Verna

Roadrunner Catching a Bee

We saw a roadrunner behind the RV drive this afternoon when coming home from our daily walk. I took several photos of it after going into the house and coming back out with my camera. At one point on its trek on the little hill back there, it caught a bee. I guess insects are part of their daily diet.

From Wikipedia — Greater Roadrunner (Geococcys Californianus) Food and foraging habits:

The roadrunner is an opportunistic omnivore. Its diet normally consists of insects (such as grasshoppers, crickets, caterpillars, and beetles), small reptiles (such as lizards and snakes, including rattlesnakes), rodents and other small mammals, spiders (including tarantulas), scorpions, centipedes, snails, small birds (and nestlings), eggs, and fruits and seeds like those from prickly pear cactuses and sumacs. The roadrunner forages on the ground and, when hunting, usually runs after prey from under cover. It may leap to catch insects, and commonly batters certain prey against the ground. Because of its quickness, the roadrunner is one of the few animals that preys upon rattlesnakes; it is also the only real predator of tarantula hawk wasps.

Image above: Catching a bee. Image below: Greater Roadrunner. Click on either image to enlarge.

Red Bird Season Almost Over

It’s that time of the fall when the Red Bird Of Paradise (Pride of Barbados) shrubs in the courtyard are about through with their production of gorgeous flowers (and pea pods). Within the next few days, we will be cutting them back to the ground for the winter. However, they will be back by next late May or early June for another colorful season.

The image above (click to enlarge) is of some of the last flowers on one of the shrubs. Canon EOS Rebel T6i, 1/1024 sec, F5.6, ISO 250, EF-S18-135mm lens @89mm.

More about these flowering shrubs from Wikipedia:

Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a species of flowering plant in the pea family.

It is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. In climates with few to no frosts, this plant will grow larger and is semievergreen. Grown in climates with light to moderate freezing, plant will die back to the ground depending on cold, but will rebound in mid- to late spring. This species is more sensitive to cold than others. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–40 cm long, bearing three to 10 pairs of pinnae, each with six to 10 pairs of leaflets 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm broad. The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow, orange, or red petals. The fruit is a pod 6–12 cm long.

UPDATE 10/07/2022: One down, two to go. There are still viable flower pods opening on the remaining two shrubs, so they will be there for another week or two.

UPDATE 10/16/2022: We took advantage of a break in the weather (we’ve been getting some rain) and removed shrub #2 and part of shrub #3 this morning. We don’t usually do chores on the Lord’s Day, but the whole operation took less than half an hour, so I guess we’re going to be OK with it.

UPDATE 10/17/2022: Verna and I finished off the removal of the last Red Bird shrub today. The courtyard now has only the bottlebrush shrubs which are winter hearty in this climate. There was one last cluster of flowers still remaining on the last red bird.

So, with this last (clickable) image, we say good-bye until spring to these beautiful flowers.

A Sunset Cloud Rainbow

About a half hour before sunset this evening, this beautiful prismatic rainbow appeared in the ice crystals of high clouds west of our house. There were a lot of clouds over California and Arizona due to Hurricane Kay, currently making its way up the Baja California Coast.

The weather forecast for us over the next couple of days will be cloudy with possible thundershowers. In California, there are forecasts for flash flooding and high winds that may cross over into Arizona. We’re ready for it, however, having recently gone through our annual monsoon season.

A Neighborly Gesture

Our neighbor to the west had an address placard on her fencepost that, unfortunately, got blown away by one of our famous Arizona Monsoon Thundershowers. She is a schoolteacher and a single woman living in her home. Her brother, who usually does chores around the residence is off to their homeland in Minnesota for the summer. So, we decided to take on the task of restoring her address sign to a readable state again.

We had a can of white paint that I was going to use to touch up the rusted spots on our mailbox stand, so I used a little of it to paint the sign. Bob got some numerals at the hardware store and we placed them on the sign after it dried. In the image above, I am driving in the last of the little tacks that hold the numbers to the wooden sign. This installation should survive many storms in years to come. Click on the image to enlarge.

2022 Cherry Red Cactus Flowers Now Opening

There are several pots in our courtyard containing Trichocereus Grandiflorus cactus (a.k.a. Cherry Red or Torch Cactus). We have been watching a few of the flower buds getting ready to open and today the first ones were out.

We acquired the “parent” cactus several years ago and at one point separated the “mother” from several “pups” which are now planted in their own pots in the courtyard. The one above is a pup with flowers open while the mother is still getting ready to open her flowers.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Daffodils

Each spring (well, almost) the flower concession in the Safeway carries gut daffodils that I bring home to put in a vase to open up into the familiar beautiful flowers. I usually get about twenty stems which open a day or so later. I bought these on Thursday when we were doing grocery shopping. Click on the image to enlarge.