Curve Billed Thrasher

Curve Billed Thrasher

I was up on the hill behind the house looking at some of the vegetation up there when a Curve Billed Thrasher lit atop the bird block feeder. I had my camera and 300mm lens with me so I took several shots of the bird before it flew away.

Wikipedia has this information on this interesting species:

The curve-billed thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) is a medium-sized mimid that is a member of the genus Toxostoma, native to the southwestern United States and much of Mexico. Referred to as the default desert bird, it is a non-migratory species. Several subspecies have been classified since 1827, though there is no consensus on the number. Allopatric speciation is believed to have played a major role in the variations of the curve-billed. It shares striking similarities in appearance with another Toxostoma member, Bendire’s thrasher. Nevertheless, it is recognized for its grey color and sickle-shaped bill. It generally resides in desert regions of the United States and Mexico, but can inhabit areas predominately populated by humans.

The demeanor of the curve-billed has been described as “shy and rather wild”, but it allows humans to view it closely. It is very aggressive in driving out potential threats, whether competitors for food or predators of its chicks. The curve-billed thrasher sometimes mimics several other species, though not to the extent of other mimids. It has a variety of distinctive songs, and this extensive repertoire of melodies has led it to be known as cuitiacoache (songbird) in Mexico.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Hassayampa River Flowing

Hassayampa River Flowing

I cropped this panoramic image of the Hassayampa River from a shot that Verna took from the bridge on Friday. Normally, the river is dry above the surface at this time of year, but a couple of weeks ago we had some rainfall and snow in the mountains which is, apparently, still melting off.

Shortly after the rainstorms, this part of the river was full bank to bank with whitecaps and rapids. The water flow is diminished now and will eventually dry up until the summer monsoon season.

Click on the panoramic image to view full size.

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Spring Flowers Around Our House

Spring Flowers Around Our House

I love it here in the desert all year around, but the spring flowers blooming might be my favorite time. This is some of the flower activity now showing in our garden.

At the top, a bright pink beavertail cactus flower opened up today. Below from left to right are golden barrel cactus flower, a lemon blossom in the “orchard” and an ocotillo flower bud just sprouting from the top of one of the canes. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Desert Wildflowers

Desert Wildflowers

One of the best things about spring is the desert wildflowers. We had just barely passed out of town limits on our way to California today when I saw this patch of poppies and other wildflowers along the roadside.

There were wildflowers all along the route to Palm Desert today and a brief point when passing between Chiriaco and Cactus City where we saw lots of beavertail cactus bright pink flowers. We didn’t get any sharp images of those, but we will eventually, since there are plenty of beavertails with flower buds at home.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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Cactus Flower Buds

Cactus Flower Buds

One of the cacti in the courtyard has developed three flower stalk buds. This will be the second spring for us to enjoy the hot pink flowers produced by this cactus. Last year, it had about nine flowers over a period of a couple of weeks.

Of course, I will post flower pictures when they open up probably in April. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Daffodils

Daffodils
Spring flowers are popping up everywhere here in Wickenburg. Last week, I purchased several bundles of daffodils and put them in a vase. This morning, they had all opened up. I took this picture of them at the breakfast table. Click on the image to enlarge.

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After Dinner Walks

Local Scenery

When we take our walks after a big meal, we are lucky to live in a town where the desert environment provides a very pleasant array of scenery. One path we take goes by a little hill with many mature saguaro cacti. At the end of that path we can see the mountain ranges across the Hassayampa Valley. Just north of the path is the street where one of the home owners has installed a waterfall feature along the frontage of their property.

Click on the composite image to enlarge.

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