Friday, July 9, 2010

Today in Sycamore Canyon

DSC_0013View from my front yard. Could these clouds be a promise of things to come? 7-9-10 @ 9:52 a.m. MST

Blue skies and a few puffy clouds greet me this morning. A hot wind is blowing strongly from the east, a good sign that there could be rain coming. My plan was to turn on the computer and start writing right away, but then I notice a couple of bird feeders are empty, and those flowers over there look like they could use a bit more water, and, oh look! juvenile Scott’s orioles in my yellow bells bushes in the front yard and you know I have to stop and watch them, and so, it is now 11 a.m. and I have not even eaten breakfast yet!

DSC_0005 Yellow bells tecoma stans in my front yard 7-9-10

If you want to attract wildlife to your yard, these bushes are perfect.  This morning when I went to open the front bedroom shutters I found 8 to 10 lesser goldfinches perched in the branches and gleaning some sort of tiny insect of the leaves, flowers and seed pods.  Then I noticed a pair of juvenile Scott’s Orioles were in the bushes with them, along with a few house sparrows.  I frequently find desert cottontails napping beneath these bushes or coveys of Gambel’s Quail.  Hummingbirds are attracted to the tubular yellow flowers as well as orioles, and it is not unusual to find cardinals and pyrrhuloxoias seeking shelter in the branches either. This plant is deciduous, drought tolerant and it likes heat. However, it does need a regular watering.


With all the birds and wildlife I’ve attracted to my yard some of my plants have not fared so well. I wrote about the purslane that I fenced off in a previous post. Well, that one is starting to come back, but…

DSC_0008 …now the larger plants are suffering and I fear I will have to fence them off also.  I can’t help but think that as soon as the monsoon arrives and the rain waters the desert it will bloom so richly that my garden plants will finally be spared.

DSC_0010I am trying to enhance this bird feeding area on the north side of my house. This is the view I have when I look out the den window. The den is where I do all my blogging and writing. Plus, by encouraging the birds to feed over here, it keeps my backyard cleaner and it doesn't disturb the birds when we go outside.  However, I still keep birdbaths, thistle seed feeders and nectar feeders in the backyard.  I try to attract the more gentle birds there and keep the raucous guys over here. Since curve-billed thrashers often come to the feeders I prefer to attract them on this side as they will kill hummingbirds. By feeding the hummingbirds in the backyard they can feed in peace and relative safety.

DSC_0011 Meanwhile, in the front and side yard my cacti are doing really well and this one in particular has sprouted some new growth.  I do not know what this one is called, but it is my favorite. Gus, however, likes the bunny ears prickly pear cactus he planted. 

DSC_0012The Bunny ears is up in far left corner of this photo, the poor struggling purslane are just beyond the golden barrel cactus. We planted 3 small saguaros which are doing really well, but we will be long gone before they ever get tall. Planting a saguaro is something you do for future generations and the life and health of the desert. It is like believing there will be a future and that it will be good. It is a spiny hope.

DSC_0015 DSC_0017

This morning’s clouds have started to thicken. Perhaps we really will have rain today!


Turkey Vulture flying over my head in Sycamore Canyon 7-9-10 @ 11:50 a.m. MST taken with the Nikon D90 18-200mm lens.

Meanwhile, a Turkey Vulture drama has been developing outside my den window.  I have been popping up and down while writing this post to get pictures with both the D80 and the D90. It is not over yet but I will be posting that story next instead of what I intended to!


eileeninmd said...

Your yard looks lovely. The birds must love it there. The skies are jsut beautiful, great photos!

Carolyn Ford said...

That Turkey Vulture is something fabulous. I love the glow of the light through its! What a capture!

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

Wow really great post. How about planting some aloe plants in your succulent garden. They send off some wonderful stalks of flowers that hummers just love. And the flowers last a long time. You could ask your nursery man which would be best. Yes I bet with your rains everything will be happy and encourage new growth.

Can't wait to find out what was happening out your window. By the way that vulture pic is amazing!

Kathie Brown said...

ellininmind, thank you!

Carolyn ford, if you like the vulture come back tomorrow for more of the story and even more pictures!

Candy, thanks for the suggestion. I do have some aloe in a pot and a teeny tiny one in the ground. I also have red yucca growing which also sends up lovely flowered stalks. I just loved the purslane when it was blooming but the bunnies have put the lid on that happening! I did try to plant things that would be waterwise and attract hummingbirds. Still no rain here. Better chances this weekend.

Arija said...

Oh Kathie, you and I are both waiting for the rain to finally come. I am so sorry for your eaten plants, I do hope they recover again. At least some birds probably were the healthier for dining on them. Love the way you have sectioned your garden for the different birds so all are resonably safe.

Gaelyn said...

Your yard is a wonderful haven. I watched clouds yesterday too and felt about 3 drops in the afternoon. Hope you fared better. Is it really monsoon season?

Celeste said...

I love the fact that you get distracted by your yard and the birds Kathie - who wants to sit in front of a computer anyway? :)

Kathie Brown said...

Arija, the rabbits have gnawed into the stems. I do not know if they will survive. I am going to try sprinkling red pepper on them tonight and see if that keeps the bunnies away! It is a method I used when I lived in Maine to keep squirrels out of the sunflower feeders. It won't hurt the birds or the environment. Still no rain. We keep waiting.

Gaelyn, they Keep saying that it is but apparently the sky hasn't gotten the notice. Dry blue skies here once again today.

Celeste, you hit the nail right on the head. This is my constant dilhema.