Desert Critter Camouflage

Desert Critter Camouflage

It doesn’t matter what the season might be, but the cardinals are always visible. Unlike many of the other desert critters that blend in with the colors of the desert (some changing with the colors from season to season), the vivid coloration of the wide ranging Northern Cardinal (cardinalis cardinalis) is always bright and easily observable.

From Wikipedia:

The northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a North American bird in the genus Cardinalis; it is also known colloquially as the redbird or common cardinal. It can be found in southern Canada, through the eastern United States from Maine to Texas and south through Mexico. It is found in woodlands, gardens, shrublands, and swamps.

The northern cardinal is a mid-sized songbird with a body length of 21 cm (8.3 in). It has a distinctive crest on the head and a mask on the face which is black in the male and gray in the female. The male is a vibrant red, while the female is a dull reddish olive. The northern cardinal is mainly granivorous, but also feeds on insects and fruit. The male behaves territorially, marking out his territory with song. During courtship, the male feeds seed to the female beak-to-beak. A clutch of three to four eggs is laid, and two to four clutches are produced each year. It was once prized as a pet, but its sale as a cage bird was banned in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch

Sometimes the Mama or the Daddy lets me jump up on the patio spa so I can keep watch for the critters that come here. When I see a road runner or a rabbit, I bark at it. When I see a javelina, I REALLY bark at it. Or them.

When I am done watching, I go in the house and someone gives me a treat. Click on me to make me bigger.

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More Signs of Spring

Paperwhites

Lots of paperwhite flowers blooming in the courtyard. Good sign that warmer temperatures are coming. We might have some showers by the first of the week which the flowers (and all of the desert) will appreciate. Click on the image to enlarge.

I will have photos of daffodils very soon. They have started to appear at the flower concession at the supermarket.

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Goldfinch Watering Hole

Goldfinch Watering Hole

This little bucket which sits under the rain spout by the patio serves to not only collect rain runoff, but to provide a reservoir suitable for our little winged friends to get a drink of water. There generally are no places where water stands for very long in our arid environment, so we’re happy to provide a place for the birds and other critters to get water.

I had a birdbath set up out back for quite a while before the monsoon winds and showers totaled it out. This bucket takes the place of the fragile glass fixture that we still find shards from, while not endangering the critters that take advantage of it.

We have no direct evidence of it, but we suspect that squirrels, roadrunners, bunnies, coyotes, mule deer and other assorted local critters take advantage of the water. Someday, we might get photographic evidence of that and post it here.

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Baby G and Bentley

Baby G and Bentley

The Baby is now almost as big as the family pet, Bentley. His Mama sent us this nice photo of the two of them on a quilt with ABC’s all over it. Click on the image to enlarge.

We will be going out to California again around Valentine’s Day to visit with the other grandparents, the parents, Baby G and Bentley plus our dogs. This time, we’re inviting everybody to the RV Resort to have dinner with us - we’re cooking!

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Miltoniopsis “Pansy” Orchid

Miltoniopsis Orchid

We saw, but did not buy these beautiful Miltoniopsis Orchids in the flower concession at the supermarket last week. I did not have my camera, so Bob had to use his little pocket camera he carries most everywhere to get this picture. Click on the image to enlarge.

A short article in Wikipedia describes this variety:

Miltoniopsis, abbreviated Mltnps in horticultural trade, is a genus of orchids. It consists of 5 species, native to Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia. They are named after Lord Fitzwilliam Milton, an English orchid enthusiast. Miltoniopsis’s common name is Pansy Orchid.

Although the flowers are similar, Mitoniopsis differs from Miltonia by having one leaf to each pseudobulb, and a lobed column that is united to the labellum through a keel. In addition, the column is not concave at the base.

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Bob, Pups and a Gorgeous Sunset

Bob, Pups and a Gorgeous Sunset

Bob carried Cabela and Bay Bay out into the courtyard this evening to watch the setting sun and the colors of the clouds. I took this picture while the dogs were interested in some cottontails or jackrabbits feeding across the road. Click on the image to enlarge.

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