Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Not As Bad As It Looks

This is a tailless whip scorpion and despite its name, it is not going to do you any harm. If you mess with it, the worst it can do is pinch you with those spiky pedipalps. It belongs to an order of invertebrates called amblypigids which means 'blunt rump.' Rather personal I would say but it is merely to highlight the lack of tail.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

My Outdoor Cat

I don't have a cat, don't want to keep an animal permanently indoors and I certainly don't want to deal with the carnage it would cause on the local species if I let it outside so I'll 'make do' with the natural equivalent! I love the fact that we have a healthy balance of predators and prey on our land and what is not to love about this beautiful young bobcat?

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Ethereal Beauty

I took this photo a few weeks ago, not sure how I missed posting it but better late than never. The many scars from countless impacts on the moons surface are so clear.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Yes, It's Another Sunset Shot

I never tire of watching the ever changing desert skies and when it puts on displays like this, is it any surprise?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Not my best hummingbird shot but I just loved the feather details on this little lady.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Safe Harbour

Hunting season is in full swing around us, so nature adapts. The first big buck with a full rack appeared on my neighbours land so, by my own rules for this blog, I couldn't include it. However a few days later they started hanging out on our land, safe in the knowledge that they would not be harassed or shot at.

They spend their days sleeping in the shade of a mesquite tree and then in the evening they browse on the prickly pear fruit and the barrel cactus fruit. Stay as long as you like guys, it is great to have you around.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

How Do They Do That?

You can't follow this blog without realising I love cactii. I suppose in all honesty it is a bit of a love hate thing because it really doesn't matter how careful you are when doing yard work, sooner or later you will get spiked, stabbed or pierced. But hey, that is what tweezers were invented for right? One of the things I love most about these armoured beauties is their ability to grow in the most impossible of places. Like this one, a pile of rocks with a teaspoon of soil (and when I say soil, that is a pretty generous term, I am sure gardeners in most other places would consider our soil to be one step removed from building rubble!) and yet here is this Barrel Cactus flourishing.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Nemesis No More

I have known there are Rock Wrens around the yard for a while now but my goodness are they elusive! Well I finally caught one foraging around amongst some rocks (surprise, surprise!) and after having taken several shots of a blurred blob hopping out of frame I finally got a couple of decent shots. Very satisfying.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Did You See This?

My husband had strolled up and down this particular path in our yard a couple of times before I got to it on this particular day. People sometimes ask, how did you see that? and when it comes to sleeping snakes it is usually not so much a case of seeing the snake exactly, more like seeing something is different. So when I came to walk up the path, I noticed an unusually brown rock on the border. Oh hello! Did you see this? What? I won't tell you what my husband said when I pointed it out but I bet you can guess!

This little beauty stayed put all day, even when a couple of quail almost tripped over it and didn't slide off until after dark when a second rattler cruised past. I am thinking these will probably be the last two snakes I will see for the season.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

New Moon and Saguaro

The desert landscape never fails to impress. Can you see the tiny new moon?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Hello Kitty

I watched this beautiful young Bobcat outside my bedroom window, carefully stalking birds under the feeders. Unfortunately it didn't get a meal, from it's lean physique its looks as though it needed one. Better luck next time little one.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cool Down.

The debate continues as to whether this is a Coopers or a Sharp-shinned Hawk that frequents the trees outside my kitchen window but either way it is a beautiful creature. I was lucky enough to catch it cooling down the other morning - perfect photo op.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

The Witching Hour Is Upon Us

I can't believe that Halloween is here again already and it is time for me to go through this years photos and pick out some 'spooky monsters'. Of course, as you know, I don't consider any of these critters to be spooky, gross, scary or nasty. I think they are all amazing and part of a wonderful and fascinating ecosystem but in the spirit of the occasion, here are this years selection.

Happy Halloween everyone.


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Knock, Knock, Who's There?

When stepping out of the door it is always advisable to check who is on the doorstep. This beautiful little Red-spotted Toad was sitting on the doormat. Now that is the kind of trick or treater I like.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


Another new species that has appeared on our land this monsoon season is mythical indeed, the Desert Unicorn! How cool is that? I never expected to have unicorns for neighbours. This strange plant develops a large tuber underground and when the rains come they grow leaves, lovely yellow flowers and the long curved fruits that give them their name.

Sunday, 19 October 2014


The Great-horned Owls have been very active around our land recently. Most nights there are three or four of them calling back and forth. This one flew down to the saguaro next to our bar-b-que and kept a very close eye on my husband while he was cooking. Perhaps he was hoping for a steak!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Prince Charming

I still find it quite remarkable to see amphibians in the desert but it is just another highlight of the monsoon season. This beauty is a Sonoran Desert Toad and he seems to thoroughly approve of the new little pond we have put in our back yard.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Slime Mould - Who Knew!

We have had a pretty good monsoon season this year. Thanks in no small part to hurricanes Norbert and Odile. This has meant the desert is very green going into fall, there are lots of happy healthy birds, reptiles and mammals around and a profusion of bugs of every type. In addition there are some more unusual organisms appearing like this totally bizarre slime mould. They appeared over night and looked very similar to round scoops of vanilla ice cream, quite fascinating.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Partly Peeled

Shedding for lizards isn't the 'one and done' process of snakes, it's all bits and pieces as illustrated perfectly by this Zebra-tailed Lizard.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Just Passing Through

We have a particularly handsome coyote that passes through our land on an almost daily basis. Sometimes I see him in person and sometimes he is captured trotting past one of our wildlife cameras.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Still Liking The Lichen

Another of the little details that I love, the palette of colours provided by lichen clad rocks.

Sunday, 28 September 2014


It is those little private moments that the wildlife camera is so great for. Admittedly they are not the greatest of photos but considering it was pitch dark outside they aren't so bad. Our regular pack of Javalinas has gotten a little bigger of late with the arrival of these two little charmers. Baby Javalinas are called Reds and they characteristically feed from the behind their mother as seen here.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

I Feel So Foolish

I am very familiar with cicadas. When I lived in Zambia we could set our watch by the cicadas that cranked up at the exact same time every day to a deafening level. In Chicago we have the dog day cicadas as well as the 17 year eruption. But I have to confess I have absolutely no recollection of hearing a cicada in Tucson and yet here is the proof, the exuvium of a newly emerged cicada right in my yard. How could I have missed them?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Lizard Tree

I spend endless hours looking at and watching everything in nature, it never fails to thrill me how everything has a reason and a place. Like a vulnerable little lizard that blends so perfectly with the bark that the potential predator will pass right by.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Have You Had a Hug Today? (Part Two)

The Turkey Vultures do enjoy the power poles that run along the edge of our land. I took this photo three years ago, and here we are again.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Inside Out

The saguaro never fails to fascinate, even when life has long gone. What lurks beneath the green skin, armoured with spines? This amazing wooden ribbed structure.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Another Newbie

I am delighted by the number of snake species that call our land home. Every time I see a new species I think that there can't possibly be any more but they just keep coming. This little beauty was slithering between the rocks around our patio one evening last week, a Black-necked Garter Snake.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Easily Distracted

No one could ever accuse me of being a domestic goddess, doing chores in the kitchen is just not on my list of favourite things. It certainly does make doing the dishes easier when I can look up and see this right outside the window though.
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