Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring in the low desert

Spring has sprung in the low desert of the southwest. With no transition from the near-freezing nights, we suddenly find ourselves basking in mid-70s temps, with poppies, daisies, and lupine proclaiming spring's arrival. Thanks to the December rains this year, we will enjoy a stellar wildflower season.

Birds are also in full swing "doing their thing": lots of hot lovin' among the Gambel's Quail, Greater Roadrunners, Gila Woodpeckers, Burrowing Owls, and the rest. As I type, a male Black-tailed Gnatcatcher is giving his squeaky-scratchy "ssssshhhhh!" to a too-close towhee, and the bully-ish Cactus Wrens (our largest North American wren species) have begun scolding my kitties simply for sitting on the deck -- male territorialism run amuck. While the confrontational "attitude" from the Cactus Wren is a bit comical, male bravado in general produces some of nature's most recognized and celebrated images, such as this, this, this, and this. (Endless opportunities for yuk-yuks at the male [Homo sapiens] expense; I'm deleting as much as I type here.)

Soon the snakes will be sunbathing during mid-day (if not already). Not long after, perhaps by April, the scorpions will be out in early evening. I can hardly wait to post on that.

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