My backyard is currently a hive of activity. It’s just past 3pm here in Tempe and the temperature is about 96 degrees. As a break from grading, I’m sitting on my back patio watching the avian world unfold. A splendid male Great-tailed Grackle (Quicalus mexicanus) has been noisily courting two females on the lawn and seems to have achieved two matings. One of the three female Black-chinned Hummingbirds (Archilochus alexandri) we have nesting in our trees has taken possession of our feeder (and the nearby flowering agave) and is very active in defending it from all comers – including a male Anna’s Hummingbird (Calypte anna) that is loitering around. All the while, House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) are brawling and the Abert’s Towhees (Pipilo aberti) are foraging somewhat nervously.
Then there is the Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata) that is flitting around, the big old Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa) that is a little alarming, and the leafcutter bee (Megachilidae) that is currently carrying pieces of leaves into a hole in my patio floor.
Some days – grading aside – it is just wonderful to be alive.