Friday, May 4, 2012

Still Ablaze

The internet is still ablaze after reading Cass' Ode a couple days ago. If you haven't done so yet, scroll down and read the screed that everyone is talking about. Indeed, things may never be the same...particularly how you feel about gymnosperms.

As for me, I'm exhausted, and my normally razor-sharp wit has been worn and weathered into a spongy and entirely uninteresting substance. That said, I do still have some bird photos that I think are worth tossing your direction. All photos today are from Agua Caliente Park.

Ash-throated Flycatchers are common in many habitats throughout the southwest. Although they are the drabbest (ashiest?) of the North American Myiarchus, you cannot help but want to be friends with them. 

California Quail have a plump and delicious air about them.

I really like the plume that sticks out of the foreheads of both Gambel's and California Quail. It is the jauntiest thing imaginable.

I don't know what kind of cholla this is, but I really like it. Such an inviting blossom attached to such brutality. If you haven't seen cholla, imagine what a porcupine would look like if it could assume plant form.

MacGillivray's Warblers are the brightly-colored treat that may or may not be lurking in the center of every shrub this time of year. Like it's cousins from Connecticut and it's other cousins in Mourning, they are adept at not being seen.  

I've been keeping eyes and ears fully popped and open for my first Swainson's Thrush of the year, but it has yet to materialize. Here is its commoner cousin, a Hermit Thrush. UPDATE: Right when this post was finished, I heard a distinctive, water-drop "Whit!" come from my backyard...looking out the door of my cabin, there was a Swainson's Thrush, perched upon the old Olympic racing boat that resides next to my cabin.

Phainopepla female. She's hot.

This male Phainopepla is a featureless black hole. Don't get too close, or you will be sucked in and spat out into some other universe...where Phainopeplas govern the laws of physics.

Bigelow's Monkeyflower may only be a few inches tall, but they bring the desert floor to life.

Dusky Flycatcher. I used to be hella good at telling Hammond's and Dusky apart, in the blink of an eye. Now, more often than not, trying to weave together the proper identification feels more like wiping my ass with stinging nettle. I don't hold it against the birds or anything though. almost was a good picture. Black-tailed Gnatcatcher.

Compared to chollas, Barrel Cactus appear friendly and hospitable. It's spines are much more springy compared to the spines of other cactus. Sometimes I want to hug them, but sobriety prevents me from doing so.


  1. Hang in there Seagull...for the birds if not your readers. It looks like the Ash-Throated Flycatchers (heavy smokers aren't they?) have all gone your way. I've gone like 3 weeks now without seeing them, and no, I haven't poked my eyes out in that same period of time.

    Great photos here. From the Quail with its bass clef head ornament to the Hermit Thrush, in all of its stoic secluded glory. I really appreciate you getting a picture of the MacGillivray's Warbler. I've spent a lot of time not looking at them or photographing them. It's nice to see someone take them down a peg.

    I wonder if, lurking behind that dreaded Phainopepla, where all things shall be compressed into one lovely, amalgamated singularity--like a United Colors of Bennetton initiative--hides that 'dark matter' stuff scientists have been sucking up all the grant money tying to find

    1. I think you are onto something with the Dark-mattered Silky-Flycatcher...

  2. I'd have to be more than a little tipsy to hug a Barrel Cactus, just a little less tipsy and I will chase cows off the road with a pool noodle though.

    Lovely work getting the McGillivray's warbler out in the open. I've tried bribing them to do that for me and they just laugh recklessly and dive back into the bushes.

    Please hang in there!

    1. Cows and pool noodles....that's not something I've tried. Would you recommend it?

  3. I'd probably go with giving the Barrel Cactus a high-five before moving on to the hug...Great photos you've shared!

  4. first time visiting your blog; you take great pictures; enjoyed the California Quail; where we used to live we had a family of them (or whatever they call their groups that hang out together). Always so much fun to see them and their babies in the springtime.

    enjoy the day!


    1. Betty, quail flocks are usually referred to as "coveys", and yes, having them around is certainly life-enriching. Thanks for the kind words!