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”

Quirky Quails

What’s more charming than a Gambel’s Quail? The male’s ringing call and the constant back and forth clucking of the family group is fabric of the desert.  A somewhat comic and vulnerable image is belied by the bird’s regal attitude.   A quail family with twelve fledglings has been visiting our back yard to drinkContinue reading “Quirky Quails”

Colorful Kingbird of May

This elegant bird began hanging around the backyard in the middle of May.  She surveyed the area from our agave stalk, drank at the fountain, and perched in the Palo Verde tree out back.  Never having noticed this bird before I had to check my field guides. We had a Western Kingbird! An acrobatic flier,Continue reading “Colorful Kingbird of May”