cakes. Cardinals, robins and chickadees are flying around with nesting materials. The wind is gusting from the south but we're expecting thunderstorms tonight. I heard that means we could have a good fall-out of spring migraters! Spring is vibrating here in Minnesota!!!

13 comments:

MojoMan said...

I love those quail. Growing up in NY in the 50's and 60's I used to see quail in old cartoons always trying to blow the plume out of their eyes. Little did I know it would be decades until I saw a real one, but I guess they were an everyday thing for the cartoonists in Hollywood.

Body Soul Spirit said...

I love your exciting description of spring in Minnesota! That mystery cactus is beautiful. Do you feed the birds all year? I took my feeders down today now that it is warmer.
Ruth

Lynne said...

Mojoman- Gambel's quails were a hoot to watch, but they sure sing early (if you can call their song singing)

Ruth- I do feed all year. I just love watching those birds!

Cathy said...

Ya know - if you set out to design a comical-looking bird you couldn't do much better than those silly wonderful quail.

I am a cactus ignoramus - sorry.

Lynne - who's eating the mealy worms? Sounds like you're in full Spring swing there :0)

Mary said...

Finally! Springtime in Minnesota! I'm so happy for you. Thanks for that awesome quail shot. Silly looking birds but I like them.

Your lifer list is getting long, Lynne! I really enjoy your bird musings. A great job - Thanks!

Deb said...

Wow, you're rackin' up the lifers there! When we lived in California, I always liked seeing the California quail there.

Isn't spring wonderful, now that it's finally here? I think I'll go out and listen to the frog chorus.

Lynne said...

Cathy- all the birds like mealworms. Those quail do look silly!

Mary- I did get quite a few new life birds in AZ. Spring was a LONG time coming!

Deb- Lucky you listening to the frog chorus. Until the trees leaf out we get to listen to the freeway at night.

Susan Gets Native said...

So glad Spring is blowing into your neck of the woods.
Our juncos are gone, but our white-throated sparrows are still hanging around. Don't you just love the changing of the seasons? Just when we are really getting bored, Nature changes her gown!

Larry said...

You have so many nice images from your stay at Arizona.I'm going to have to put Arizona as a place I would like to visit some day.

Jayne said...

What a cool quail! Love that plume. So glad spring has made it up there to you!

NatureWoman said...

Lynne, I love your AZ photos! It's fun to see what you captured while out there!

Liza Lee Miller said...

I love quail! When we moved in here, there was a flock that cruised through the yard everyday. Bring the dogs home (they were staying with family until we got the fences built), ended their visits. I miss them. Cheerful creatures.

Anonymous said...

That quail is adorable!
You weren't staying too far from my father-in-law's place... He's just a bit further west on Bell Rd, in the Happy Trails community.
~other Sharon