The photo above is the full moon of May, often called the Full Flower Moon by Native Americans, although my favorite name comes from the Sioux: the Ponies Shedding Moon.
And do they ever. There’s nothing quite like being outside at midnight brushing shedding winter coats under a moon so bright the horses throw shadows. It’s so relaxing; I have to keep reminding myself to stay alert so I don’t get stepped on.
With the geldings munching hay, however, they barely notice my presence unless the bristles locate an especially itchy spot.
When I’m done grooming, I’m covered in horse hair of all different colors, and left to chase little clouds of hair (stripped from the brush as I go along) around the corral. Those I miss, the birds will incorporate into their nests. Nothing in the desert gets wasted.
The Spring sky.
Saguaros in silhouette (and throwing fruit. Seriously. One bonked me on the head while I was setting up the photographs. Roll your cursor over the photographs for captions).
I especially love Spring in the desert. Everything that flies, creeps or crawls appears with mini-carbon copies of themselves, the mothers showing off their babies like proud humans. Even the scorpion, usually an object of fear and aversion, looks sweet carrying her babies on her back. (Although she isn’t sweet at all, of course. Any babies that overstay their welcome are destined to be killed and eaten by the cantankerous female scorpion. And she’s quick; before I could snap her photo, she was gone. )
However, here’s a photo of another scorpion that climbs the rafters of our covered porch. Freak-out factor? A solid TEN.
From the porch, life that usually goes on behind the scenes is actively renewing itself — flowers blooming and fading, followed by the swell of fruit that feeds everything from insects to coyotes to birds. Lightening-fast lizards with speed-of-light babies scurry through the yuccas or cling to the garden walls, high up toward the top and quite out of reach of our overly-excited terriers, who find it high treason.
There are so many birds that I keep the radio off to listen to their songs and chatter, a world of their own going on above our heads until they touch down to peck at tiny hay seeds in the sand, steal kibbles from the dogs’ bowls, or share a drink at the horses’ water buckets.
Camera in hand, and hot on the trail of interesting sights, I’ve come across birds’ nests in the most ingenious places:
This nest remains intact inside the skeleton of a saguaro. Usually, all you can see to indicate a nest are these holes:
There was another interesting nest I found quite by accident, as I was preparing to open a new bale of hay. Nestled in the back and ringed with newborn, fuzzy feathers was a nest of:
Gambel’s Quail eggs. (Callipepla gambelii)
The baby quail are the cutest things around. No larger than gumballs, they follow behind their mother in a single-file line, looking like a string of pearls snaking left and right.
And there are more nests — come join me for A Bird’s Eye View … Part Two, or, Cooped In The Hen House By A Thirsty Javelina.
In the meantime, may the Muse of Creativity be kind to you.
(Photos by Emily Murdoch)