Late Summer Birds and Critters

I was able to get out a couple times this week for walks with Scarlett.  And one morning I got up really early to bird in Moriarty.

On one morning I stopped in at the duck ponds at Tingley Beach.  I hadn’t been there in a while.  I only had about 30 minutes to walk around.  There were quite a few birds, but most we too camera shy.  I did manage to get a Blue Grosbeak photo though he was deep in the shadows.


Blue Grosbeak


I was surprised to see a snail on the trail.  Now those of you that live in humid areas probably don’t get too excited about snails.  But here in the desert, they are a real treat to see.  All the monsoon rains must have brought it out of hiding.


One of my favorite things to see every summer is the Japanese Beetle.  I think they are so beautiful.  I can always count on seeing them on these blossoms.


Japanese Beetles

But the biggest surprise of the short walk, was getting very  close to a Green Heron.  They are usually so shy at the duck ponds.  As soon as you see them they will fly to the far side of the pond or out to the island in the middle. This particular heron let me get within 5 feet of him.  I had to lean over and peer through cattails, but I did get a pretty nice photo before he decided he had enough of me.


Green Heron

A few days ago I drove out to my favorite spot in Moriarty – Valley Irrigation Road.  I hadn’t been out there in months.  I only stayed out about an hour.  Work has still been so busy.  But even in that short time, I saw quite a few nice birds.

First I saw a Western Kingbird and House Sparrow enjoying the morning sun.


Western Kingbird


House Sparrow

Soon after I saw a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.  I love these tiny little birds.


Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

In this same area I also saw a House Wren and a very elusive and fast Wilson’s Warbler.


House Wren


Wilson’s Warbler

Further down the road, I saw several Swainson’s Hawks.  Most flew before I got anywhere near them.  But I did get closer to one for a photo before it flew away.


Swainson’s Hawk

At Otto Pond I saw lots of sparrows and finches enjoying all the sunflowers and corn plants.


Otto Pond area on Valley Irrigation Road

I had a very cooperative House Finch.


House Finch

And saw lots of sparrows.


Brewer’s Sparrow


Clay-Colored Sparrow


Chipping Sparrow

I even saw a hummingbird enjoying all those beautiful sunflowers.


Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Around home I’ve encountered a few interesting things.  I have a lot of lizards around my home.  This particular guy was enjoying the warm sun in my backyard.  It’s not often you get to see that gorgeous blue throat.


Striped Plateau Lizard

A new batch of Two-Tailed Swallowtail butterflies must have hatched.  Because I’ve seen quite a few of them in my yard these last few days.  A few lingered long enough for photos.


Two-Tailed Swallowtail


Pretty on  my petunias!

While walking Scarlett in the neighborhood, we came across a 5-foot long bull snake snoozing behind the back tires of my car.  It had recently eaten, as you can tell by the thick middle.


Bull Snake

It was determined to stay by my  car.  So I picked it up to move it safely off the road.  It needed to get hidden so no one would kill it.  Bull snakes are great for rodent control.  But some people think they need to kill all snakes.  When I picked it up, I soon realized it was a long as I was tall which made it over 5 feet long!


This snake was very tame.  I’ve found most bull snakes are.

Once safely off the road, I tried to take some more photos, but it wasn’t interested in that.  I managed to get a couple before it quickly disappeared.


Bull Snake

I took a photo of Scarlett while walking this morning.  She’s modeling her new blue sparkly collar with a pretty flower.  🙂


Scarlett modeling her new collar.

My Canyon Towhee’s had a late batch of babies.  I noticed this one was hanging out in the seed dish.  He sat very still, I’m sure hoping I didn’t see him.


Baby Canyon Towhee

And there are still lots of Lesser Goldfinches hanging out in my yard.


Lesser Goldfinch

In my garden, I’ve been seeing a lot of praying mantis.  I think they are my most favorite insect.  This one was enjoying my squash plant.


Praying Mantis

That’s about it for the past week or so.  I hope you’re enjoying your summer!














8 thoughts on “Late Summer Birds and Critters

  1. Hi, Kelly, I have to echo your other respondents. Great post and great photos. I love that little snail, or is it a large one.LOL. And your little house fince is a cutie.

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