Water Birds, Land Critters , and Birds Perched on Things

By Dan Weisz

Here is another collection of different subjects that I’ve run across recently, all in the Tucson and surrounding areas.

A young Pied-billed Grebe chats with its parent on a pond on a golf course, probably begging for food. These birds are fairly wide-spread across the country. Adults have that multi-colored (pied) bill during breeding season while the juveniles have a very unique striped pattern to their heads.

This Common Gallinule was at Sweetwater Wetlands. It was tiptoeing across a floating reed, but already had duckweed sprinkled on its body. The beak, made of keratin, has a hard outer surface that turns red during breeding season. It looks like candy corn at this time of year.

A Mallard Duckling swam out from the reeds. Part of a large family of ducklings, they will grow up very quickly.

An immature Black-crowned Night Heron flew over the marsh. That red eye lets us know this bird is at least a few years old.

At Fort Huachuca, one morning the parade grounds were filled with White-tailed Deer and wild Turkeys.

And I had a White-tailed Deer in my yard and driveway this week too. See that gray hair between her eyes? I’ve got a gray hair in the exact same spot!

A Common Kingsnake lives near me. Lately, he’s been around hunting during the mornings.

Female Desert Spiny Lizards develop an orange head during breeding season.

Clark’s Spiny Lizards are seen in riparian woodlands of the Sky Islands surrounding Tucson. This one was in Madera Canyon basking in the sun.

Also in Madera Canyon was this beautiful Elegant Trogon. Even hearing this bird is a treat. We were lucky to be able to locate it and watch it calling.

Back home, this Pyrrhloxia was calling from atop a blooming saguaro cactus.

And late one afternoon, a Costa’s Hummingbird sat still long enough for me to take its picture.

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