The whole point of this blog was to only photograph flora and fauna that ventured onto our land and despite a number of temptations I have stuck to it. To close up the year I have picked out one or two favourites from the last twelve months.
To start the ball rolling we will do Reptiles, this was a tough one but in the end I had to go with this glorious male Desert Spiny Lizard that I spotted sleeping in a tree one night during the monsoons.
A natural progression from here of course is to Amphibians, something I really didn't expect to find in the middle of the desert but again the rains provided and the monster that turned up in our yard was truly impressive - A Sonoran Desert Toad.
Next the Mammals and, despite some serious and far bigger competition, there could really be only one - my favourite cheeky little visitor, the Antelope Ground Squirrel :)
And on to Birds (sorry no fish!) Again I have gone for attitude rather than scale and so the 'mighty' Broadbilled Hummingbird is the avian representative.
The Invertebrate lovers amongst us will cry foul but I am not going to do a representative from every group, two stars will suffice, for colour the Flame Skimmer is my choice.
And for grand scale the somewhat daunting Arizona Blonde Tarantula
I couldn't possibly do a 'best of' without some Cactus representation and the king of them all is the mighty saguaro. Rather than the classic arms akimbo shot I went for something a little more intimate
I love photographing cacti when the sun is sinking, the soft light against the severity of the spines is such a great contrast and none highlight that better than the fearsome cholla
So animal, vegetable or mineral (they are all gems after all!) these are some of my favourite sights from 2011.
Happy New Year everyone.