Friday, 26 April 2013


I normally see Gilded Flicker around the yard, perched on top of a Saguaro or drilling holes in the power poles. Today was a rare treat, he came in and had a good meal at the peanut feeder which is the first time I have seen him come into the feeders ever. Then he took a good long drink at the bird bath before flying off.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Natural Perfection

The desert excels at beautiful sunsets but occasionally it really outdoes itself and this was one such night. With the Saguaros standing guard the sun slid slowly behind the horizon, sending a magical shaft of light into the clouds as the evening settled in.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Doing Our Bit

Recently when we purchased some cactii from our favourite supplier he gave us a free baby Saguaro. We had planted all the other plants and were undecided about where to put the little Saguaro. When small, these cactii need a shade plant to grow under to protect them from the harshest of desert sun until they get bigger and stronger. We have an old Saguaro skeleton half way up our land that is a favourite sundown spot for us and so it came to me, why not plant the new Saguaro near to it? There is a mesquite tree that will fill the role of shade plant perfectly and, all things being equal, in about one hundred and fifty years we will have replaced our fallen friend. Nothing like planning ahead!

Friday, 19 April 2013


There are many species that enjoy snacking on the quail block and they are not all feathered. I was fortunate to catch this sweet moment one afternoon, a Round-tailed Ground Squirrel and a Cottontail both munching contentedly away side by side.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Swimming Companion

We recently had our pool redone and it seems that it meets with the approval of our neighbours. This wasp demonstrates its mastery of surface tension to take a drink. I have to confess it is a little daunting sharing a pool with these guys though.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Oh So Handsome.

I mean seriously is there anything more beautiful than the flamboyant Pyrrhuloxia especially when cast against a perfect, clear blue desert sky. My old friend the saguaro skeleton provides a perfect perch.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Ophidian Beauty Revisited

OK, OK I know I am in a minority here but I am always delighted when I find a snake in my yard and I have a particular fondness for this little individual. This stunning Western Lyre Snake has previously tried to sneak into the house. But on this occasion he was just trundling along outside the dining room window . The Lyre Snake is mildly venomous and back-fanged but that is not as scary as it sounds. In fact back-fanged snakes really have to have a good chew to envenomate their prey. I have free handled this snake and it was as relaxed and mellow as any of the captive bred snakes I have at work. I know that is not for everyone but what I am trying to say is that snake does not have to equate to instant death (for the snake or you!) or terror!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


When you are a small Round-tailed Ground Squirrel you are on many critters menus so heightened alertness and cryptic colouring are essential requirements for survival. Look how perfectly this little guy blends in with his surroundings.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Say Cheese!

You know I have a great fondness for herps and way up on the list is the enigmatic Desert Spiny Lizard. This big one was enjoying some warm early morning sun when I intruded on his personal time for a photo. What do you think he's saying?

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Nature Red in Beak and Talon

If you commit to providing a balanced environment for all species then you have to accept the natural process of species living off other species. Sometimes it is not pretty, often it is hard to watch but what it does mean is that you have a healthy ecosystem around you. Predators are rare and prey profuse and the struggle for survival is a constant. On this morning the Sharp-shinned Hawk won the struggle and the Mourning Dove did not.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

All Grown Up Now

This is the last picture I took of the Thrasher babies in the nest, the next morning the nest was empty. I did check around the nest for signs of predation and found nothing so I have to assume (and hope) that they flew the nest. I did notice a pair of adults coming to the feeders during the day and flying back to the same hackberry bush so I suspect that they were still feeding the fledglings.
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