Ash-throated Flycatcher

The Ash-throated Flycatcher has a call like a whistle being blown, and it always catches my attention.  Usually, the noisy flycatcher is perched at the top of a shrub or on a low branch where it watches for passing insects. I’ve seen them launch from such a perch and dart and dodge through the airContinue reading “Ash-throated Flycatcher”

Stellar in Flight

This is an animal superbly designed for flight. Cooper’s Hawks prey on other birds, and many live and hunt in forests, so they must be able to fly with extreme agility. Notice the boney ridge above the eye.  This supra-orbital ridge protects the eyeball from twigs and branches as the raptor careens through the trees.Continue reading “Stellar in Flight”

Desert Birds Come Courting

Spring unfolds quickly in the desert, and the season’s star actors are birds. After a winter of quiet, they appear on the scene in early February, acting out courtship dramas on stages such as Saguaro cacti and Ironwood trees. The first group I noticed were House Finches, singing and twirling together in the sky, chasingContinue reading “Desert Birds Come Courting”

Desert Mistletoe

We think of mistletoe as having holly-like leaves and hung with red ribbon in doorways at the holidays. Not like that, Desert Mistletoe is one of 1000 species of mistletoe that grow worldwide. Its leaves have shriveled over eons of arid life, to mere scales on jointed twigs.  The flowers are fragrant, but have noContinue reading “Desert Mistletoe”

Cardinal Red

The brilliantly colored Northern Cardinal must be about the easiest songbird to identify. This pair was attracted to a backyard feeder near the Dragoon Mountains in Southeast Arizona, where I stayed recently. The feeder was situated next to a large brushy shrub and that seemed a perfect arrangement for the cautious birds. They also enjoyedContinue reading “Cardinal Red”

Pincushion Cactus

This week I ventured up a wash that leads deep into South Mountain Park. Unlike many washes that are rocky and impassible, this dry streambed is level and sandy for some way.  I’ve come across owls up here before, both Great Horned, and Long-eared, so I was keeping a sharp eye out. And I did seeContinue reading “Pincushion Cactus”