Saturday, July 12, 2014
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Friday, June 20, 2014
This morning, standing at the kitchen window at dawn, I saw a cluster of four white-winged doves on the wall. At first I thought it was two adults feeding two chicks, but then realized it was one extremely patient adult feeding THREE very demanding chicks. I finally sorted it out, and believe it was mama or papa, two recently-fledged chicks, and one nearly full-grown chick from the previous clutch. I’ve always known white-wingeds were good parents, but had no idea they would continue to feed a fledgling until it was nearly full grown!
I do not have pictures of the incident, but here are nestling doves in the carport from a previous year.
These homely little guys will grow up to look like this beauty:
Monday, June 02, 2014
We saw other beautiful flowers, and a number of birds, including “the usual suspects” (Gambel’s quail, cactus wrens, white-winged doves, verdins, and Bell’s vireo, common here in the warm weather). We also saw, at the top of big nest high in an ash tree, the fuzzy white head of a baby Cooper’s hawk. We’d been wondering if the nest was active, and now we know! In addition we saw desert spiny, whiptail, and zebratail lizards, and one smallish diamondback that was waiting patiently near a mouse hole in the ground.
At the back of the Riparian area, a trichocereus was in bloom:
In the same area we cooled off by watching one of my favorite fountains, the Pot Wall.
Friday, May 09, 2014
I love late spring in the Sonoran Desert. There is so much beauty now. Here are three things in particular that I look forward to from year to year, and cherish every second that they are here:
1. Palo Verde trees in bloom. Throughout the city of Tucson and in the surrounding desert, everywhere you look there is a sea of yellow blossoms.
2. White-winged doves on saguaros. The beautiful white-winged dove spends the winter in Mexico, then flies up here in springtime to feed on saguaro blossoms and fruit. The most iconic image of the Sonoran desert is a white-winged dove atop a saguaro. (In this photo the dove is accompanied by a Gila woodpecker and a bee.)
3. Baby Gambel’s quail. These adorable little guys start showing up in April and provide continuing entertainment and beauty well into summer.
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
The trichocereus is in my opinion the most beautiful of all the cactus flowers. Usually, one or two cacti will bloom at a time, but yesterday I saw a mass bloom of dozens of tricho’s in a garden at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. It was so stunning it took my breath away. I’ve already posted these photos elsewhere, but thought I’d give everyone a chance to look at them.
Monday, April 14, 2014
I have told you before about the beautiful Pipevine swallowtail butterfly (see Butterfly Sex Notes) that lays its eggs on leaves of the pipevine.
Soon the eggs hatch into a beautiful, though toxic caterpillar (it picks up toxins from the pipevine leaves).
Eventually, the caterpillar matures and creates a chrysalis in which to pupate. This is so cool! First, it places some silk on the twig (or in this case wall) as a base, then it spins the chrysalis, attaching the top part to the wall with a noose made out of silk!