Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Duck Harem

After a couple of duckless days we had a pair hang around all day yesterday. Sadly they were not Agnes and Alfred, they were pretty standoffish. This morning there are 4 ducks gleaning from under the birdfeeders, 3 females and a male. All 4 of them moved to Ducky Island, pretty funny to see one on each corner.

There were tons of birds zooming around the yard yesterday afternoon while I was weeding. About a dozen were flying circular patterns over the pond, you could pick one bird and follow it around and around. There were 2 different species doing this, one had a very distinct yellow stripe on his tail so I decided to get out the bird book and see if I could identify it.

I took an Ornithology course back in college (mumble, mumble) years ago, but I never really got the hang of identifying birds. They are too small, they move too much, I'd do great if one would pose for me so I could see all the identifying marks clearly. But I'll flip through the bird book and look the pictures and come up with something. Of course if I then look at the range of the bird and find that it only lives in Outer Mongolia, then I've probably not got the right one.

One of my pond zoomers, I decided, was a Cedar Waxwing - they are even suppose to be around here so I think I did OK. Next I zeroed in on the bird feeder with some binoculars which I always have trouble with, just don't hold them steady enough (which you'll have noticed from my pictures - can't hold the camera steady either). I decided the yellow birds were Yellow Grosbeaks, whoops, they are very rare in Arizona - looks like they live in Mexico. Helpfully the book said what you are probably seeing is either a Western Tanager or Scott's Oriole. My bets are on the Tanager, but I'm not sure so I'll try again with the yellow birds.

I did decide I was also observing a Black-headed Grosbeak. Now I bet you are wondering where I'm going with all this bird talk. Well, I've set myself a little goal, to try and identify at least a bird a day (when it's nice and I'm out in the yard) and I've put pictures of the ones I've identified (pictures obtained from the internet, can't even imagine trying to get a decent picture of one if I can't see them clearly enough to identify) - oh, yes - the pictures are over on the right hand side bar. We'll see how far I get.

My other little goal for the summer, is to take in a bouquet of flowers from the yard to have on my desk at work - that should be an easy one, I've still got Peony's for maybe another week, and this weeks bouquet, which I should have taken a picture of also had yarrow, sweet william and these really neat blue flowers that are bell shaped - I'm not sure what they are called. I've planted a lot of flowers for cutting, we'll see if I get the constant bloom I tried for.