Yuma AZ 1-6-16 Streak-backed Oriole

Streak-backed Oriole 12-6-15 Yuma

Streak-backed Oriole 1-6-16 Yuma

This, Dear Friends, is a bird that I’ve been waiting for ever since the first time I opened a birder’s guide.  I saw Mark Stratton’s post with photos recently, and could not resist the chance to see this spectacular icterid when Roger Uzun offered a day trip to Yuma and beyond.  The weather report indicated that it would be clear and relatively warm (65F) in Yuma.  We found the bird with the help of a traveling birder, Chris(?) from Montana.  It posed nicely in almost exactly the advertised spot.

Also seen were a couple of Gila woodpeckers and several Inca doves.

Streak-backed Oriole Yuma 12-6-15

Streak-backed Oriole Yuma 1-6-16

Streak-backed Oriole Yuma 12-6-15

Streak-backed Oriole Yuma 1-6-16

Streak-backed Oriole Yuma 12-6-15

Streak-backed Oriole Yuma 1-6-16

Gila Woodpecker Yuma 12-6-15

Gila Woodpecker Yuma 1-6-16

Gila Woodpecker Yuma 12-6-15

Gila Woodpecker Yuma 12-6-15

Giant Toad 12-30-15

This giant toad and psychedelic toad stool appeared in my yard yesterday (12-29-15).  I think its an arroyo toad.  The eyes light up.  We’ll see how long it takes before it gets vandalized.

The Giant Toad of Rancho Malario

The Giant Toad of Rancho Malario

Scott's Oriole 12-30-15

Scott’s Oriole 12-30-15.

There are three male Scotties in town.  They often forage together in the pines near the RR station.

Red-Breasted Sapsucker 12-30-15

Red-Breasted Sapsucker 12-30-15

American Robin 12-29-15

American Robin 12-29-15

The robins and cedar waxwings have entirely cleaned out the pyracantha pomes.  Also visiting the pyracantha hedge have been a sage thrasher and Townsend’s solitaire.

Sage Thrasher 12-29-15

Sage Thrasher 12-29-15 – a yard bird!

Loggerhead Shrike 12-28-15

Loggerhead Shrike 12-28-15

Black-throated Sparrow 12-28-15

Black-throated Sparrow 12-28-15

Black-throated Sparrow 12-30-15

Black-throated Sparrow 12-30-15

American Kestrel 12-28-15

American Kestrel 12-28-15

 

 

 

Recent Birds to 12-21-15

Sage Thrasher v Pyracantha Pomes 12-19-15

Sage Thrasher  & Pyracantha Pomes 12-19-15

Sage Thrasher 12-19-15

Sage Thrasher 12-19-15

Scott's Oriole 12-21-15

Scott’s Oriole 12-21-15

Scott's Oriole 12-21-15

Scott’s Oriole 12-21-15

Prairie Falcon 12-16-15

Prairie Falcon 12-16-15

Prairie Falcon 12-16-15

Prairie Falcon 12-16-15

Prairie Falcon 12-16-15

Prairie Falcon 12-16-15

Rock Wren 12-16-15

Rock Wren 12-16-15

Red Crossbill 12-1-15

Red Crossbill 12-1-15

Purple Finch 11-29-15

Purple Finch 11-29-15

Townsend's Solitaire 12-18-15

Townsend’s Solitaire 12-18-15

Townsend's Solitaire 12-18-15

Townsend’s Solitaire 12-18-15

Late November 2015

Bobcat 11-26-15

Bobcat 11-26-15

I found this adult bobcat and one half-grown cat long the railroad tracks east of town this morning, 11-26-15.  This is the first bobcat that’s posed for me since 2012.  Nice cat, to the extent that they can be nice.

Kite

Kite 11-26-15

Brewer's Sparrow 11-26-15

Brewer’s Sparrow 11-26-15

This year I’ve noticed an invasion of Brewer’s sparrows.  The last several years there have been very few, if any of these guys.  Also, more than the usual numbers of vesper and chipping sparrows. While at the same time, Savannah sparrow numbers are way low.

Red Crossbill 11-26-15

Red Crossbill 11-26-15

I started seeing red crossbills last week.  Mainly in my yard and a few at the railroad station.  This morning early I spotted  a flock of 5 female-types flying overhead, seemingly hawking for bugs and making an odd flight call.  Later about 8 males showed up at my water features and in the junipers and pines near my yard.  They’ve been at my water off and on all morning.

Red Crossbill 11-26-15

Red Crossbill 11-26-15

Red Crossbill 11-26-15

Red Crossbill 11-26-15

Red-crossbill, female

Red-crossbill, female

Mt. Bluebird 11-28-15

Mountain Bluebird 11-28-15

Mt. Bluebird 11-28-15

Mountain  Bluebird 11-28-15

Mt. Bluebird 11-28-15

Mountain Bluebird 11-28-15

 

 

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Today Trent Stanley and I were birding along the railroad tracks east of Jacumba when we came across this Eastern Phoebe.  This is a true vagrant bird.  They are common in the east but are seen only once or twice per year in San Diego County. Below is a local species, the Black Phoebe, for comparison.  They are closely related.

 

Black Phoebe (Eric Kallen Photo)

Black Phoebe 2007 – the “tuxedo bird”
(Eric Kallen Photo)

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Eastern Phoebe 11-21-15 (Trent Stanley photo)

Phoebes are flycatchers who sit out in the open on branches of shrubs or trees and hawk for bugs. Besides the common Black Phoebe and the vagrant Eastern Phoebe, we often see another relative, Say’s Phoebe.

