Spur Cross Wildflowers

A few people have urged me to post again on this blog so here goes.

I’ve mostly been sharing on our Love Cave Creek AZ Facebook page.  If you like this blog, please like LoveCaveCreekAZ on Facebook.

Here are some photos from this morning’s hike at Spur Cross Conservation Area.  Because of the amazing amount of rain, the whole place seemed to be in bloom today.  It was tough to capture it because I only took my telephoto lens.

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation
I don’t recall when I have seen so much green hiking Spur Cross.  You can see that there’s water in the creek.  And despite the incredible number of blooming wildflowers, and all the color that just popped, it’s difficult to tell from this photo.

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The water in Cave Creek was crystal clear and flowing beautifully.

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Here are a couple of bugs enjoying the Lupine.

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I couldn’t tell if this was a moth or a butterfly.  It greeted us as we stepped into the dragonfly trail, in the Jewel.

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One of my favorites.  Lupine.  I long to have these in my yard.  I sometimes see them in a purple blurr as I drive down Cave Creek Rd.  They don’t last long and they come in what seems to be every shade of purple.

SpurCross-5980 Chuparosa
Chuparosa among the rocks.  This photo does not do the redness of the flowers justice.  In the left side of the photo (out of focus is a Globemallow bush).

Pincushion cactus growing between the rocks
These very small pincushion cactus look like they are growing between the rocks.

SpurCross-5961 Chicory
This white flower demanded attention.  I think it’s a desert chicory

There is an entire album of photographs in the Spur Cross Conservation Area Facebook Page.

I highly recommend a hike.  Come early and bring plenty of water.  There is a $3 park fee per person and there’s plenty of free parking.  If you plan it right, you can then stop in the amazing town of Cave Creek and grab lunch at one of our local hangouts.

And, if you love birds, here’s the link to the latest Backyard Birds Album on our Facebook page.

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Morning Walk May 23 – Wild Primrose and Owl

We’ve had incredibly gorgeous weather here in Arizona this May.  More rain than ever before and temperatures that had me reaching for that extra cardigan in the evening hours.

This morning, while walking the dog in the wash, I purposely wanted to check on the primrose that was about to bloom yesterday.

On the ground I found this.

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Looking up from where I was standing, one of the adult owls was resting.

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I did not see it the whole time walking towards the primrose.  I looked but I did not see.  The owl blends in well but perhaps I was too focused on one thing to see what else was there.

I’ve been meaning to write a post with an update on the Great Horned Owls, because to our delight, they nested in a make shift box my neighbor built for them.  They had two babies that have successfully fledged.  I’ve been sharing photos on our facebook community page.  We would love it if you like us, and while there, or even if you aren’t on facebook, you can check out the photos in our Great Horned Owl 2015 album.

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Mule Deer in Cave Creek!

I spotted these mule deer right on the outskirts of Old Town Cave Creek!! Mule deer migrate to lower elevations during the winter months, so now is the prime time to see them in our area!

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Saguaros at Sunset

I bumped into my neighbors tonight as I went out for my evening walk.

saguaros-at-sunset-008-good-friends-and-neighbors
saguaros-at-sunset-009-good-friends-and-neighborsThe light was wonderful and I lagged behind as I tried to photograph the saguaros.   Enjoy the gallery below.

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Javelina Family Is Cute and Smelly

I can’t believe I got photos of a young javelina suckling!

Javelinas visited twice on Saturday.  In the morning and the evening.  I’m not sure if the two groups were one and the same.

Here are the photos from the morning

I did not get a good look at all of them in the morning.  With the exception of two larger ones, the morning visitors were practically a blur as they sensed our presence.   I did not spot any young ones.

In the evening, with the dog safely being distracted indoors, I was able to sneak out and take these photos from the safety of the back patio as they made their way across the backyard.  At first, they seemed oblivious to my presence.

Javelinas have poor eyesight and when they have young ones, they can be very defensive and super aggressive.  Even if no young are present, if we see javelina, we quickly move to safety.  They can charge fast even when not provoked.

