Not quite sure what happened last year, my blog kind of fizzled out. I'm taking another stab at it, we'll see how far we get. In previous years I have kicked off the new year with a 'Best of' from the previous twelve months. So here goes - The Best Of 2016.First off we'll go with our spineless friends, the inverts..................
I don't get many cicadas around but this one posed very obligingly and allowed me to get a fun, eye shot.
The next photo was not fun to watch but we mustn't interfere with the natural course of things. This is a tarantula hawk, it has just caught and paralyzed its prey and then proceeded to drag it away. Nature is harsh.
For the amphibians we have our regular representative, the fabulous Sonoran Desert Toad. He seemed quite delighted with the new fountain we installed and could be found sitting in it most evenings during the summer.
Our feathered friends continue to delight and as always I struggled to prune down the photos. This first little beauty is a Black-throated Sparrow. They have a beautiful call that sounds like a little bell.
At the other end of the scale is this lovely guy, just looking for a hug!
It's always a happy time when we hear the first Purple Martin call of the summer. We are very lucky that they choose to use the saguaros on our land to nest in each year.
We had a major power shift this year. For almost the entire time that we have owned the property the south west side of our house has been ruled with a rod of iron by a Broad-billed Hummingbird that we christened Twigman! This year the reign ended and he was succeeded by an even smaller tyrant. Here he is.
We didn't have a good year as far as snakes go, just a couple of sightings of a Coachwhip. We did have other reptile representation though. This was one of three Gila Monsters that we saw this year - not so rare for us apparently!
Something that made me laugh was this Desert Spiny Lizard who found some of the dried mango that had fallen from a bird feeder. He pounced on it and shook it before carrying it off.
The absolute highlight of the year was definitely this little Desert Tortoise who trundled up to our front door one afternoon. Our first! So exciting, it bought tears of joy to my eyes.
The plant stars are all about agaves this year. The first is purely sculptural
The second is another agave that decided to end it all this year by throwing up a flower stalk. Going out in a blaze of glory.
The landscape winners evoke a specific mood, firstly with silhouettes
And then secondly with a whole palette of colours.
The final group for the year is mammals and we have had some beauties this past twelve months. A first sighting of a jackrabbit was a great surprise.
I was very happy to see that one of our wildlife cameras finally captured a daylight picture of one of our beautiful Hog-nosed Skunks.
It won't win any prizes but I was delighted to finally get a photo of a pocket mouse at night with his cheeks filled with seed.
The new fountain has provided lots of great sightings and so we had to put a wildlife camera next to it. Look at these two lovelies.
Our Bobcat activity has been amazing this past year. They felt so at home that they bought their kittens to visit many times. This one loved sleeping under the bird bath on the back patio.
And here is Mom with her two youngsters walking past the kitchen window.
So there we are, another amazing year full of natures treasures. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing species. Long may it continue.