One of the birds I hoped to see after we moved to Arizona was the phainopepla (pronounced fay-no-PEP-la) but after not seeing one for months I thought it was unlikely. In October I got some distant looks at a black bird with white under its wings and after hitting my field guides realized I had finally seen one of these silky flycatchers. It took a bit longer to see them up close but in late November I got a long look at this female early one morning on the Marcus Landslide Trail. Yesterday I got a long look at a male, they were thick as thieves around the desert, but this morning it was cold and windy and I didn’t see a one. According to one of my guide books they should be common from now until early spring so I’m looking forward to our next meeting.
Verdin remind me of ketchup and mustard with their yellow heads and red shoulders. On this summer morning there was an extra dose of red as one of the diminutive birds perched to feed on an open saguaro fruit.
Early on a summer morning, a white-winged dove uses its tongue to eat from deep within the fruit of a saguaro. The red covering many of the spines atop the cactus is not blood but rather pulp and juice from already-eaten fruit.
A cactus wren sings amidst mostly eaten fruit atop a saguaro on the Latigo Trail. Its feathers were looking rather ragged, understandably so, it had just raised its young in the harsh desert environment.