Summer Heat Relief

After enduring 50 days of 110 degree plus temperatures, it seemed like a good idea to head to higher ground.  The elevation at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is 8,000 feet, and that makes for a whole different world.  Ponderosa pines infuse the cool air and aspens rattle shimmering leaves in occasional breezes. Continue reading “Summer Heat Relief”

Startled by a Night Snake

I was out early watching for birds in a South Mountain wash when suddenly a small snake writhed and coiled right at my feet.  Sliding smoothly into a perfectly circular shape, it wove its head back and forth like a mini cobra, threatening me. What is it about snakes that scare us to pieces?  TheContinue reading “Startled by a Night Snake”

Saguaro: A Southwest Character

In late July or August, after the saguaro cactus has fed and housed countless species of insects, birds and mammals, its seeds fall finally to the desert floor where they wait for monsoon rains.  The season’s activity began back in February when Gila Woodpeckers and Gilded Flickers excavated holes in saguaros in preparation for nestingContinue reading “Saguaro: A Southwest Character”

Not Your Average Squirrel

It seems on any walk in the desert, I see a Harris’ Antelope Squirrel.  Usually the creature runs ahead of me, a tiny tattler scampering off to tell, there’s an intruder afoot!  Even in August, when heat lies heavy on the land, the Harris’ Antelope squirrel can be seen skittering toward the shelter of itsContinue reading “Not Your Average Squirrel”

Hares One For You

See how comfortably the Black-tailed Jackrabbit sits. This is a hare supremely adapted to desert life.  Enormous ears swivel, keyed for danger. He keeps a keen watch above for hunting owls and hawks. At the slightest breath of danger, the jackrabbit freezes, and his dun colors melt into the desert hues.  If a predator advances,Continue reading “Hares One For You”

Spectacular Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake

A morning in June, hiking in a rocky canyon, my wandering thoughts were broken by an insistent buzz. It sounded like seeds shaken in a gourd. The circular edges of the coiled snake caught my eye. So hidden, yet in plain sight. If she hadn’t warned me, I would have stepped within a foot of whereContinue reading “Spectacular Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake”