Monday, May 10, 2010

Home Again

DSC_0215My new cactus garden 5-10-10

Home Again.  What a nice sound.  I have been so busy the last two months. Eventually it all caught up with me and I was overwhelmed. The pace has slowed but it still hasn’t stopped. I’ve been birding with friends, then I went to Maricopa to take care of my adopted grandchildren for a few days.  I returned home in time to take Gus to the airport for his first trip home to Maine in two years! Before I left for Maricopa we started to landscape our side yard as a cactus garden. What fun we had selecting cacti and succulents to plant. We knew some of the plants we wanted but discovered others as we went along.


I have yet to even learn all the names of the cacti but I really like this little one. Though small and hairy looking it displays a lovely flower. Once established, these cacti will need little to no water which is very important here in the desert.

With Gus gone to Maine, I spent the next few days cleaning house like crazy because on Saturday, May 8th I had a women’s club meeting here at my house.  Not only was I hosting the meeting, I also gave a bird presentation to the club. I took the PowerPoint presentation I had used for the middle school program I did a few months ago and adapted it for this one.  Gus helped me hook up my laptop to our TV so I could show the slide show there.  Everything went very well and I was pleased. On Saturday afternoon I finally got a break and took a nap.  I spent Mother’s day watching my grandson Xavier while his daddy worked and his mom studied for her college final exams.

This morning I was out the door and ready for a walk. Though I have seen birds in my yard as usual, I wanted to see what is in the neighborhood.  So, up the road I travel into the new Sombra neighborhood. It is a one mile hike from the gate to the cul de sac at the top.  At first I wasn’t seeing much but as I travel higher and higher up the side of the mountain I am starting to see more birds.

Right now the desert is blooming. So far we have had a very cool spring and I am quite comfortable in my sleeveless shirt and capri’s. With our recent spring rains the desert has come to life in shades of  lime, sage, yellow and orange. The ocotillos reach high towards the sky waving their orange plumes to the heavens. A red-tailed hawk soars above me.  Cactus wrens and gilded flickers call from the desert. I hear a curve-billed thrasher sing and then I catch the motion of a tiny yellow bird low in a creosote bush. I am surprised to see a female Wilson’s Warbler gleaning insects from the leaves and I almost doubt my eyes to see this species here in the desert so far from water, but then her mate flies in with his jaunty black cap and the identity is confirmed.

All around me I see flowers blooming, many which I do not yet know the names of.  My frustration in not knowing their names only drives me to want to learn more about this exotic place I live in. I catch the flash of black and yellow in the twigs of a mesquite tree.  I see black streaks on white flanks and realize I am seeing yet another warbler.  The yellow throat and yellow rump confirm the Audubon's variety of a yellow-rumped warbler.  Then, on the opposite side of the road I see another.  This has turned out to be a very productive walk with 22 species seen in this one mile stretch of road. It has taken me an hour to cover it with all the stops I made to observe the birds, but I am so glad I came. Now it is time to head home again and water that cactus newly planted garden!


I love this new succulent flower I discovered called purslane. The magenta colored poppy shaped flowers rise above the rosette of thick leaves below.  I initially bought one plant but liked it so much that I went back for 2 more! More pictures to follow as we continue to work on this area, but already I can tell that the birds are loving it! I hope to catch up with all of you soon and finish the rest of my “Birding From Dawn to Dusk” posts! Right now its time to cook dinner before Gus returns tonight from the airport!


Birds seen on my walk this morning:

Location: Sycamore Canyon-Sombra
Observation date: 5/10/10
Notes: Took a walk to the top of the Sombra neighborhood where the pavement ends. At fisrt I wasn't seeing much but the farther I went up the more birds I saw. Was quite surprised to see the warblers!
Number of species: 24
Gambel's Quail 5
Turkey Vulture 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Western) 2 one soaring, one perched on a saguaro
White-winged Dove 16
Mourning Dove 2
Gila Woodpecker 3
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 1
Gilded Flicker 4
Say's Phoebe 1
Ash-throated Flycatcher 1
Brown-crested Flycatcher 1
Western Kingbird 1
Common Raven 1
Verdin 2
Cactus Wren 6
Curve-billed Thrasher (Western) 5
Phainopepla 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) 1
Wilson's Warbler 2 foraging together in a low bush
Canyon Towhee 2
Black-throated Sparrow 4
Pyrrhuloxia 1
House Finch 2
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(


Birding is Fun! said...

Thanks for taking me back to Arizona in those few minutes of reading that wonderful post!

Cactus and desert flowers are so amazing!

Gaelyn said...

I love the cactus garden that will require no watering. As landscaping should be in the desert.
Kathie, you'd see flowers walking around a shopping mall. LOL

Kathie Brown said...

Idaho Birder, glad to have you along!

Gaelyn, you made me smile!

Beth Niquette said...

I adore your cactus garden. And especially that photo with the small pink blossoms.

If I tried to grow one here in Oregon--they'd all rot from all this rain!!! (Grin)

Kathie Brown said...

Beth, now you know why I don't live in Oregon!

Dawn Fine said...

Your cactus garden looks lovely!
Hope Gus had a nice trip! I have also slowed down since arriving at my Sickstas..
Less birding..more relaxing..