One of the greatest pleasures of living in the desert outside of the city is sharing one's home with a plethora of wildlife. Sometimes the wildlife is mildy annoying -- woodpeckers who drill into the wood planks that extend out over the patios and startle us awake at 5 a.m. -- and sometimes it's an outright hassle -- packrats who gnaw on the electrical wires of my hybrid, causing $200 worth of damage (and thank goodness only that!) But mostly it's an adventure in observing how the non-human animals on this planet get by on a daily basis. We are witnesses to mating rituals and the hunt (or battle) for food, alerts and lullabies, playful antics, and leisure time snoozing in the shade. Every time I look out the windows, I am startled by something moving just outside: a giant lizard on the wall doing "push-ups," a family of quail foraging for bugs and seeds, an owl perched on top of a saguaro at dusk calling to his mate, hummingbirds diving out of nowhere and hovering beside the lipstick bushes as they suck out the nectar. I love that our home has so many windows and it takes so little to be "out there" in nature, away from the noises of the city that keep most animals out of sight.
When I see critters outside doing what they do, I try to grab my little 4 megapixel camera and capture what I can from a safe distance. . .I don't want to scare them away. So far, the baby quail and their parents have successfully eluded my electronic eye. Following are some of the many shots I have taken of the critters around our home.