Thursday, May 18, 2017

A declaration of love

I know I have married the right guy when he wakes me up excitedly: 'You have to get your camera and get pictures of the Mesquite Tree Cactus - it's performing today!'

With nearly 30 flowers, our climbing Harrisia is really spectacular. It is also getting nearly too heavy for its small nurse Mesquite tree. The sun is not quite up, I need some more light for good photos, but Randy was afraid the flowers would wilt. Our short cold spell seems to be over.

There may be painting inspirations in these photos, but for now, I'm overwhelmed. I need to simplify but how to do that when the beauty is in multitude and profusion?

I know that I definitely married the best possible guy when a couple of hours later, he stands in my studio door (the Phippen Art Show is looming close): 'I hate to keep interrupting you, but you really have to get your camera again!' From his delighted tone, I think it's more flowers, though I also thought I heard him say something about 'very cute and pretty'.  Dove babies? No - they are neither. Baby quail? They would not wait for me to get my camera...

Of course he's right, the rattler at the door of the potting shed is small, pretty and cute. Tightly curled as he is, he would fit the palm of my hand. But Randy says: 'No, don't disturb him'. So we only drop a penny next to him for scale. He puts out a dark purple tongue once and then withdraws to his meditation.

The pattern is amazing. I don't think I've seen one with white eye brows before. The contrast of the pattern all along the body is amazing, maybe he's freshly molted?  We never got a look at tail and rattle because we did not want to disturb him.

When we checked on him an hour later, the penny marked the spot where he had been, now in full sunlight. But the little rattler had withdrawn to what shade remained and curled up even more tightly. Is he going to stay there all day? Or at least until quail or squirrels make so much fuss that he'll indignantly slither off?  Very soon our local snakes will be exclusively night active to avoid the scorching heat of the day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Arizona Butterflies

Poster: Butterflies of Arizona

It's done!

To my insect poster collectors and bug friends: After publishing my first 4 arthropod posters (see below), I have been asked for a butterfly poster more times than I can remember. But there is so much good stuff out on Butterflies ... I was a little intimidated. Now I think I have put together a collection that does justice to the unique diversity of Arizona and at the same time looks beautiful.
Many thanks to Ken Kertell, who allowed me to use a number of his excellent photos!
So I'm introducing my new poster, 'Butterflies of Arizona', with numbered template and corresponding species list
The size is 18 in by 24 in, it is printed on heavy, semigloss art paper with my giclee printer. That's really art print quality, not poster quality, and it will not fade.
Cost: $35 plus shipping. 
Order at, pay through paypal.
 These are also still available, selling separately, of course. Same price as the new one.
Get a 10% discount if you order all 5!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Unusual Warbler - it's migration!

I just saw a 'lifer' right outside my studio window in Picture Rocks, AZ.
Dark head, olive green wings, eye ring flashing in the dark face: an adult male MacGilivray's Warbler
  It was searching for and finding bugs in the Palo Verde that is usually the perch of a pair of Gila Woodpeckers but those are busy raising a brood in a Saguaro right now.
I went outside, but the warbler was gone. Pyrrhuloxia and a Blackheaded Gross-beak in the blooming Ironwood instead. The pair of Kestrels is displaying and flirting above. In May? Did they loose their brood?  The dark Redtail female is faithfully guarding her nest with two or even three chicks

 Rattlers are active day and night right now as the temperatures are creeping up towards three digits. Unfortunately, Bilbo got bitten and then went into hiding. We missed him and searched the neighborhood for hours, until he came finally limping up from the backyard, too late for effective antivenom.

So he got antibiotics and pain pills instead. His paw was oozing and bloated and he touched no food for three days. Was drinking well though. Today he suddenly ravenously chewed down a rib bone from yesterday's dinner followed by a chicken breast. I think he's recovering well now, but still limping. He's been such a smart well trained dog for 12 years, always stayed well away from snakes. But we always had a snake-wise alpha dog o watch out for the others. Since first Cody and then Frodo died the snake barking and avoidance has been less reliable - we heard nothing at all when this happened.