Here are some photos from the evening visit. Can you tell which is my favorite?

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Great Horned Owl Goes For A Splash

After eating dinner tonight, I was carrying my plate to the sink when I spotted a Great Horned Owl perched above the watering hole in the back yard.

This one looks young and I can’t tell if it’s male or female.

Here’s a zoom of the image (it’s a bit pixelated).

He hung around for a while looking and surveying all directions from different vantage points.  I could tell he was really thirsty by the way he was panting.  He wanted to drink but first he wanted to make sure it was safe.

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The surveying lasted a while and then, when he could take it no more, he surrendered to his thirst and swooped down to the ground.

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I was happy when as soon as he jumped into the water, a rainbow appeared in the distance.

If you look closely you may be able to see him in the water (bottom left corner).

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We are in the middle of monsoon season and the animals, plants and humans are struggling with the heat.  Today’s high was 104, but it felt hotter.

Great Horned Owl drinking while sitting in the fountain

He drank and drank… and drank… and then just like that, he moved on.

All done.  The Great Horned Owl takes off.

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Elephant Butte at Sunset

Tonight’s sunset did not disappoint.  In the following photos, you can see the silhouette of Elephant Butte.

Elephant Butte at Sunset

And, here’s another shot.  This time with a wide angle lens.

Elephant Butte at Sunset

I love Cave Creek AZ.

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Phew, that was close

Tonight, I was saved by my daughter from stepping on a baby rattlesnake.  To give you perspective, it could have fit in the palm of my hand and I have small hands.

We were returning from walking the dog, and the sunset was breathtaking.

cc-sunset-075This time of year, I like to pick the tender pods off the Palo Verde trees and eat the seeds inside.  They are waxy but I like them.  I was distracted in search of a young tender pod in a tree just off the side of the road when she screamed:

“MOM. STOP. SNAKE. STEP BACK.”

In staccato!

“I don’t see it.” I said, stepping back while squinting trying to find the snake.

“Theeeeeeeeeere” she pointed annoyed with me.

I still couldn’t see it.  It really took me a while to spot it.  The light was fading and the snake  was all curled up and blended so well with the ground.

“Phew, that was close.  I didn’t see it.”

“Mom, you really should wear your glasses.  I worry about you.”

I was careful the rest of the way.  Stepping mindfully and forgetting about the Palo Verde pods.  But the scare was not enough for me… I needed a photo.  So after we got back home, I put on my glasses, grabbed my camera and tripod, left the disappointed dog home, and went back for some pictures (of the snake and the sunset).

Click on the images to enlarge them.  In the last one, you can see Venus.

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Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

I recently started following the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation area facebook page.  They have a great photo stream.  My favorites have been images captured by their Critter Cam.

Today, they shared the following photo with the following explanation:

spur cross ranch conservation area photo“Ranger Kevin wanted to share this photo he took of a robber fly making a meal of a honeybee. There are many species of robber flies in the Sonoran Desert and most of them appear quite different than this fly, with long tapering abdomens. They all have stout spiny legs and a moustache of bristles on the face. This species mimics the bumble bee and this enables it to get closer to its prey without being noticed.”

I love to learn something new everyday.

If this sort of thing interests you, why not consider liking their facebook page.

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Desert In Bloom

I used to think that the desert lacked the change of seasons because it seemed that we were always in a perpetual state of sunshine.  But now, after having lived here for 23 years, I have learned to redefine my expectations and my definitions of seasons.

Backyard blooms
Backyard blooms

Here’s a bouquet best left where it stands.  Enjoy.

In the gallery above, are some of the different cactus that are in bloom around the house.  I’ve captioned them with the common names…  There are many varieties that are referred to by the same name.

If you would like to read more check out:

Golden Barrel – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinocactus_grusonii

Hedgehog cactus – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echinocereus

Occotillo – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fouquieria_splendens

Prickly pear cactus – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opuntia

 

 

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