Also seen recently……

Ladder-backed Woodpecker 11-20-15

Ladder-backed Woodpecker 11-20-15

Vesper Sparrow 11-20-15

Vesper Sparrow 11-20-15

Chipping Sparrow 11-20-15

Chipping Sparrow 11-20-15

 

Red Crossbills 11-17-15

Red Crossbills 11-17-15

Red Crossbills 11-17-15

I saw these birds several times during the winter of 2012-2013 but they’ve been absent since.  This morning as I returned from a hike around the agricultural fields (mountain bluebird & vesper sparrow) I noted a colorful red crossbill in my locust tree.  I grabbed my camera and got some good enough shots.

Red Crossbills 11-17-15

Red Crossbills 11-17-15

Red Crossbills 11-17-15

Red Crossbills 11-17-15

Also seen in my yard was the local bed-breasted nuthatch, 5 American robins, 12 Pine Siskins and lots of freeloaders.

The temperature got down to 26F this morning.

 

 

Autumn Birds November 2015

Black throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow and Brewer’s Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow and Brewer's Sparrow

Black-throated Sparrow and Brewer’s Sparrow

Brewer's Sparrow

Brewer’s Sparrow

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

Bufflehead - our smallest duck!

Bufflehead – our smallest duck!

The birds above were photographed mostly in November, 2015.  Other birds seen more-or-less regularly include Vesper Sparrow, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Northern Harrier,Rock Wren, Audubon’s Warbler, Western Meadowlark, and White-tailed Kite.  I’m expecting Mountain Bluebird and Sage Thrasher soon.

Dos Cabezos

Dos Cabezos

1948 Frazer Manhattan Sedan

Frazer Manhattan Sedan.  1947 or 1948.

This is the coolest car I’ve found out here.  It’s abandoned and rusting away.    Frazer made 18,591 of these buggys in 1948.  Also seen were two 1960s Studebakers, a 1947 Chrysler Windsor, a Hudson Jet, Kaiser Traveler, a Pontiac from the late 40s, a Rover “90,” a 1927 Buick, a  1946 Dodge and a Barracuda from the mid 60s.  Some of the dates of these cars are (close) estimates.  I used Richard Longworth’s Encyclopedia of American Cars 1930-1980 as a guide.

Rotting away!

Frazer Manhattan

Kaiser Traveler 1952-1954

Kaiser Traveler 1952-1954

Kaisers and Frazers were littermates.  The most famous Kaisers were the “Henry J” which were  cheap smalls car that were often made into hot rods and  the “Dragon” a stylish chariot that featured fake “dragon skin” upholstery.

Buick from about 1925

1927 Buick

Hudson Jet about 1952

Hudson Jet about 1952

Hudson Jet

Hudson Jet

1946 Dodge

1946 Dodge

1947 Pontiac

1947 Pontiac

The lineup

The lineup

Ditto

Ditto

Evening Grosbeaks Return 10-13-15

Pia of Evening Grosbeaks who showed up on 10-13-15

Pair of Evening Grosbeaks who showed up on 10-13-15.  Female left.  Photo taken 10-14-15

Last February a pair of Evening Grosbeaks showed up at my birdbath, and hung around until April.  Today, a pair showed up at my bird bath again.  I strongly suspect that these are the same birds who wintered here last winter.   Returning to the same local, or yard, to spend the winter is not uncommon among birds.  Perhaps one of them is a returning bird, and the other is a new partner.  I dunno.

Evening Grosbeak, male, 10-14-15

Evening Grosbeak, male, 10-14-15

Evening Grosbeak, male, 10-14-15

Evening Grosbeak, male, 10-14-15

Evening Grosbeak, male, 10-13-15 at the swamp

Evening Grosbeak, male, 10-13-15 at the swamp

Red-breasted Nuthatch 10-14-15

Red-breasted Nuthatch 10-14-15

White-throated Sparrow 10-9-15

This is a bird that’s been on my radar for a while.  Paul Lehman found them in the ditch between the town and the ag fields to the east in 2012 (or thereabouts).  I’ve looked for this bird in every flock of its cousins, the too-common white-crowned sparrow.  Today in my yard I caught a glimpse of a sparrow that didn’t look quite right, and with some patience, which I abhor, I finally got some looks and crappy pics (in deep shade) of a nice bird.  Yard bird #125.

White-throated Sparrow 10-10-15

White-throated Sparrow 10-10-15

White-throated Sparrow 10-10-15

White-throated Sparrow 10-10-15

White-throated Sparrow 10-9-15

White-throated Sparrow 10-9-15

The sparrow seemed fond of nyger seed and spent considerable time feeding on a pile of seeds I had discarded last month.

Also seen today in my yard was a FOS Fox sparrow.  It likes to scratch through the leaf litter like a towhee or thrasher.

Fox Sparrow FOS 10-9-15

Fox Sparrow FOS 10-9-15

Phainopepla v. Pyracantha 10-10-15

Phainopepla v. Pyracantha 10-10-15

Lincoln's Sparrow 10-10-15

Lincoln’s Sparrow 10-10-15

Lincoln's Sparrow 10-10-15

Lincoln’s Sparrow 10-10-15

A pine Siskin showed up last week and stayed two days.  Today it returned.

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin 10-3-15

Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin