Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Leslies Friends

I had a couple of young friends over the other morning. They gave me a hand in filming some of the birds that stop by for breakfast every morning. I added some footage of "Henery" the Coopers Hawk. Thank you for your help with this video Tristen and Kayla.

Friday, December 4, 2009

So Long Agave

Sadly the Agave did not survive the snout beetle feast. It was sad to have to see it go. I decided to replace it with a very cool mutant Barrel cactus, and a couple of Cholla's. They really seem to ad a lot more color to the pond area. Clicking the image will get you the zoomed in version. Thanks for peeking in!

Home Is Where the Hawk Is

These last few weeks have been good for getting pictures of Henery. He sat on the rail and let out a screech while preparing to pounce on a finch.

He is getting more brazen and less bothered by the paparazzi everyday.

He loves to park his tail feathers in the pond.

I guess while hunkered down like this in the water he must feel somewhat camouflaged enough to surprise a feathered morsel coming in for a drink. And there he will sit for up to an hour at a time watching the yard like a .......hey.......I guess he's doing his job and watching the yard like a Hawk. Oh Henery your simply awesome thanks for beautifying my yard.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Breakfast Interuptus

Early in the morning my yard is totally abuzz with all kinds of winged visitors. That is of course until Henery the Coopers Hawk swoops down to see what the breakfast special of the day is. He came down this morning sending all of the quail and doves fleeing in every direction. The finch and sparrows however duck for cover into the ruellia bush. There must have been at least fifty finches and sparrows huddled in the bush this morning when I snapped this shot of Henery licking his beak. I kept trying to move in slowly for a closer shot, but I did not want to send the finches fleeing, as surely one would have been nabbed. As Henery stared down into the bush, you could see the bush trembe and shake. As I tried to position myself for a shot, Henery decided that I was probably more trouble than a little finch breakfast was worth, so he took off.

Under the feeder and over the pond,

we gathered together to sing so long,

to the Agave on which we love to rest.

That brutal snout weevil,

is one hell of a pest!

That was my little Ode to a sick Agave. A sad occurrence has landed in my yard. My large agave (pictured here) is in critical condition, and may not survive. That horrible agave grub infestation in Mexico that has driven up the Tequila prices, has made its way up here to the outskirts of Tucson. I just lost two Yuccas as well. Some websites say that once the grub gets inside and the leaves start dying, its all over for the plant. Yet when I spoke to a specialist at Mesquite Valley Nursery, he gave me a bit of hope, as he said that after treating the soil there is a chance the Agave will survive. We will just have to wait and see. This pic looks way better normal size so click on it. Thanks for stopping and popping on in.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Toad Lickers Caution

This weeks Illustration Friday challenge is "Caution". The poison toad in my last post gave me the idea for this animated illustration. I was wondering what type of hallucinations would go through a Colorado River Toads mind if he gave himself a bath like a cat. Use every ounce of caution you can muster up around these toxic toads.

Toadlicker's Treasure

The folks around here are pretty familiar with this guy. He's a Colorado River Toad. These toads have a toxin in their skin that can be fatal to dogs, or any other animal who tries to make a meal of them. Humans however have been know to lick these toads to reach some psychotropic state. Me, I think I'll pass thanks.

Speaking of psychotropic states. I think I heard stories of folks ingesting Jimson Weed for a mind bending experience. I'll pass on that buzz as well. This little patch of Jimson Weed invaded the middle of my yard last year and I cut it way back to nothing last fall. I allowed it to come in again this year, as its blossoms are so beautiful.

Spectacular Sunsets

Monsoon season is definitely my favorite time of year.

