Saturday, June 14, 2014

Early Mornings in Arizona

I've never been an early morning kind of person--except when I'm jet-lagging. Arriving back in the States via a five day stop over in Arizona, Dear Husband and I struggled to overcome our bodies' tendency to awake no later than 4 a.m. each morning. Five a.m. was sleeping in. The positive thing about rising so early is that early is just the right time to go for a walk in Arizona in the summertime.

Heading out the front door for a walk as the sun comes up--not my usual M.O., but I enjoyed it!

My dear in-laws live in a quiet sub-division near Phoenix, and just outside of the subdivision city planners have left a swath of land between two streets, running the length of several neighborhood blocks, as a sort of suburban nature reserve. All sorts of cacti, the likes of which I've never seen before, have been planted there, and the reserve is home to ground squirrels, rabbits, lizards--to name the fauna we saw during our walks--as well as many types of birds.

I was fascinated by the giant Saguaro cacti, often growing in peoples' front yards. Nearly every cactus had a cooing mourning dove (or two) sitting atop it and/or a woodpecker pecking it.

Mourning Dove

I learned a few names of the fascinating cacti flora. Let's see how many I can remember:

This is a prickly pear; I think it is designated as rose-colored, but I can't remember exactly...

Candlestick Cactus

Beaver Tail Cactus

I pointed out this heart-shaped cactus to Dear Husband as we walked along together--sweet!

Joshua Tree

Flowering Prickly Pear (I think). So pretty.

Senita Cactus

I was captivated by the teddy-bear cholla cactus. This is definitely not a cactus you'd want to cuddle up to!

The rosy-cheeked lovebirds were the prettiest birds that I observed  during my few days in Arizona.

This large lizard was nicely camouflaged among the twigs and dirt.

Saguaro flower--Arizona's state flower