Some February Leftovers

By Dan Weisz

Here is an assortment of photos left over from February.  It was a “short” month so I didn’t have enough time to post them all.

At a local pond, I saw a plain old domestic goose.  I thought the texture of its neck feathers was just so intriguing.  I took this photo when it settled down for a quick snooze.  And how about that red eye-liner?

At the same pond was a Pied-billed Grebe.  Breeding season is approaching and the black vertical stripe in its beak is beginning to show.  I like the reflection of the grebe in the water as it swam slowly across the pond.

At Sweetwater Wetlands, the movement of the water created interesting patterns of the reflections of the reeds.

Lincoln’s Sparrows are winter visitors to Tucson.  They have small bills, a buffy mustache stripe, a buffy eyering and gray eyebrow.  Lincoln’s Sparrows were named after a traveling companion of James Audubon and not after our 16th President.  This Lincoln’s Sparrow also has a nice reflection in the creek.

Peeking through the reeds at Sweetwater, I noticed this Green heron.

Stepping close to the reeds allowed me to get a cleaner shot of the Green Heron.  You can find Green Herons near water that has reeds and cattails.

Out in the desert, Cactus Wrens are becoming more active as the days get longer.  It never ceases to amaze me to watch how they can casually walk on cholla cactus spines.

Another classic desert bird is our Verdin.  These small desert birds have yellow heads and that chestnut shoulder patch.  They are active little birds, always hunting for insects or fruits of some kind and they will come to your hummingbird feeder to search for spilled hummingbird nectar.  Verdins build the spherical nests you see scattered throughout the desert.  They will build many nests during the year and use them for roosting throughout the year, not just during breeding season.

A rare dove to see is the Inca Dove.  They used to be much more common in the Tucson area but for some reason their numbers here have dropped significantly. This bird was seen near the Santa Cruz River near Tumacacori.  The tan, scaly looking feathers set it apart from the very common Mourning Dove and others.

At Fort Lowell Park, a female Ladder-backed Woodpecker was enjoying a pecan from the large grove of pecan trees there.

On my last trip to farmland in Santa Cruz Flats, this Roadrunner was seeking high ground as a lookout.  He was on this bale of hay for the longest time as I drove up.  As soon as I stopped the car to take a picture, he dropped to the ground and continued on his way.

Next up, some Harris’s Hawks.

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