Better late than never, here is my traditional 'Best of'' post for 2013. As usual I was completely incapable of selecting one critter for each category but I guess that just means we saw lots of cool stuff throughout the year which can't be a bad thing.
So first off, the wonderful plants that surround us. During April and May the desert bursts into bloom in an entirely flamboyant way. Each sub-species of Prickly Pear produces a different colour.
In August it is the turn of the Barrel Cactus to stun
And as if the blooms weren't beautiful enough, the fruit are not too shabby either.
In the Invertebrate section, an old favourite puts in another appearance, we seemed to have so many tarantulas this year, we love having them around.
From a slightly higher elevation, this outrageous Caterpillar made quite a dramatic appearance. It will eventually turn into a Hubbards Small Silkmoth but this is most definitely it's 'big moment,'
There was one particular amphibian who demanded to be acknowledged this year. The diminutive Red-spotted Toad has a HUGE voice and this individual set up shop by our pool this summer and made his presence known every night, very loudly. So it only seems fair that he should represent the amphibian group.
A group that I don't usually include but, lets face it, is hard to ignore, I will call 'scenery.' And my goodness, is it dramatic!
If you have a moonrise, it seems only logical that a sunset should be part of the deal too.
We have had some lovely mammals around this year. The Rock Squirrels decided to overcome their usual shyness and move into our back patio area to raise there babies.
And it is always a huge treat when a Bobcat drops by to say hello.
We have had a great reptile year with all kinds of firsts, not least of which was this magnificent Western Diamondback that curled up peacefully beside our house one evening
I had a long chat with this next reptilian visitor. How could I not when presented with such an expressive face? Another very relaxed encounter which allowed me to take numerous photos...
Of course, by far the largest group of photos belongs to our avian friends. I just couldn't decide which were my favourites. Well lets face it, they all are!
For imagery this Cardinal really got himself set up perfectly.
But not to be outdone, his close relative, the Pyrrhuloxia used the same technique to ensure inclusion in the year end review.
For sheer entertainment it is hard to beat the goofy Roadrunner with its crazy antics. This one sat in a tree next to me, chattering and scolding me while I took its picture.
This Great-horned Owl however seemed rather less engaged in his photo session!
Our resident Coopers Hawk, never fails to provide a little drama at the unfortunate expense of numerous quail and doves.
But the loss of life is balanced by the creation of new life and it was a delight to watch a pair of Thrashers raise this pair of chicks in a Cholla Cactus.
But before I finish the bird section, I couldn't possibly move on without including 'the boss.' Twigman continues to rule the land with a steely glare and a fearsome chatter. Ignore him at your peril!!
And so on to a new year. Lets hope it is filled with 'all creatures great and small.'
Happy New Year everyone.