First off plants, well sort of. One fungus, one lichen and one old friend that I wanted to commemorate before he returned to the earth.
This fungus literally popped up over night during the rains and it just struck me as so incongruous in the middle of the desert.
I am a sucker for lichens, they are so fascinating and take so many different forms. It makes me inordinately happy to have them flourishing in my yard.
My old friend is an ancient saguaro skeleton who often keeps me company as I watch the sun slide below the horizon. He is a very good listener so I wanted to include him even though, strictly speaking, he is no more.
And so onto those without backbone. I know my entomologist friends will feel jipped that I have clumped so many thousands into one but hey, my blog, my rules :)
This Ant Lion was right outside my front door one morning. It's a good job I took the photo when I did because five minutes later when I checked on him he was being devoured by a spider!
For many bugs are the stuff of nightmares and when you see this character you can kind of understand why! This is a Robber Fly and he is pretty much as nasty as he looks!
Mammals next. For cuteness it is hard to beat the diminutive Pocket Mouse. This one had just finished hoovering up crumbs from a granola bar that Dominick had eaten. Check out his stuffed little cheek pouches!
I have always maintained that the Harris's Antelope Squirrel was my favourite mammal but this little fellow runs a very close second. The Round Tailed Ground Squirrel is a very shy character and it took me hours of patience to get this shot.
For reptiles I have chosen the same individual as last year, just because she is so beautiful. This is Stumpy, our resident Gopher Snake.
A new entry in the reptilian arena this year and an absolute gem was this gorgeous Western Banded Gecko who ventured out one night during the monsoon season when I was lucky enough to be around.
The amphibian division is represented once again by the statuesque Sonoran Desert Toad. This particular individual decided to take a swim in my pool so I had to fish him out and rinse him off. Hopefully he didn't absorb too much chlorine.
And so finally to our feathered friends (fish don't really show up too often in my yard unless they are on our barbecue - sorry ichthyologists!) First off the terror of the skies for all the little birds, our friendly neighbourhood Coopers Hawk who likes to sit outside my kitchen window looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. Until you notice the feather belonging to his last victim attached to his beak!
And of course the true tyrant of my yard - The Broad-billed Hummingbird who reminds us all at every opportunity just who this land really belongs to.........
I have mentioned many times how much I enjoy photographing the Thrashers and this is one of my favourite photos of them this year.
Another personal favourite, the Pyrrhuloxia a wonderful subject to photograph
So that is it, another year in review. I hope that 2013 is filled with everything you wish for and don't forget to look at the wonderful world around you, it will never fail to astound.
HAPPY NEW YEAR.