Posts Tagged ‘Sonoran desert mornings’

While it’s exciting to hike new trails, it’s just as satisfying to see the blossoms of a saguaro grow and blossom with the passing days. — Photo by Pat Bean

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

These days, my pre-dawn walks with my canine companion Scamp, who wakes me and won’t consider letting me go back to sleep, are mostly limited to short treks around my Catalina Foothills apartment complex here in Tucson.

Even so, I enjoy the walks and usually find something new and interesting to see on them, like the toad Scamp

Resident juvenile great horned owls from a couple years past sitting on the top of one of the apartment buildings. — Photo by Pat Bean

scared out of the bushes last week. “You don’t want to mess with that,” I told him as I pulled him away.

For the past couple of months, I’ve also been frequently sighting two juvenile great horned owls, that are the offspring of our resident great horns. As they’ve matured, the sightings have become less frequent. They’re learning that we homo sapiens aren’t always safe to be around.

But I suspect there will be more unafraid young owls to watch next year. Of the eight years, I’ve lived in the complex, I’ve seen baby owls six of them.

This year’s young owls, meanwhile, have taken an interest in my downstairs neighbor’s chihuahua Ginger, who weighs just about nothing. “I stand over her while she does her business,” my neighbor says, “and keep an eye out for those dang owls.”

I don’t have to worry about Scamp as he weighs about 40 pounds and is quite rambunctious besides. So, when I do see the owls, I simply go into bird-watching mode, a hobby I took up 20 years ago. While the owls didn’t show up during this morning’s walk, I did get to watch a gila woodpecker, sitting atop a saguaro, the one whose blossoms I have been daily tracking for the past two weeks.

And it’s a rare day when I don’t see doves, both mourning and white-winged species. The smaller mourning doves

A white-winged dove keeping an eye on Scamp and me as we walk past. — Photo by Pat Bean

sleep on the ground and Scamp is always trying to sneak up on them. He enjoys chasing after the doves, well until the leash pulls him up short.

While my morning walks aren’t as exciting as they were when I was traveling around the country in a small RV, and every few days would have new territory to explore, I’m fortunate to live next door to a bit of undeveloped desert full of wildlife, including javelinas, roadrunners, coyotes, quail, and even a bobcat or two.

Such encounters, at a safe distance from some of them of course, almost make me glad that Scamp insists on getting me out of bed at o’dark-hundred.

Bean Pat: To Caroline Randall Williams for her eye-opening essay in the New York Times on why the southern monuments are a slap in the face to Blacks. It offered this southern white girl, who has never considered herself racist, a better understanding of the inequities of the past and the present. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/confederate-monuments-racism.html

Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon.


Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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