Friday night was so beautiful here in Tucson that when Gus got home from work early I suggested we take a drive through Saguaro National Park before the sunset. I quickly grabbed my bins and camera, then we hopped in Gus’ convertible, put the top down, and headed for the park. I think we got in just before they closed the gates for the night. While Gus drove slowly around the 8 mile loop road I looked out over the desert enjoying the evening glow. While there were not many birds to be seen, I did notice what looked like a stick on the edge of the road as we rounded a corner.
I have lived here long enough to know that the stick was probably a rattlesnake. So Gus slowed down, backed up, and looked in his rearview mirror. Sure enough it was a snake! I carefully and quietly got out of the car and reached in for my bins and camera. Keeping the car between myself and the snake, I snapped off a few pictures.
Though at first I thought this was a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake I was soon to discover that it was a Black-tailed Rattlesnake distinguished by the uniformly black tail.
I could see a bulge in the middle of the snake’s length and couldn’t help but wonder if it had eaten recently. We hoped the snake would get off the road by either finishing crossing the road or heading back the other way. At one point it seemed like it was going back into the desert, but then it turned back onto the warm road once again. If it had just eaten I suspect it needed the warmth of the road to help it digest its food, since snakes are cold-blooded and regulate their body temperature by their surroundings. They need to be warm enough for the digestion to function. In the end we just drove off and hoped that no one else would drive over the snake. We had passed one other car just before this. Hopefully they would drive carefully, aware of the wildlife.
It was the perfect night for a drive.
Well, life likes to throw curve balls at you and keep you off balance. Yesterday was one of those days for me. After three years of being engaged my daughter and her fiancé have decided to quit waiting until they have enough money for a wedding. She called me yesterday to tell me they are getting married in Colorado on November 3rd. They hope to get married at local park. She says “It is no big deal.” But it IS a big deal! So Gus and I are now making plans to attend and my mind is in a whirl!
Randy and Renee met each other 10 years ago when we first moved to Livermore Falls, ME. They were both seniors in high school and they graduated together the next June. We had a joint graduation party at our house there. When Gus, Renee and I moved back to Utah, Randy soon followed us there. The two of them moved into an apartment together and later moved to Colorado, which is where they currently reside. Now they have been together for 10 years! These pictures were taken 2 summers ago at their Wedding Shower in Maine. I have not seen my daughter since then, so these are the most recent pictures I have, but I’ll be getting new ones at the wedding in a week and a half! Congratulations Renee and Randy! I’m glad you pulled the trigger on this one!
My other reason to Celebrate is that Mom just passed her one year anniversary of her breast cancer operation. Her newest mammogram shows no return of the cancer so she is currently cancer free! Congratulations Mom on your One Year Anniversary as a Breast Cancer Survivor! I am so glad that you are still here with me and I cannot wait to see your smiling face here in Tucson. I hope you can buy some train tickets to come see me soon!
Last week my wild desert broom blossomed at the back of the yard. It was covered in a variety of butterflies. While I am good at identifying birds, I have little to no knowledge of butterfly ID, so if you know what these are (Doug Taron, Chris Rohrer or anyone else) please tell me! 10-24-12 Thanks Doug!
Many Thanks to Doug Taron for the butterfly IDs!
Of course, with all the butterflies, I am still seeing birds!
Beyond this point, there be DRAGONS!
I’ve been wanting to take its picture and try to identify it.
Finally it showed itself!
He is a Desert Spiny Lizard!
For those of you who read yesterday’s post about seeing the Tennessee Warbler in my back yard, well today I got another surprise when an actual Orange-crowned Warbler finally showed up in the yard! Yes, I checked! It did have YELLOW under tail coverts! That makes yard bird number 29! My yard list just keeps growing even though I only see about 6 to 8 regular species! For me, this is the fun of bird watching. I like the surprises.
P.S. I will update the info on species as I get it!