A few sights around the neighborhood

white blooms of a yucca
Yucca in bloom by our park.

I never grow tired of the desert sights. It’s such a different desert than the manicured lawns, hedges and golf courses of Palm Springs — yet it’s technically the same desert. The Sonoran Desert.

hatched quail eggs
My husband spotted these quail eggs in a planter under a bush. Talk about an effective nest. Now we know where the babies came from.

planter with quail eggs
This is the planter where the quail made a nest! It’s in the side yard right outside where the trash bins are stored.
I’ve been watching this century plant grow.
century plant ready to bloom.
A few weeks later. It’s grown so fast, you can stand still for a few minutes it seems like you can watch it grow.
I wonder if it will bloom?
Sunset in the Desert.
Sunset view with ocotillo.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by. What are your plans for the weekend?

Benefits of early morning walks

javelina in a neighbor's yard
Javelina

One of the benefits of walking at dawn is the wildlife we get to see. This morning it was this herd of Javelina in front of a neighbor’s house. I texted the photo to the neighbors to show them the shenanigans going on in their driveway while they were sleeping.

What is a javelina you might ask?

Javelina (Tayassu tajacu) also known as collared peccary, are medium-sized animals that look similar to a wild boar. They have mainly short coarse salt and pepper colored hair, short legs, and a pig-like nose. The hair around the neck/shoulder area is lighter in color giving it the look of a collar. Javelina have long, sharp canine teeth which protrude from the jaws about an inch.

One major adaptation for survival is the fact that javelina live in large family groups. The average group size is 10 or less, but a few herds have known to number up to 53 animals. Each group defends a territory which includes their sleeping and feeding areas. They communicate with their own family group and other groups using sounds and smells.

Javelina live in desert washes, saguaro and palo verde forests, oak woodlands, and grasslands with mixed shrubs and cacti.

They can be found in the deserts of southwest Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, southward through Mexico and Central America and into northern Argentina.

https://desertmuseum.org/kids/oz/long-fact-sheets/Javelina.php

Other creatures we have seen are tiny baby bunnies, quail families, coyotes and mule deer.

mule deer in the street
Mule deer that crossed the street at dawn.

We are going adventuring in the area this weekend and I’ll write about that next week.

Have you seen javelina before? What plans do you have for the weekend?

It’s wild!

bobcat
I’ve spotted the bobcat at our house two days in a row. I watched him leap over our fence and also walk along our windows on our patio like he owns the place.

When the bobcat arrives our yard is deathly silent. Gone are the squawks of the quail and woodpecker. The bees stop buzzing and the beautiful song of a cardinal is nowhere to be heard.

Normally our backyard is alive with sounds. I’ve spotted baby quails when I’m walking around the neighborhood. I put out seed on the ground outside the casita this week. I was thrilled when a family of quail visited our yard! They are the tiniest, cutest little things. The babies follow mom and dad in a line.

Here’s a video of the quail family eating the birdseed.

Mom and dad with seven or eight babies.

Another joyful sight was a cardinal who is enjoying the seed I put out. He is so gorgeous and his song is beautiful, too.

Our beautiful scarlet cardinal.

I had stopped feeding the birds last year because a hawk flew into a window with a plump quail in its beak. The window was broken and it scared me to death. I got a bill for $600 to replace the double-paned window. The quail and hawk survived, though.

But I’m back to putting out seed a year later. I hope I don’t have a repeat of the hawk incident. I’m enjoying the bird and bobcat watching. It’s truly wild!

Do you enjoy bird watching where you live? What types of birds do you have?

What type of wildlife do you have?

What, me worry?

saguaro in the Sonoran Desert
Saguaro in front of a neighbor’s yard.

It’s snake season. And I’m not happy about it.

I am terribly frightened of snakes. I saw one the other morning at our park while on our walk.

A neighbor texted to tell me that another neighbor found a rattlesnake in her garage. Her husband trapped it in a garbage can and released it five miles away. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable driving with a rattlesnake in my car — garbage can or not.

Then last week while we were walking, a neighbor warned us about a huge rattlesnake a few blocks away from where we were headed.

“I’m done!” I said and turned my back and walked back to the house.

Every time I step outside, I take a careful look around. No more walking while looking at my phone. My eyes are peeled. In fact, I’m not spending much time outside anymore.

