Archive for Critters

Beethoven Is Ten Today

Bay Bay at 10Happy Birthday to our beloved Beethoven (a.k.a “Bay Bay”) who is ten years old today. He is the youngest of the two Miniature Pinchers that run our household. We adopted him about eight and a half years ago and, needless to say, is a beloved family member.

Image: Bay Bay at 10 - click to enlarge

As older dogs go, he is still very alert and seems happy most of the time. Of course, he is showing some signs of having joint pain and has turned grey in his face. He loves to sit with his “parents” watching TV and being wrapped in a warmed-up blanket. We hope he is having a good day.

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It’s Almost Wintertime And The Bees Are Still Buzzing

Cactus Flowers and a Bee

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are less than two weeks from the official start of winter. Regardless of that fact, and the unusually colder weather happening everywhere else in the country, here in Wickenburg, we are enjoying our usual mild temperatures with highs in the 60’s or 70’s.

This Bishop’s Cap Cactus in the courtyard had a couple of open flowers today. I took this photo of the cactus while a bee was browsing for pollen. The cacti aren’t the only source for pollen in as much as the Rosemary shrubs behind the RV Drive still are producing flowers. You can see the bees browsing them as well.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Turkey Buzzards’ Farewell

Turkey Buzzards

Now that Summer has abruptly ended (a 20° drop in daily high temperature since the first day of Fall), the Turkey Buzzards (Vultures) have been showing signs of migrating south for the Winter. Today, there were several circling overhead (as they generally do) and these two came to roost on the ridge just to the west of our back yard. It’s as if they dropped in to say adios as they head to Mexico. They will return sometime in the Spring of 2020.

More about Turkey Vultures from Wikipedia:

The Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation.

We look forward to seeing the Buzzards in the Spring when their return signals warmer weather ahead for us. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Roadside Wildlife in Colorado and Wyoming

antelope-herd-grazing.jpg

We’ve had several sightings of wildlife as we traveled across the West on our trip. We see the usual horses, cattle goats and sheep in rural areas, but we also have seen bears, deer and this small herd of antelope. The latter were grazing along a stream near one of the highways on which we traveled. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Dogs Relaxing in the Motorhome

Dogs Relaxing

The puppies (they will always be puppies to us) get a little tense (a lot?) when we go on a road trip, but they soon accept it for what it is - a doggie adventure. When they get back in the motorhome they get a snack and then they relax.

Beethoven is sitting on the sofa top while Cabela seems to be quite relaxed herself. They have done this vacation routine many times before and will be OK with it, but VERY glad and excited to get back home.

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Hummingbird and Red Bird

Hummingbird Browsing Red Bird of Paradise Flowers

After a recent rainfall, several hummingbirds can be seen browsing the Red Bird of Paradise Flowers in the courtyard here. I managed to capture this photo of one of the tiny birds as it was sipping nectar from one of the brightly colored flowers on the Pride of Barbados shrub nearest the Plum Tree by the gate.

Canon T6i camera settings: 1/1600 second, F5.6, ISO 640, Focal Length 135mm.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Butterfly and Red Bird Flowers

Butterfly and Red Bird Flowers

A beautiful butterfly came into the courtyard this morning and was busily browsing the flowers on our Red Bird of Paradise (a.k.a. Pride of Barbados) shrubs. All three of the courtyard Red Birds now have flowers, so the little guy had a good selection to browse.

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.

Caesalpina pulcherrima is the national flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the upper left and right corners of the Queen Elizabeth II’s personal Barbadian flag. Claire Waight Keller included pride of Barbados to represent the country in Meghan Markle’s wedding veil, which included the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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