Aug 20 2014

New Nesters

Melissa Crytzer Fry

For years, we have watched hooded orioles attempt to build in our LED lights. And for years, strands of building ‘materials’ dangled unfettered with no real progress. Each time, the orioles moved on.

But this year, things changed. Take a peek at the phenomenal nest-building process, and visit our Oriole Cam for real-time, periodic snapshots of mama with her babies.

July 30. This is the most activity we've ever seen by mama oriole.

August 1. Look at that build-up. Click to enlarge.

August 16. I had been away from home for two weeks and came back to this! Click to enlarge.

August 16. And look what's inside: speckled eggs! Click to enlarge.

August 17. Mama oriole checking on the kids. Click to enlarge.

August 18. Looky! Babies hatched (we think we see two) right after I returned home. Click to enlarge.

Enjoy Oriole Cam over the next few weeks as the babies grow. I know I will!

Jul 27 2014

Summer Sights

Melissa Crytzer Fry

Despite being busy with a full freelance schedule, I’ve kept my eyes open and my camera shutter fluttering. Among the sights and visitors to our desert abode in July have been:

Any meteorologists out there who can identify these clouds? Trained Weather-Spotter Hubby and I have never seen a sky like this before (July 26). Click to enlarge.

A baby desert tortoise visited under the breezeway on hubby’s birthday, July 16. Look at those angled legs! Click to enlarge.

It was a night of magic in the desert July 11 as the Night-Blooming Cereus (The Queen of the Night) unfurled for her singular eve of bloom. This is friend Roxanne’s plant, as all of mine dropped their blooms early (boo). Click to enlarge.

These puffy clouds behind a fruiting saguaro were a welcome sight on July 2, denoting the arrival of monsoon season. With the severe drought we’ve experienced, we were more than ready. Click to enlarge.

A wildfire that began June 17 continued to burn in the mountains in front of our home, captured in this photo on July 6. More than 14,000 acres were claimed, and the fire – only with relief from the monsoon that finally came – ceased in mid-July.

Check out this video that hubby took of lightning during our first monsoon storm:

I didn’t realize as I was taking this photograph on July 4 that this lizard had a regrown tail. Remember the post I wrote about a similar spiny lizard whose tail had begun to regenerate? Wonder if this is the same guy? Click to enlarge.

Another view of the same sky in the first photo. Note the angles and sharp edges at the left, converging; those are two different cloud fronts meeting one another above the mountains. Click to enlarge.

As usual, we are going to the birds. This hooded oriel and his mate have been hanging around the past few days under the breezeway attempting to build nests. They join an ADDITIONAL two dove babies, a second batch of Say’s Phoebes, a hummingbird mama who laid one egg and abandoned it, a nesting pair of cactus wrens, a pair of hissing barn owls, a roadrunner, and a cardinal pair visiting with regularity. Click to enlarge.