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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

After the Storms

Hitchcock of Hummers
It started raining early in the afternoon yesterday, and we had thunderstorms on and off into the early evening.  In the past year, for some reason, Becca has grown more afraid of thunder.  Oddly enough, when I took her outside at 6:30 p.m. to do her business in the backyard she seemed unafraid of the booming thunder.  Does her fear stem from a feeling of being trapped in the house during a storm?  I had that sensation once--of being trapped by a storm--but it was during a backpacking trip in the White Mountain Wilderness near Ruidoso when I and my two companions had to hurriedly set up a small tent to get out of a downpour.  The tent was too small, it felt very close inside, and the overly-humid air was difficult to breathe.  The only escape was out into the pouring rain, which was not an option.  We spent several claustrophobic hours like that before the storm passed.  The only thing Becca and I had to contend with on our trek this morning was heavy humidity still lingering from yesterday's rain.
Strawberry Pitaya

Devil's Head

Up and up

Tortugas (left) and the Organ Mountains

Ocotillo at the edge of a deep gully

Otra vez

Mad dash

Down the long sandy road

Take me to your leader

Tangle of green

Beehive Nipple Cactus is finally budding out

What one must do periodically in the desert

Not a feather duster nor a carrot



Pitaya (all of the Strawberry variety)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Hummingbird Aggression

Who decides which ones bloom first?
About two-thirds of the way through our morning hike I noticed a male hummingbird displaying aggressive behavior toward another hummer, performing that aerial acrobatic act of flying high into the air and then swooping down to buzz the other male, continuing past and jetting into the air again before making the pendulum-swing dive bomb once more.  When Hummer #1 succeeded in chasing off the second male he perched on a branch and let me photograph him several times.  He soon started the aggressive behavior towards me, though, and I found it frighteningly exhilarating as he buzzed past me several times while I imagined him suddenly losing control and plunging into my forehead beak first like a dart into the bullseye of a dart board.
Getting an early start (before 7 a.m.)

Back in shadow once more

Strawberry Pitaya not fully awake

A huge Ocotillo and Torrey Yucca (left)


Mad Hatter cloud with a wisp of virga

Virga is rain that evaporates before reaching the ground

White-winged Dove eating Ocotillo buds

Long view across the desert to the Organ Mountains

Ocotillo flower

Ocotillo flower

Aliens from Mars

Actually they're Rain Lily seed pods


Blackl-chinned Hummingbird

Catching a wink

Same Hummer, different angle

Strawberry Pitaya

When this old world starts getting me down . . . (Up on the roof)

One of our neighbors has a small observatory

Dr. K in a gardening mood

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Late Start, High Heat, Short Hike

North side of Tortugas Mountain
The blog title says it all:  Dr. K, Becca and I got a rather late start this morning, and that fact directly affected our hike.  It seemed unusually hot behind Tortugas Mountain, owing, perhaps, to the lack of wind.  At first there wasn't even a hint of a breeze.  Because Becca and I have been getting out really early for our treks, she was pretty hot in the later morning conditions, so Dr. K and I decided to curtail our normally-long Sunday hike.  Hard to tell if Becca was disappointed by our decision or glad to be back inside our air-conditioned car.
Clouds over the east face

Memorial to one who lost his life in the desert

Heading behind the mountain

A very hot dog

View from behind Tortugas

Circling back to the east

Looking westward

Cloud shadows on the mountain

Four takes on a crab cloud

Heat is On Again

Headed down LDR-A arroyo to yucca shade for Wils The desert floor hasn't been cooling off very much during the overnight hours, and the ...