Monday, April 7, 2014

Across Five April

No, that's not a typographical error. It's a play on the novel titled 'Across Five Aprils'. A beautiful, sad story about the Civil War.

 My title simply refers to the date, April 5th... and the vistas I was blessed to look 'Across' on that date while on a long, desert hike with my husband. The very best Saturday mornings are the ones we go exploring in the outdoors. I love it! (despite the potential bee swarms, scorpion stings, and rattle snakes!) Spring is fast warming up and many blooms have now faded and set seed. But, new species are budding and blooming in their place. It was a breezy, puffy cloud dotted, blue sky day, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We estimate we hiked about 5 to 7 miles (maybe even more!), and we both took pictures to help capture the mornings loveliness. Here are a few of mine...
To make sure we got some 'exercise' out of our time, we headed up some steep hills. 

Foreground rocks.. volcanic or granite?  In the distance the Estrella mountain range.

A blooming shrub I've finally been able to identify!  Range Ratany (what on earth does that mean?)

A saguaro cactus mutation, these are rare to find.

King of the hill.  Soon after this was taken, he spotted a coyote scrambling into the wash.

The past several weeks I've hiked repeatedly through a less traveled canyon, and I have heard a single bird singing a beautiful call that I'd not heard before.  Every time I have gotten close to where I might be able to identify the bird, she/he has gone quiet, or flown swiftly away to where I can't find him again.   

But on this day, while Ron and I were out in an area we've never hiked before, I heard this same birdsong.  Determined to id the singer, I slowly worked my way toward the singing and was able to use the nice zoom capabilities of my camera to spot and id him at last.  :)  I wondered if it were one of the many sparrows that live in the Sonoran, and I was right... it turned out to be the black-throated sparrow.  This is the first time I've seen one, he sang and sang, even when I'm sure he noticed me creeping up.  I only managed to get one shot of him in focus... through the limbs of an old dead tree.

(You can hear his sweet song here;  )

Black throated sparrow
Fully open blossom of the Teddy-bear Cholla. 

The first open blooms I've seen this year on a Saguaro.  The buds have appeared so quickly!
The colors of flaming ocotillo and a distant palo verde's yellow flowers.  

Soon the blooms will be parched by the summer heat... but even a desert plants bones hold beauty!
In the backyard our wild sunflowers are blooming madly and providing a feast for the local goldfinch community... precisely why I gathered seeds and planted them!  :)  

Have a sunshiney, bright daisy kind of May 31st!  

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