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Posts Tagged ‘gila woodpecker’

Looking across the valley from the undeveloped ridge near my apartment complex where I often take my morning walks, — Photo by Pat Bean

“… an ordinary desert supports a much greater variety of plants than does either a forest or a prairie.” — Ellsworth Hunting

Just a Happy Accident

A gila woodpecker on a saguaro cactus, one of many I see on my walks in the desert. — Photo by Pat Bean

Six years ago, after spending nine years traveling this country full-time in a small RV with my canine companion Maggie, I made a small third-floor apartment in Tucson my home. It was an unplanned move, but the time had come when I wanted a nightly hot bath instead of a skimpy shower; and I wanted the pleasure of a local library. This southeastern Arizona apartment complex had a nice bathtub, was dog friendly with shady places to walk my pet, a library was close by and, just as important, it was affordable.

It also helped that my youngest daughter lived in town, the area was a great place to watch birds, and my new apartment stood in the shadow of the Catalina Mountains, which are comparable in their 10,000-foot elevation to Utah’s Wasatch Mountains, whose shadows I lived in for 25 years before I retired, sold my home and bought my RV — I’m not sure I could ever again live away from mountains. That I found

A Tucson sunset. — Photo by Pat Bean

myself living in the middle of the Sonoran Desert was just a happy accident.

The surprise has been how much I have learned to love the desert, particularly this morning during my early walk with my current canine companion Pepper – after I read about all the snow storms taking place elsewhere in the country.

Life is good – and this old broad is happy and grateful for her many blessings.

Bean Pat: Good signs https://simpletravelourway.wordpress.com/2018/11/26/consider-this/?wref=pil This goes along with my goal of encouraging people to be kind to one another.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is available on Amazon.  She is now working on a book tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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“Earth Laughs in Flowers. ” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

And the Birds Take Notice

This saguaro, which sits in the front yard of my daughter's home, is only about 20 feet tall. That was tall enough, however, for this white-winged dove to feel safe while I took its photo. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This saguaro, which sits in the front yard of my daughter’s home, is only about 20 feet tall. That was tall enough, however, for this white-winged dove to feel safe while I took its photo. — Photo by Pat Bean

The saguaro cactus are blooming here in Tucson. I see them everywhere I look these days.

I photographed this gila woodpecter on a nearby saguaro. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I photographed this gila woodpecter on a nearby saguaro. — Photo by Pat Bean

This  slow-growing cactus can reach heights of 40 or more feet, but it takes a long time  to gain that height. If you see a saguaro that’s over five-feet tall, you can pretty much count on it being at least 50 years old.

This plant is often not much taller than 2 inches at age 10.

Saguaro cacti have one tap root that reaches down through the soil 5 feet or so to find water, but most of this plant’s roots sit barely three inches below he ground.

It’s an amazing plant, and one of the many things I’m coming to like about living in the Sonoran Desert — especially when they attract the birds I love to watch.

Birds, by the way like this plant, too.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Enchantment http://tinyurl.com/ka2bxnw But then I love the magnolia trees, too, which don’t grow in the dry desert. They prefer the humid South.

 

 

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“The bird that would soar above the level plain of tradition and prejudice must have strong wings.” — Unknown

First came the hummingbirds to my nectar feeder. Then one day I looked out and the verdins had come to dinner, too.

Young verdins taking advantage of my nectar feeder. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Young verdins taking advantage of my nectar feeder. — Photo by Pat Bean

Then came another guest. A gila woodpecker.

A hungry gila woodpecker. He drank for about five minutes. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A hungry gila woodpecker. He drank for about five minutes. — Photo by Pat Bean

No wonder my nectar feeder is empty before day’s end.

Bean’s Pat:  Great Friends http://tinyurl.com/mdplxmy It makes me wonder if the hummingbirds had sent out invitations to dinner for their unusual

friends.

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Mourning dove — Photo by Pat Bean

 

If I had things my way, all birds would fly free.

Gambel's quail -- Photo by Pat Bean

Gambel’s quail — Photo by Pat Bean

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou

“A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.

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Gila woodpecker — Photo by Pat Bean

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

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 “Sometimes it’s important to work for that pot of gold. But other times it’s essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.” Douglas Pagels

Travels With Maggie`

A walk around Silverbell Lake helped clear the cobwebs from my crowded brain. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Life caught up with me this past week. Too many miles in not enough days, too many amazing sights and not enough time to linger among them, and only three days to enjoy loved ones before I’m back on the road.

My preferred style of travel – no more than 150 miles a day with a couple of days sitting in between – has been blown to hell in a hand basket, the same one my grandmother said would take me there if I didn’t shape up.

Something had to give. And it did. I stayed off my computer and missed two days of daily blogging.

Instead, I lazed around my youngest daughter’s Tucson home, took Maggie for short walks, enjoyed the company of three grandsons, hiked around Silverbell Lake while everyone else fished, read a lot, and watched the turkey vulture and red-tailed hawks soar above, and doves, rock wrens, curved-bill thrashers, gila woodpeckers, northern flickers and rabbits play among the saguaro cactus.

My daughter, Trish, lives on the outskirts of the city and coyotes and bobcats often visit, she said. As do quail that usually trot past their back porch daily.

My son-in-law, Joe, described them for me, and I suspect they’re Gambel’s quail, although they could just as easily be California quail. Both species have the C-shaped plume dangling forward over the front of their heads.

 

A landscaped yard without grass. Drought-stricken area residents should take note. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I haven’t seen them yet. I think they’re taking a break from their daily routine – like me.

It’s back on the road tomorrow. I’m heading to Texas’ Gulf Coast and a grandson’s wedding. It will be another four days of 300-mile a day drives, although thankfully, well except for the first 50 miles, it will not be freeway driving.

Interstates were something I could not avoid for two entire days on my way from Yosemite to Tucson. It made me never want to go back to California, that and the fact I was paying $4.15 a gallon for gas there. The cost immediately dropped to $3,39 a gallon once I crossed the border into Arizona.

I’ll post pictures nightly of my next four days of driving so you can enjoy the road with me. Just don’t expect me to be too wordy. I’ll save those for later when life has once again slowed down.  

 

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