Sometimes it seems everything in the desert is waiting to stab you in one way or the other but here too softness abounds, bounding on all fours.
Sam and Trixie rest after an afternoon of birdwatching at the window. With the heat finally breaking we can open the windows, Trixie, Sam, and Boo are watching quail outside my window now. It pains me on many levels that Emma died young and never made it to Arizona, all of the cats loved watching wildlife but none as much as Em. I suspect we would have had to put her in a straitjacket as the antics of the large families of quail that come to feed would have overloaded her with excitement. What sounds she would have made to welcome her visitors!
The name “Phainopepla” (pronounced fay-no-PEP-la) comes from the Greek for “shining robe,” a fitting characterization of the shiny black plumage of the males, at least on a sunny day. However on this overcast morning last December the soft diffuse light showed off the details in his feathers. They’ve been gone all summer but I gather will be back in the next month or so. We didn’t see them at the rental house but will see them here, though this lovely fellow was on the nearby Marcus Landslide Trail.
I nicknamed this jumble of rocks The Lizard Rocks when I first saw them, though I saw no lizards there. It just seemed like they should be there, though I was new to Arizona and not really sure where lizards would want to live. They aren’t large rocks and it’s not a large formation, I suppose my initial fascination came from it being a nice place on a favorite trail to stop for a drink as it’s nestled into a kink on the trail with room to step out of the unsighted path of cyclists and horses. It took me a while but I did eventually start seeing them, on this spring morning I saw at least six lizards from three different species. This ornate tree lizard was the first I saw, I took some closeups but also pulled back to give a bit of flavor of the place he calls home.
While he has his favorites Boo enjoys trying out new sleeping spots so you can never quite be sure where you’ll find him. Yesterday morning when I got back from my hike he was under my wife’s desk, serenaded by the birds on the other side of the wall. Thankfully he has bounced back from Ellie’s death, he took to her from the start and especially enjoyed sneaking under her when she got up from a dog bed, reveling in the warmth left behind. I don’t know how we made it six years with him never getting squished as sometimes she wasn’t getting up but rather shifting positions, but thankfully it was never an issue.