Singing Soaptree Stalks

A curve-billed thrasher sings from a soaptree yucca flower stalk on a sunny winter morning on the Brown's Ranch Road trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in January 2020

When I think of flower stalks I think of the delicate stems of the wildflowers I’d see on hikes through most of my life, like daisies or columbine or fairly slippers. The soaptree yucca, on the other hand, has a towering stalk that’s thick at the base like a tree limb before tapering into thin branches at the top. Even so it is a testament to how impossibly light birds are that this bedraggled thrasher only slightly depressed its perch as it sang on a sunny winter morning.

I, Cat Bed

Our cat Boo sleeps on my legs while I rest on the couch, taken on the morning of Christmas Eve in December 2019

I’ve posted a similar picture of Boo before and while this one is from Christmas Eve I could have taken many more like it, as since the fall our sometimes snuggler has been my constant companion. Sometimes sleeping on my legs or behind my head, his favorite is to wedge himself in tight between me and the edge of the couch, where he sleeps now. He’s always changed his sleeping positions over time, and I suspect when the long Phoenix winter relents and releases its icy grip he will return to more southerly regions, with their view from Boo Boxes of backyard birds and the mountains beyond. Until then I’ll enjoy every minute with our philosopher goofball, even if it makes for a crowded couch when all three cats come calling.

Morning Greetings

In the blue light before the sun was up, a northern mockingbird perches on the flower stalk of a soaptree yucca at the Brown's Ranch Trailhead in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in February 2020

With a headache not yet relenting I was delighted to be greeted as soon as I stepped off the parking lot by the songs of a mockingbird, perched on the flower stalk of a soaptree yucca. Technically the sun had risen but it would be a little while before it cleared the mountains and bathed us in its warm light. For now the mocker and I enjoyed the cool and the blue of the waking desert. I tore myself away in time to reach my target for the morning, a ladder-backed woodpecker, just as the sun arrived.

A black-and-white version of a northern mockingbird perching on the flower stalk of a soaptree yucca at the Brown's Ranch Trailhead in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in February 2020