Life and Death in the Backyard

My husband spotted this beautiful hawk in the backyard this evening. He was perched on a low birdhouse- and was eating prey. I took photos through a window, but he was behind branches and, was, well . . . eating. I ended up sneaking out the back door and brazenly going out on the patio with my camera. He heard the door and flew to the top of one of the shepherd’s poles we have in the back. He looked at me, but didn’t seem to recognize me as the source of the noise. He looked all around, and I slunk back into the house. He is gone now.

My bird app tells me this is an immature Cooper’s hawk. I hesitate to post this, because I have had commenters argue back and forth about Cooper’s hawks vs. Sharp Shinned hawks. I will say we have had Cooper’s/Sharp-Shinned hawks in our yard many times over the years, but this is the first immature one I’ve seen.

Winter is Coming

Actually, winter is HERE- as most of the country can testify. Arizona has escaped the bomb cyclone of snow and below freezing temperatures, but rain and snow are now hitting the high country, with just rain here (so far). Fingers and toes crossed that the Phoenix area (where we will be meeting our kids) will be warmer and drier.

Good thoughts sent out to all those stranded due to flight cancellations!

Duck Hunting

We saw them! I’ve been reading about the two Mandarin Ducks spotted at Lynx Lake here in Prescott and went out just before Christmas (on icy trails!) to see them. No such luck. We had seen some in Alaska a few years ago, but this would be a first for us in Arizona. Today, thanks to some Phoenix photographers I met up with on the trail, we were able to find them and take photos. They are such pristinely beautiful birds!

Winter Solstice 2022

We were in Flagstaff last week- AFTER the big storm- for my annual knee replacement checkup. We took some time after the appointment to drive up to Snow Bowl to see how our favorite aspen viewing area looks in the winter. There were signs posted along the road to NOT STOP, but on our way back from the ski area there was absolutely no traffic going down the mountain, so we were able to pull over so I could take some shots out the window as we slowly drove by.

Today we celebrate the returning of the light- a huge thing for our Alaska family who will be joining us next week, along with our Southern California family. We will spend time in Scottsdale, which we hope will be light and relatively warm for our escapees from the dark and snow!

Happy Solstice!!!

Beach Patrol

Watching egrets on a southern California beach was new to us. We were used to seeing them in the marshes of the Bay Area, but watching them march through the waves on Newport Beach was a whole different experience. I took many more photos than I needed!

Sea Watch

This photo taken at Newport Beach tickles my funny bone and makes me smile. It’s even in the place of honor on my iPhone lock screen. If you have an appropriate caption for it, let me know!

Pelican Days

We took a quick, last minute trip to Southern California to visit our son’s family before Thanksgiving. We spent a couple days at Newport Beach, spending time each day at the beach and meeting up with the family for the evening. It was so relaxing to be back at one of our favorite spots! The weather was great, the beach not crowded, and we saw lots of beach birds. What was surprising to us as infrequent visitors was that the pelicans were on the beach, not just flying low over the water as we usually see them. We were closer to them than we ever can remember. One of the days we drove up to Huntington Beach, and as we walked on the pier, this fellow landed on the rooftop above us. Soon another joined him, and we had a great time pelican watching. I took so many photos that I not only had to change batteries, but ran out of room on my SD card!