Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Chronicle

 .  .  . or  that was the week that was.

No Room at the Table
Around 6 in the evening, there is a literal feeding frenzy at the hummingbird feeders, and the birds' normal competitiveness gives way to cooperation.  I now have one feeder in the front of the house, and five in the back.  Each bird has its favorite, but they seem to use them all at various times.  The resident hummers here are Anna's and Costas, but during migration I might also see black-chinned, broad-billed, broad-tailed and rufous.  One time, several years ago, I was even privileged to have a rare violet-crowned spend a couple of weeks in my yard.  

Quite near the hummingbird feeder hangs a hollowed-out gourd that has been used by nesting house finches for several seasons.  Recently I've noticed a female house finch making many forays to the nest and the other day, after seeing her leave, I took a peek inside and saw a little face looking at me.

Baby House Finch in the Nest

The first-to-bloom cactus in my yard is this little claret cup - a form of hedgehog cactus, Echinocereus coccineus (triglochidiatus), and the only cactus in Arizona that is adapted for hummingbird pollination.

It grows naturally on rocky cliffs and gravelly slopes in oak and pine-oak woodlands and mixed conifer forest, so is not common at this elevation.

It's certainly not a great wildflower year, but around the neighborhood I have spotted a variety of blooms.

Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata)
Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa)

Twining Milkweed Vine
Desert Zinnia (Zinnia acerosa)

Fairy Duster (Calliandra eriophylla)
Desert Globemallow
Chicory or maybe Tackstem?

Ocotillo and Carpenter Bee

The beautiful Harris' hawks are seen every day, and appear to be nesting again in the neighborhood, which makes me very happy.  Yesterday a female flew right over me with a meal in her talons.  She landed on a utility pole and commenced dining.  Her companions continued to circle overhead, hoping, perhaps, to share in the meal.  One of the birds was a very different color, so I'm guessing he was still quite young.

Here's hoping your week is full of interesting and beautiful sights!


  1. How delightful!! I just returned from a 2 week camping trip in the woods along the Tx Gulf Coast. Everything is starting to bloom there, too! I had Black-chinned and Buff-bellied Hummers in my site. I'd love to see an Anna's and a Costa's! Hummers make my heart sing.

    1. Oh, my. I've never seen a buff-belied HB, so that would be very exciting for me. Let's trade places for a while!

  2. Great post. I'm just thinking I should see a hummer soon. And my daughter has either that milkweed vine or a close relative on her central Texas property.

  3. What a beautiful week you have had Carole. Love the baby house finch in the gourd and your first cactus bloom is gorgeous!
    Thanks for checking out good-times-rollin.

  4. Beautiful collection of photos :)

  5. The desert flowers are beautiful so are the birds and the bee.


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