Sunday, 24 June 2012

Monsoon Memories

In spite of one, most welcome, unseasonal deluge a couple of weeks ago we are now firmly in the grip of a toasty desert summer. I am not looking for sympathy, I love my desert home but sometimes when the thermometer threatens to go past the highest digit it is quite soothing to think of cooler, damper times.

For a desert in a typical year we get a relatively high annual rainfall, in fact almost the maximum amount (10 inches) allowed to still classify as a desert. Death Valley we are not! And like my previous home in Africa the build-up to the rains and the joy when they finally arrive is shared by all species.

The build-up can be cruel, weeks and weeks of dark clouds and rumbling thunder without a drop of rain falling but finally it gets to us.

This little guy sat on an agave throughout an entire heavy rain storm without moving, seeming to revel in the sensation. I was fascinated to see at the end of the storm his feathers were barely damp, the tiny drop on his beak is the only clue.

Not satisfied with just the raindrops, some beautiful Lesser Goldfinches found one of our downpipes and really went to town having a full-on shower!

So as we swelter and all the animals hide from the heat, we know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Or should that be rain at the end of the rainbow?

Nature Notes hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Quail Time

While it has been a great year for the Saguaro Blossoms and would appear to have been a good year for lizards, for some reason it has not been a good year for quail. At this time of year we would expect to see masses of young quail trotting around behind Mom but they are noticeably scarce. Many females have no young at all and the ones that do have two or three rather than five or six babies. Did the warmer weather bring their natural predators out earlier? Did the cold snap in spring affect the eggs at a vital stage? No one seems to have a definitive answer. One thing I do know, one poor year shouldn't threaten this particular species! They are not exactly scarce. So in recognition of these endearing characters who bustle and fuss around our yard 24/7 I picked out a few of my favorite pictures.

Nature Notes hosted by Michelle at Rambling Woods
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