I googled rattlesnake bites in AZ. This is what I found:

Joe Hymes at the Phoenix Herpetological Sanctuary in north Scottsdale said that with temperatures warming up, this is the time of year that they receive the most calls about snakes.

He told AZ Family, “Most of the time, they are just soaking up the sun, but if you give them space, they will leave you alone.”

Snakes generally hide in cool, damp places.

Hymes explained, “Anywhere [snakes] will not feel overly exposed. They’ll hide under things — bushes, flower pots, raised sheds in the backyard, behind A/C units, behind pool pumps where moisture might condense. Those are all prime rattlesnake hiding spots.”

https://www.iheart.com/content/2021-04-05-its-snake-season-in-arizona-heres-what-to-do-if-you-see-a-venomous-snake/

You know what? Reading that did not make me feel a bit better.

A childhood friend of mine lives in San Diego and was bitten while talking a walk on his lunch hour last week. He said the snake bit him in the calf from behind. He never saw it. He was hospitalized for four days and had one of the worst reactions to a rattlesnake bite the hospital had ever seen.

In Palm Springs, we had rattlesnakes but we saw them on the hiking trails in the surrounding hills, not downtown where we lived.

Do you think my worry about snakes is warranted? Do you have anything you’re afraid of? What the most dangerous thing in your area?

A bit of beauty

Our gate looking out toward the street. It’s so beautiful with the plant in full bloom. Most of the year it doesn’t look like this.

This weekend I was stunned by the beauty in our neighborhood. I stop and take photos every day on my walks. I’ve posted several times about the desert in bloom, but more and more flowers amaze me.

Palo verde in bloom. They are all over the place in our neighborhood.
Ocotillo with red flowers


.
The color on this Hedgehog cactus is brilliant.
The cardinal has been back!
This beavertail cactus is beginning to bloom.
I love this Yucca at the entrance to our neighborhood.

What are your favorite flowering plants and birds in the Spring?

The desert in bloom

We went away for the weekend to Puerto Penasco and came back home to warm weather and the desert busting out in bloom. What I’ve discovered is the blooms don’t last long. One day a cactus may have a gorgeous flower — the next day it’s gone.

I’m amazed at how many flowers are in blossom in the Sonoran Desert.

I have a little plant guide from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve called “Wildflowers” that categories native blossoms by color. I’m doing my best to use the book to identify the plants.

Here are blooms I saw during my morning walk:

Hedgehog cactus in bloom.
Palo verde tree in bloom.
budding hedgehog cactus
Buds on a hedgehog cactus.
purple blossoms.
This looks like Desert Hyacinth according to the wildflower book. But since it’s in a yard, it might not be a native desert plant.
Century plant with tall bud
The neighbor’s Century Plant keeps getting taller, but hasn’t blossomed yet.
red blooms on hedgehog cactus
Another blooming hedgehog cactus.
red flowering desert plant
I’m not 100% sure but the closest I could find is called Hackberry Beardtongue.
Honeysuckle orange blooms
Honeysuckle in my back yard.
Pink Fairy-duster pink blooms
Pink Fairy-Duster. Isn’t that a great name?

Red Four O'Clock
Red Four O’Clock

What is blooming in your neighborhood?

Spring has sprung!

There is a warmth in the air along with the delicious scent of jasmine. Looking around, I see signs that the cold winds of winter have left us. I see blooms and buds on my daily walks. Each day brings something new.

Purple lupine flowers growing through a crack in the concrete.
Purple flowers are finding their way through the concrete. I believe this is lupine.
Bright red cardinal
This cardinal hung outside our casita yesterday. We also have a gray brown female and their reddish brown juvenile. He will get redder as he matures. I read that female cardinals choose their mates based on the brilliance of their feathers. Bright red feathers means the cardinal is finding nutritious food.
Toumey's Century Plant.
I can’t wait for this agave known as a Century Plant to bloom. This one is in a neighbor’s front yard. It looks like it will be impressive.
hedgehodge cactus im bloom
A hedgehog cactus beginning to bloom. The color of the flowers are stunning.
Mule deer hanging out at a friend's house.
I spotted this mule deer next to a friend’s home because its ears moved.
I passed it on the start and end of my 45-minute walk.

What signs are telling you Spring is in the air? Do you see more birds? Blooming plants?