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Vulture Peak on a Rainy Day

Vulture Peak on a Rainy Day

On our way out of the Fly-in and Classic Car Show today, I took this photo of Vulture Peak. There were rain showers all around and would soon begin raining here in Town. This photo shows the peak in an uncharacteristic backlit condition with dark clouds overhead and lighter ones to the south, behind the mountain range.

Vulture Peak is the highest point in the Vulture Mountain Range.

The Vulture Mountains are about 29 miles (47 km) long, and east of center, about 13 miles (21 km) wide; the range is somewhat crescent shaped, mainly trending east–west, and narrowing westwards. The northeast is followed by the course of a southeast stretch of the Hassayampa River; the river turns due-south west of Morristown, on US 60, making the east terminus of the range about 7 mi wide, at the rivers floodplain. The Hassayampa enters the north of the Hassayampa Plain, so a small river canyon region lies at the Vulture Mountain’s northeast, with the Wickenburg Mountains northeast, and the Hieroglyphic Mountains east.

The high point of the range is Vulture Peak, (3,658 feet (1,115 m)),[2] at the center east of the range. Another major peak anchors the west region of the range, Black Butte, at 3,612 feet (1,101 m)).

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Harris’s Hawk

Hawk in Flight

Perched on Flagpole

I noticed a large bird in the Mesquite tree up by the bird feeders while doing dishes in the kitchen. I dried my hands, grabbed my camera and went out to see what it might be. I took the top photo while this juvenile Harris’s Hawk was in flight departing the bird feeder area.

The bottom photo is of another Harris’s Hawk perched on our flagpole. This bird does not have the juvenile speckled feathers on its breast. It flew off shortly after this photo and joined five other Harris’s hawks on the large power pole and wires across the road from our place. Harris’s Hawks hunt in groups two to seven birds. I guess we have a group that hunts locally now.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Wikipedia says this about these hawks:

This species occurs in relatively stable groups. A dominance hierarchy occurs in Harris’s hawks, wherein the mature female is the dominant bird, followed by the adult male and then the young of previous years. Groups typically include from 2 to 7 birds. Not only do birds cooperate in hunting, they also assist in the nesting process. No other bird of prey is known to hunt in groups as routinely as this species.

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Retirement Anniversary Number Nine

nine.png

Yep, today is the ninth anniversary of retiring from the aerospace mill. Truth be told, I don’t miss it a bit but have occasionally dreamed about being back in the work environment. Mostly hassle dreams where I can’t find my car or someone is being stupid. Reinforcing the notion that I don’t miss it a bit!

I made the Roman numeral nine above with Xara, a 3D graphics app that I have had for years. The text texture is from an image of a stormy and sunny Grand Canyon view I lifted from the Yavapai Point Webcam which looks at a northwestern view of the canyon from that location.

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Second Spring Butterfly

Second Spring Butterfly

Every year since we have been here in Arizona we have experienced what the locals (which includes us now) call “second spring.” Around the official end of summer (autumnal equinox) the temperatures become very spring-like and the flora and fauna react accordingly. Flowers open and butterflies and hummingbirds do their thing.

Late this afternoon, I saw a yellow-spotted black butterfly browsing the Red Bird of Paradise shrubs in the courtyard. I was in the great room at the time, so I grabbed my camera and headed out the front door. Luckily, the butterfly kept on doing what it was doing when I first saw it. I snapped a bunch of pictures of which this was probably the best. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Electric Pepper Mill

Electric Pepper MillWith both of us experiencing discomfort in our hands with osteo-arthritis, we have had difficulty using simple kitchen tools like our traditional pepper grinder. The grasping and twisting motions were difficult for us to dispense fresh ground pepper without experiencing pain. Sure, the pain was minor, but, still it was unpleasant. What could we do to alleviate the pain?

Enter the OPUX Battery-operated Salt and Pepper Grinder Set! Our order arrived today which included two grinders, one for pepper and the other for salt. However, we use a salt shaker for when we dispense salt and seemed to have an extra grinder. But Wait! We could use a battery operated pepper mill for the RV. So Verna installed the batteries in both, loaded them with peppercorns and placed one on our kitchen counter in the house and the other in the galley in the RV. Perfect! Now, with the press of a button, freshly ground pepper is painlessly dispensed on our foodstuffs either at home or on the road.

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Devil’s Tongue Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower

Our Devil’s Tongue cactus had its first open flower today. Flowers open during the Second Spring Arizona pseudo-season. I snapped this in the rock and cactus garden west of the house this morning. Several bees were busily competing for the nectar. One of them is visible in the photo.

Ferocactus latispinus is the binomial nomenclature for what is commonly called the Devil’s Tongue cactus. Wikipedia offers the following information about this cactus:

Ferocactus latispinus is a species of barrel cactus native to Mexico. It grows as a single globular light green cactus reaching the dimensions of 30 cm (12 in) in height and 40 cm (16 in) across, with 21 acute ribs. Its spines range from reddish to white in color and are flattened and reach 4 or 5 cm long. Flowering is in late autumn or early winter. The funnel-shaped flowers are purplish or yellowish and reach 4 cm long, and are followed by oval-shaped scaled fruit which reach 2.5 cm (1 in) long.

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Second Spring Flowers

Cholla Flower

Flower and Bee

The cholla cacti around the property have several late summer flowers opening. This usually means that our second spring has started with milder temperatures and more flowers to come. Click on either image to enlarge.

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