|Hummer hovering over flowering saguaro|
Springtime in the desert often brings gusty winds caused by pressure ridging across the southwest. Today is especially nasty with the strong winds bringing dust so intense that we cannot see the mountains only a mile away. So, it must be a day to work on the blog.
The end of April was crazy busy with preparations and company in town for my niece's wedding. So there were bridal teas, dinners, brunches, garden tours and more. Although my niece, Amy, and her new husband live in Tucson, everyone else was from out of town, including all of my family. My house thus became the base of operations. It was wonderful to see them all, but stressful too. Especially having 13 people at the bridal tea sitting at my dining table, with room for half that many. On the weekend, the weather looked to be questionable, but turned out perfect on the day of the ceremony.
Nesting and migrating birds fill the yard and the neighborhood. Up the street, the Harris' hawks have chicks in the nest high up in a big eucalyptus. Harris' hawks are a social species, living year around in family groups. All the members participate in the nesting process by guarding the nest and helping to feed the chicks.
By my front door, an Anna's hummingbird chose this location for her nest. Apparently she didn't really think it through, as all the traffic in and out of our front door caused her to soon abandon the nest without laying eggs.
Tiny Gambel's quail chicks scurry after mom and dad very soon after hatching. Precocial is the term for ground-nesting birds who are ready to travel almost immediately, with feathers and eyes open. I don't think this brood was hatched in the yard, but it might have been. Often, there are up to 13 or 15 chicks in a brood, but with a high rate of mortality, perhaps 2 or 3 will survive to adulthood.
The saguaro cactus are now in full bloom, the sweet flowers attracting pollinators such as cactus bees and white-winged doves. It was a first for me to see this hummingbird feeding repeatedly from a saguaro flower.
Between all the wedding events, my sister and I found time to do a little hike to some ancient petroglyphs, and then to the adjoining Saguaro National Park.
Here's hoping all your spring days are filled with color and beauty!