Here's what our group looks like this year.
There are four or five missing. It's impossible to find a day when everyone is there, or makes it to the photo shoot on time. But, this isn't bad.
Mary Lou and I agreed that, no matter how busy we were, we would still take out our animals for one hour a day. I am certified this year on Large Raptor, which means I can take out either a Harris' hawk or a barn owl. We take them out in rotation, and on this day, it was a hawk.
Mary Lou and I try to finish most of our duties by around 3pm, which gives us some time to go explore the grounds, talk to visitors, look for fun and interesting sights, and have a little 'play' time. April is a good time to see butterflies, as well as their larvae and pupae. Right now, the Pipevine Swallowtails are abundant in all forms.
These handsome guys are the larvae, feeding happily on pipevines,
Soon they will be forming a chrysalis and undergoing the amazing metamorphosis that will allow them to emerge in a totally new form. Here's what the chrysalis looks like:
Pipevines have a strange little flower called the pipe.
Which is then followed by this fruit.
With our lack of rain and warm weather, everything seems to be happening a little earlier this year, like the cactus blooming. All around the grounds, and out in the desert, little hedgehog cacti are sporting their gaudy pink finery, forcing me to stop and get yet another photograph. Hedgehogs are a small, multi-trunked cactus, generally somewhat inconspicuous until bloom time.
Glorious too are the claret cups, which are another form of hedgehog cactus, and are one of the earliest to bloom. They are just about finished now, but this one waited for me.
The Museum grounds are alive with dozens of species of blooming flowers, and it is inspiring to just stroll through the gardens and various habitats and take in the amazing palette.
Here are just a few more. Fairy Duster, yellow primrose, blackfoot daisy and California buckwheat.
Lastly, we stopped by to see the coatis, and watched a young Cooper's hawk watching us.
Ahhh, no wonder I long to spend the entire day out on the Museum grounds talking to visitors and just enjoying the theater. Soon, very soon, I'll be able to do that. At my age, however, I do not wish to speed up time. So I will enjoy every day as a docent at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, no matter what it brings.
May every day be one you treasure.