Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A Sunrise Stroll In Sycamore Canyon


The sun rises in a flame behind the cholla cactus as I begin my morning walk. Gus has dropped me at the bottom of Harrison Road at 6:40 a.m. It will be 2 miles and over 2 hours before I am home again.



If I walked straight home at a fast clip it wouldn't take me nearly this long, but I am counting birds and photographing wildflowers. There is so much to see and marvel at in this bright desert today.

The path wanders enticingly before me, and I eagerly follow.



Nearby on the barbed wire fence a Rufous-winged sparrow perches, anticipating the first warming rays of the sun.
A curved-billed thrasher has found its own spot for catching some rays.

When the sun finally breasts the desert's edge it illuminates everything. The first blossom of a Palo Verde tree opens its heart to the sun.




Mt Wrightston is still sprinkled with snow from Sunday's storm. The white-washed flanks of the mountain contrast with the new green leaves of the ocatillo.



A lesser goldfinch flies from the desert marigolds she was perched on.







This barrel cactus sprouts a golden crown of pineapple-like fruit. soon these fruit will drop and the cactus will blossom once again.




Cactus wrens are everywhere singing, cackling and searching for insects to feed their soon to hatch broods. The cactus wrens build their nests in the spiny thorny chollas to protect them from predators. I know I don't want to get too close to this nest!



















Flowers are blossoming everywhere. Penstemmon in many varieties fills the roadsides and trails. Their red tubular blossoms are a magnet for hummingbirds, but I have not seen any this morning. In fact, I have not seen any for a week. Where have they all gone?




Ocatillos rise in skies of blue.


18 comments:

Patrice said...

Kathie! Your photos give me the travel itch. The sky looks so clear and blue, the sun looks so warm and bright. I could use a sunbreak about now. Beautiful mountains!

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

Hi Kathie, geez, I can't even pick a favorite. They are all winners!!
Beautiful, I wish I could visit with you and be able to take in all of that beauty. You are a lucky girl!

Amy said...

You're killin' me with all those beautiful native plants...ocotillos, saguaros and chollas! I actually tried growing some ocotillos from seed a few years ago and had a few seedlings but they hated Ohio and died despite my best efforts. That's what happens when you try to grow non-natives I guess. You are so lucky to live in an area with so much beauty to be found! I am GREEN with envy!!! Thanks for sharing your bee-U-tiful photos!

Texas Travelers said...

Thanks for sharing your walk and photos. You have an amazing gift for describing the indescribable. Really nice collection of photos. Well done.

Troy in rainy Ft. Worth

Mary said...

Beautiful flowers! And I love seeing the Cactus wren's nest. I'm headed to Tucson tomorrow...can't wait for the sunshine!

Lynne said...

We spent last Easter with Art's parents outside of Phoenix. I absolutely loved it. Wishing I were there again...

brucesc said...

You've got us all dying to walk in the desert! Terrific photos!

Sandpiper said...

How beautiful! Every picture is wonderful and reading your words made me feel like I was walking along side of you. I need to go there!

Mary said...

Kathie! If I booked a flight and made a hotel reservation, would you meet me for a walk? I'm joking, but I find your scenery so wonderful and inviting... You show it so well.

Mary

Larry said...

I need a day like that.-It has been a while with all the rain around here.-Your post makes me wish it was the weekend and I was out walking in a pecial place.

The Texican said...

Great Post with super pictures.

Doug Taron said...

I really need to get back out to Tucson. The photos are beautiful and so evocative of the place. Looks like spring is being kind to that part of the world this year.

Birdfreak said...

Your posts are so fun to read, we are so far from you!

I tagged you with the Six Word Memoir Meme that is going around, I hope you don't mind!

http://birdfreak.com/six-word-bird-conservation-meme/

Good birding to you and I love your photos!

Kathiesbirds said...

Patrice, you are welcome to scatch that itch and come for a visit. I bet it would inspire more poems!

Aunt B, if you are ever in Tucson, send me an email. Perhaps we can take that walk! I'd love to show you around!

Amy, you crack me up trying to grow ocatillos in Ohio. I'm sure they couldn't take all that humidity or the chill winds that blow, even though you kept them inisde! Glad you are enjoying a look at the desert through my camera lens. I posted this espcially for all of you, my new friends who are still waiting for spring!

Tony, thanks for the comment. I hope you dry out soon!

Mary, are you still in the area? You came at the perfect time. Our weather is great!

Lynne, glad to see you again. Perhaps you should come back again. I bet it was a nice break from the cold north. I know I craved sunshine when I lived in Presque Isle, ME.

brucesc, how nice to see you again! I hope you get to take that walk. Thanks!

Sandpiper, you do need to come. and if you are ever in town, let me know, I'd love to meet you!

Mary, go ahead and book it! I'd love to meet you too!

Larry, I really hope you get to take a trip here someday. You would be in bird Nirvana!

Thanks Tex!

Birdfreak,... what have you done to me? I'll have to go check it out! Thanks for stopping by!

JB's Big World said...

You have some beautiful photos on your blog. Very nice.
--JB

Kathiesbirds said...

jb, thanks for visiting my blog. It looks like you've been to quite a few interesting places yourself!

Photographer RAZAK RAMLI said...

Interesting...wonderful...

Hedgewitch said...

what a beautiful post! your photography is amazing and it has allowed me to explore a landscape so different from my own.. many thanks :-)