Happy Earth Day – An Oriole Lands And Takes Off

Happy Earth day.

An Oriole lands briefly in the blooming Palo Verde tree and just as quickly as it came, it takes off.

I had my camera in hand because I was trying to catch photos of the bright red cardinal at the water fountain.  The cardinal has been visiting daily.

I was lucky to catch these photos (4/20/2013) because they will remind me of my sister’s

JouJou and Y
JouJou and Y

visit and the times we spent sitting on the back patio sipping coffee (her) and tea (me) and tanning our feet while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Sonoran Desert.

Although her visit was brief, much like the visits of the Oriole and the Cardinal, the memories are colorful and leave an impression on my heart … and, a lot of new shoes in my already overcrowded closet.

If I had to pick a word that captures the visit, it would have to be Mamamango.

On Different Days

The fountain in the backyard has been broken but there’s still a plethora of wildlife that visits daily; like this female cardinal.

I’m glad.

I was really worried when the pump quit about 15 days ago and I ordered a replacement immediately.  The pump was a used hand-me-down from a friend and after having repaired it twice in the last year, I guess its end was inevitable.

In the meantime, I think the visitors have been trying to tell me not to stress.  Two days after I caught a picture of the female, this bright red male cardinal came calling.  He hung out at the fountain for quite some time, but I only managed to snag a photo of him after he tried to hide in the mesquite just past the palo verde.

I guess this weekend will be pump replacement day.  Fingers crossed the cold wind we’ve been having will take a rest long enough for me to get the job done.

Sonoran Desert Up Close and Personal

The snake was caught in the chicken wire of the garden gate.  In hindsight, I figured it was trying to leave after realizing that the tiny mouse that was caught in the have-a-heart live trap would not be hers.

It was 6:30 in the morning when I stepped down to my garden to feed the chickens and caught sight of the Arizona diamondback.  Of course it rattled just in case I would miss it.  I knew it was going to be a strange day.  The chickens (all four of them – I quickly counted!) may not get fed for some time.

Rattler at my garden gate caught in chicken wire

The first thing I did was to get the dog back into the house which was a bit tricky because she was on the other side of the snake and I had to make sure she did not cross the snake’s path a second time…

After I snapped a few quick photos, I called my neighbor who is my partner in animal rescue and relocation.  To date, we have taken care of a few rattlers, a bat, birds, bunnies … and of course our animals.   My favorite was rounding up her horses when they got loose.

Today however, I was not sure… I mean, to free the snake, we will need get really close to it to cut the chicken wire from around its belly.  Yikes.  It was definitely an Arizona Diamondback – a dangerous rattlesnake.

Here is a view of the rattler’s tail

I must admit, that I started to set my intention and visualize it relaxing its muscles… I did not want to get up close and personal with this one.  She was panicked and upset.

The first thing I did was to post a sign because I was afraid that my brother-in-law who is visiting from England may not see it on his way to the garden…

… I knew I needed to relax myself and so I continued with the meditation and visualizations… and by the time I had changed into my thick work pants tucked into my heavy leather work boots, long sleeved denim shirt and leather gloves, and returned, the snake was free!  YES!!!

That was when my brother-in-law showed up and almost failed the snake spotting test.  A mistake anyone could have made…

When my neighbor came, we continued to watch the snake and debate on whether we should relocate it.  We decided to just keep an eye on it and see what it did on its own.  We had the snake loop ready should it decide to go towards the patio instead of the desert.  We also decided to release the mouse that attracted the snake in the first place.

I still had my camera strapped to my hand, and I caught a short clip of a cardinal in the tree.  Classic Cave Creek morning.

After running some errands, enjoying the cooler than normal and overcast weather, I returned home to find out that the snake had dissapeared (on my brother-in-law’s watch).  This was not a good thing since he did not see where it had gone and we would need to be extra careful until we spot it again.

And then it happened, out of nowhere, we got hail!  Yes. In Cave Creek, on October 5th, 2010.

The amount of rain was incredible… I went outside to investigate.

It’s hard to believe that this post covers a time period of less than 8 hours.  I love Cave Creek Arizona!

Thirsty Cardinal

The cardinals came to drink at the fountain today.  The female was clever and did not allow me the opportunity to get a good picture.  But the male as you can see is such a poser.