Monday, January 27, 2014

A Parting of the Ways................

I am rather a fatalist, I think people come into our lives for a reason. Several years ago I started reading a blog called Sycamore Canyon. It's author, Kathie lived in Arizona and wrote about her love for the natural world and the Arizona desert. A couple of years later my husband took me to Tucson for a birthday present. I had been completely captivated by Kathie's writing and was already in love with the desert through her wonderful words. It seemed only logical that I should meet Kathie as I was going to be in her neighbourhood. This is not something I do, I don't randomly go round meeting people from online! Anyway I am glad I made an exception. We agreed to meet at a local birding spot.

And a wonderful friendship was born. We continued to communicate online. Kathie's husband likes to move (!) and a year or so after we met she left Arizona and moved to New England. She started a new blog called Kathie's Birds which I continued to follow. Then in one of those weird quirks of life, we ended up buying a home in Tucson. I blame Kathie for inspiring my love for the area and creating my desire to have a home there! Of course she was no longer there but the irony was hard to miss. After about a year, imagine my delight when she contacted me to tell me that her husband had got itchy feet again and they were moving back to Tucson. So began the next chapter of our friendship.

So many wonderful days out, sharing our love of birds and nature, sharing the open spaces and the freedom of wild places, sharing new species and familiar ones too, sharing moments of perfect peace and moments of great excitement, like a bear sighting up close and personal. We have had so many wonderful adventures together.

Another fondness we share is for tea, especially Earl Grey Tea so our trips always included a nice tea break somewhere scenic.

I could take up pages listing all the wonderful creatures we have seen together and every one of them was special. When I wasn't at home Kathie kept an eye on our home and even kept my bird feeders filled so that when I got home the yard would be filled with birds.

But all good things come to an end and last November, true to form, her husband was on the move again and now they are off to Maine. We shed a few tears and shared a few hugs and as a farewell treat we shared another of our loves and took a trail ride through the beautiful Saguaro National Park.

And now, the time has come, we have said our goodbyes and at the end of this week my dear friend heads of to the chilly North East. I feel so sad but I will continue to follow her next adventures through her blog. She has left me her nijer seed feeder so every time I watch the goldfinches outside my kitchen window I will thing of my lovely friend.

She also gave me a Red Yucca which I have planted in my front yard, it will produce spikes of red flowers which the hummingbirds love so she continues to look out for my yard birds even after leaving.

We will meet again, sometime, somewhere. She hopes to come back and visit so we will have more adventures in the desert one day. Farewell my dear friend, I will miss you so very much.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Desert Christmas

It seems a bit corny to give an account of Christmas so I will just say it was a time filled with good weather, good food and good company and let the pictures say the rest.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunset Drive

When I used to drive a safari vehicle, it was roofless, windowless and doorless. Needless to say it gave my clients wonderful, all round views of all the creatures and scenery. It is, of course a tough act to follow.
My best birding buddy Kathie's husband Gus has a very special baby. It is his pride and joy, so I felt very honoured when he agreed to take Kathie and I for a sunset drive in Saguaro NP East in a rather splendid 'safari vehicle.'

 This snarling, gleaming, black beast was woefully under used pootling along at a couple of miles an hour whilst Kathie and I ooooh'd and aaaah'd over the dozens of nighthawks swooping overhead and listened to the Purple Martins warbling song as dusk fell. But my goodness we were riding in style!

As the sun began to set it started to throw a beautiful golden glow over the land.

It just got more and more dramatic each minute.

Even after the gleaming orb slid below the horizon.

No matter which direction we looked in, the sky was a glorious palette of spectacular colours.

And, as if the sun and the skies weren't putting on a dramatic enough show. A wonderful cloud creature reared up from behind the mountains.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

So Close And Yet..................

When I started my other blog I made one simple rule, if it doesn't occur on our land it doesn't go on the blog. There have been several times when I have been tempted to cheat but I have managed (so far) to stick to my rule :)
Often in the evening after we have watched the sun set we walk down our driveway and stroll round the neighbourhood. As it starts to get dark it is always intriguing to see what appears. There seems to be a fairly regular Bobcat but I have never yet managed to get a photo of it. Other creatures are equally elusive.

Some creatures announce their presence from on high, like this Cactus Wren.

 Whilst others I have to look very hard for and follow their calls to their parents.

Others are quiet and extremely well camouflaged, toning perfectly with the desert colours.

One thing I am always on the look-out for is snakes. They love to slither onto the warm asphalt which provides great photo opportunities.  This juvenile Western Diamondback was barely a foot and a half long with a little button rather than a rattle on the tip of its tail.

 But what a handsome little chap!

I also have to sometimes act as traffic controller. Standing with the snake waving my flashlight to ensure the snake doesn't get run over. I was happy to ensure that this Long-nosed Snake got safely across the road.

All very close to home but not quite close enough for my one simple rule.