The thirsty desert drinks in the rainfall...

and I drink in the beauty of the multi-colored skyscapes.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Summer Roundup

Well, looking back on my last post date, it appears that this blog has been become rather stale from sitting on the back burner for so long. I’ve had my hands full of all kinds of stuff. I figured I’ll jump back in and post a bit of a summer roundup. I dug through the shots I took over the last couple of months and picked out a handful to share.
This place got pretty wild earlier this season. A friend of mine was walking her dog across the wash behind my yard when they were attacked by a small pack of Javalina’s. My friend escaped unscathed, but her dog succumbed to an infection from a puncture wound. The dog was given antibiotics, yet he still sadly passed. It was a sad note for starting off the summer. Then one late afternoon I was sitting out on the patio when I saw a Bobcat mosey on by right on the other side of the fence. I t would have been awesome to have had my camera with me at the time. The cat later decided to prowl about in a neighbor’s yard who managed to get some shots of the varmint before he disappeared. A few days later I gazed over towards the golf course and some big critter caught the corner of my eye. At first glance I knew it was too large to be a dog. At second glance the next critter that came to mind was “moose” (flashbacks from life in Alaska, I guess). Then after getting my eyeballs targeted in I realized I was watching a family of deer out on the green. I think they wanted to play through.
I bought a couple of bird feeders, and have been tossing out seed every morning around the crack of dawn. Now the word seems to have gotten out to every bird in the valley that breakfast is getting served up here daily. Mornings now remind me of a few of the scenes from Alfred Hitchcocks “The Birds”. It’s pretty much been the usual cast of characters, and the baby Quail chicks are as darling as ever. I think Henery found a spouse. She parked out on the wall long enough for me to get a shot. I call her “The Bride of Henery”. I’ve also been getting more frequent visits from an Oriole. Any how I hope you enjoy your visit and some of the pics. Click on the deer shots if you want to see their larger version

Here is the Altamira Oriole stopping in at the waterfall.

I did some poking around, but I could not identify this bird who explored my patio. I'm wondering if it is some sort of Flycatcher.

Oh Deer!

More Deer!

Even more Deer!

I'd like to introduce you to "The Bride of Henery".

About a week and a half ago, up popped the tallest thunder head I ever did see.

Its anvil covered a huge chunk of the sky.

A really cool looking Dragonfly was gracious enough to sit still while I got off a nice shot.

A pair of Morning dove fledglings decided to make my bakers rack their little home away from home. The shelves are not to far underneath their nest, and the pair of youngins decided to spend the better part of the afternoon checking out the backyard from their little balcony. They did not freak out from my presence. In fact they did not even get flustered when I moved a pot a bit closer to one of them so he could chill in its shadow.

When Henery the Hawk swoops down to see whats on the menu, all of the birds, reptiles, and other critters, either bolt, or freeze. He swung down the other day and this little squirrel hit the deck and froze till he figured the Hawk threat had passed.

When he's not frozen in terror, he can be seen literally "hightailing it" throughout the yard.
Well that's about it for the summer roundup so far. I drew the illustration of the Daylily at the top of this post in honer of the pot full of Lily's blooming outside as we speak.
Thanks for popping in!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Faux Falls

Every now and then I need to completely dry out the pond to clean it out. I worried about cutting off the water supply to all the critters who drink out of it throughout the day. The last time I dried it out I made a couple of small watering holes with garbage bags and gravel. Last week I found this little self contained artificial waterfall at a garage sale, and figured it would be a nice auxiliary water source. It took the doves and quail a little while to try it out, but the finches and woodpeckers adapted instantly. I shoved a bunch of natural rocks up in and around it to make it look more natural for the thirsty visitors.

When I moved out here I figured I'd traded in all my squirrels for rabbits, but I had a squirrel in my yard a couple of weeks ago.

One of the fledglings from the nest above my back patio, took his first decent into the world below today. I was out on the patio getting ready to set something up on my shelf, when I noticed this little guy using the shelf as a launch pad. I didn't spook him because he's kinda used to peering down at me from the nest. I'm happy he sat still long enough to pose.

Here is a shot of a Quail sitting atop the faux falls.

