Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Swing of Spring

Swainson's Thrush
Birds are everywhere.  Lifebirds are just around the corner.  You don't have to travel far in Arizona to find them!  In fact, I'm pretty sure you never have to leave this state to find new birds:)
Female Summer Tanager
Spring has been a lot of fun.  One day a wave of several birds will come through and the next, they'll be gone.  But another group will be present.  Such was the case of the Swainson's Thrush.  I remember birders telling me about these birds.  I didn't know how I'd tell the Swainson's or Hermit apart. When I started to hear a different sounding thrush and noticed atypical movement, I was quick to pull out my recorder and listen to the call.  After plugging in the name, I was able to confirm on the spot that I had indeed heard and seen several of the Swainson's thrushes.
The night passed and the new day began.  I did my count around school and discovered several new species for my patch.  The Lark Sparrow!!!
Lark Sparrow
As the Saguaro blooms open, every bird becomes a fan and rises to the tops of this amazing cactus.  On 3 arms, there are 3 birds!  The White-winged Dove, Pyrrhuloxia and Curve-billed Thrasher enjoy the fruit from these plants. The birds will then spread the pollen around which will create fruit containing thousands of seeds.  The birds of course, along with other mammals, including humans, will eat the fruits. Birds will help spread the seed around the desert.  A Saguaro depends solely on this symbiotic relationship to survive in the Sonoran desert.
From left to right.  White-winged dove, Pyrrhuloxia, and Curve-billed Thrasher on Saguaro Cactus
So many wonderful birds can be spotted on top of these flowers.  Just point your binos on top and you'll find hummingbirds, bees, thrashers, warblers and.......well the list goes on and on.
Curve-billed Thrasher
Meanwhile back at the ranch.  The owlets at my school have finally begun to move out of their trees and nest. All 3 have fledged and are with Mom and Dad.  Many of the staff were worried that they were harmed, but thanks to plenty of observation this past year, I could ease their minds a bit:)  While they weren't in their nest anymore, they had moved over the weekend into trees away from the cafeteria area.  Very smart move on their part.  Teenagers are LOUD!  At dusk, one of the teachers was rewarded with the owl silhouettes on the roof.  5 owls living the American dream!
Great Horned Owlet
This is the youngest and last to hatch.  I worried that this one wouldn't make it but Mom stayed with the baby until the end and now this little owlet is on the move with the other two siblings.
Spring moves on and summer will be arriving quickly. The owls departure from their nest also begins to mark the end of spring migration.  However, one never knows.  Who will stop by tomorrow?  Stay tuned for more.


  1. Wow, Chris! great birds and I loved the photos. The owls are a favorite and I love the Curved-billed Thrasher. The Tanager is a pretty bird. Gorgeous sky shot! Looks like a pretty day for birding!

  2. glad the owlets all made it! the saguaro tops are awesome!

  3. Oh My---love the saguaro tops... Beautiful.. I'm sure the birds love them too.

    Spring is wonderful, isn't it? It's just a wonderful time of year...

    Beautiful birds and I love your sunset. Wow!!!!

    Hope you are having a good week. When is your big summer trip?

  4. Hey Chris, glad to see the owlets are doing well. That shot of the desert birds on their respective saguaro perches is tops.

  5. I've never gotten to see the flowering saguaros, and it's on my list. For that matter, I've never seen baby owls before either. I like their fluffy look.

  6. Thats one fun shot of the Saguaro Cactus:=)Great captures!

  7. Adore the shots with the birds on the saguaro cactus Chris, the blooms are interesting enough on their own but what a total bonus to get the birds feeding! Did you take these shots with you new lens?

  8. Hi Grace:)

    Yes it's now all with the new lens!!! It has been an exciting improvement in quality overall.

  9. Beautiful photos Chris - thanks too for the owl update. So glad they are doing well :)


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