Tuesday, 31 January 2012

I'm Liking the Lichen

Lichen only grows where the air quality is good so what could be better than finding it in your own yard?

This fascinating life form comes in so many shapes and shades,

each one is a unique, natural work of art.

Nature Notes hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

So Handsome

We are very lucky to have dozens of Saguaro Cacti in our yard that cover all age groups from ancients who have obviously been standing sentinel for several hundred years to tiny little babies that are still hiding from the sun under their nursery plant. There are only a couple of the Saguaros that we have given names to, so far - I know it sounds a little odd to give them names but they are all so unique.
There is a young one close to the back of the house that is very chubby, that became Cartman! Right outside the dining room is a very old one that bears the scars of many woodpecker inhabitants that has been christened Madala (an African term of respect for an older man) and next to it, growing up in its shadow is one that is probably only about fifty years old, that has become Junior.
And then there is Adonis, a saguaro that stands alone, further up the yard. It is quite magnificent, so perfect that it looks almost more like a model of a saguaro than the real thing!

Unlike some of the mature saguaros that are pockmarked with dozens of woodpecker holes, Adonis has only one or two to spoil the perfection. The limbs are straight and strong.

And it looks splendid no matter which angle you look at it from.

And like all top models, Adonis is very smooth. All those unsightly spines that younger cacti have to deter predators are gone to leave a perfectly smooth physique that will stand any number of close-ups!

And as the desert sun begins to set the beautiful Adonis is lit up to perfection.

What a magnificent specimen!

Nature Notes
hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Soaking up the Sun

Life can be hard in the cooler months of the year if you happen to be an ectotherm. That is probably why this little lizard was not going to give up his patch of warm sun even if a pesky lady kept pointing a camera at him!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Who's Watching Who?

If I sit quietly in the yard sometimes I feel as if I am being watched. If I look very carefully I realize that I am not being paranoid, I am being watched!

But if I stay still and quiet very often the watchers will make themselves known.

I guess they are just waiting to make sure that I am not a threat.

And when they realize that I mean no harm, they carry on about their business.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

A Lethal Beauty

My yard is usually alive with bird calls from sunrise to sunset. The constant fussing of the quails, the sweet chirruping of the Lesser Goldfinches, the raucous clatter of the Gila Woodpeckers and the bizarre rattling of the Road Runners, to name but a few. So when silence suddenly descends I know there must be a predator in their midst.

This magnificent hawk landed right in front of my kitchen window and I managed to grab my camera and get a couple of good shots before it flew off. Would the birding experts among you care to weigh in on the decision, is it a Sharp-shinned or a Coopers Hawk? I can't decide.

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