This is the second time I've spotted a Coachwhip in my yard. These have the most beautiful coral colored scales. Their body is mostly a combination of black pink and white, while their heads are mostly black. I was able to get a shot of the same species year before last. He was about twice the size of the one posted above. I posted a shot of him over here. Although they are not venomous, you don't really want to tangle with these. From what I hear they can be quite aggressive when trying to defend themselves. They are extremely swift, hence the name "Coachwhip". Oh yeah, also I posted a larger version of this image, just click on the picture for the larger version. Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Let Me In!

I was just fixen myself a cup of coffee when I heard a rapping on my window. I think this guy was checking up on me to make sure I was brewing "shade grown coffee".

This little guy decided to knock as well. The batteries on my camera had gotten low, so I missed the shot when he was up scratching on the window trying to get in. Silly wabbit!

Friday, April 24, 2009

April Roundup

Whew! Its been a long time since I've posted anything here. I've gotten pretty far behind. I've been deeply steeped in left brained endeavors, and up to my eyeballs in javascript and css. Not only has my blog been neglected, but I have not had enough time to pay a visit to all of my other favorite nature blogs. Perhaps this weekend.
I uploaded a bunch of shots taken around the yard in the last couple of weeks. This morning I looked up on my plant shelf and spotted a dozen dinky freshly hatched Praying Mantis's. These guys are only about the size of a sunflower seed.

I wonder how long they will make it before the tweets catch on to them and have them for lunch.

In an earlier post, I mentioned leaving the old dead honeysuckle wood up in tact for the little visitors. These Finches seem to be pleased with the decision.

A handful of my Lilly's have bloomed. This is a shot of a bud fixing to unfurl.

Here is a pair of Lilly's that have bloomed already.

The Mexican Primroses are in full bloom to.

This is my favorite Opuntia. They call it a "Dinner Plate Opuntia". Makes sense, as the pads are so big and nearly perfectly round.

Here is a close up of the Opuntia's blossom.

I'm not certain what species this bird is. Its not a real common visitor to my yard.

Here he is getting ready for a sip.

I sure wish this shot came out a bit better, but then again I'm happy to have it at all. I believe its a Vermilion Flycatcher. I was able to get a shot of one way back when I started my blog. I think it was in my very first post.
As always thank you for your visit.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oregon Blooms

Last week I took a trip up to Oregon to visit with the kin folk and celebrate my mom's birthday. We all stayed at my sisters house in Grants Pass. That area is absolutely gorgeous this time of year. I decided to snap off some shots of some of the local color. I lived in Oregon a few years back, and despite its beauty, I decided to migrate down to the Sonoran desert. I guess I've grown hopelessly addicted to sunshine. That is of course until monsoon season rolls in when I become enamored with the breathtaking skyscapes.

Grants Pass was spectacular with all of the Cherries and Plums abloom. I decided to post a larger version of the plum blossoms. If you click on the picture above you can see the larger version.

I'm not really sure what type of wild flower this is that was growing in my Sisters yard. It certainly has a feminine look to it.

Now I know times are getting tough, but I guess in Grants Pass they actually have to give away the air in order to sell tires. It was a lovely visit, yet I'm happy to be back down in the sunshine.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Morning Dove Momma

My how they grow up so fast. This dove has decided to raise her family in the rafters of my front porch. I also have a nest up in the back patio. I just discovered these chicks a couple of days ago, and decided to snap this shot this morning. There was a mother dove camped out here last year who raised a handful of youngins. I think she perished in the talons of the Coopers Hawk. She left behind an orphan that had just matured enough to fend for herself. I called her Annie. Annie was the only dove who did not mind my presence too awfully bad. As all of the other doves bolted off when I went outside, Annie had a hard time figuring out what all the fuss was about. I wrote about Annie last summer after she collided with one of my windows. I gave her bread and water for a couple of days while she recovered under the Honeysuckle. She used to be quite the loner, but now I believe she has found a mate. I cant help but wonder if this sweet momma is Annie.