Posts Tagged With: wildlife

Wild, Wilder, Wilderness

Loved this quote and the painting it was on. I experienced the feeling of the heartbeat of the land when I visited Cherry Creek State Park in Aurora, Colorado a while ago. What a great idea to have nature in the middle of cityscape. Surely a place like that lends a feeling of well-being to anyone who gets to drive past, look at, utilize, experience or immerse themselves in it.

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Near where I live is a riparian preserve, amidst the desert landscapes and suburbs and traffic. Less than a mile’s walk away finds me wandering quiet paths, breathing slightly more humid air, sighting rabbits, observing birds and laughing at various critters. My heart seems to tune itself to the heartbeat of the earth as I walk there. My mind quiets. Thoughts settle out. I see things clearer. It’s like a reboot for my soul.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the foothills, where a hike was five minutes away, and a cookout in the mountains for an evening meal was only half an hour away. We even took off for breakfast in the mountains at least once or twice a year. There’s nothing else like mountain air to whet your appetite. Cooking and eating outdoors is the best seasoning I’ve ever tasted.

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I am one of those who can’t live without wild things. If I remember to get my daily dose of nature, of wildness in one form or another, then life flows smoother and feels happier. The trick is to remember and make time for this most important of daily rituals.

Do you touch base with nature every day? Does it make a difference in your life?

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Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Pleasant Peasant Pheasant

Bird feeder

Bird feeder (Photo credit: Matt Peoples)

There is a Pheasant in my backyard.

Or a Grouse.

It comes and goes, from backyard to backyard. The one behind ours has a bird feeder, so it visits there often. And from what Jim, my neighbor two doors down says, it’s taken up residence behind an Oleander in his yard.

I took photos, to document this odd phenomenon in the dry desert. But the photos show what looks like a pile of rocks amid a bunch of rocks. Desert landscaping will do that.

Either way, Pheasant or Grouse, it just isn’t normal to see a bird this size, here in the crazy heat  part of Arizona.

“Pheasant populations persisting in Arizona are largely confined to agricultural areas having a relatively high humidity (e.g., citrus orchards in the Yuma and Mesa areas) or high enough in elevation to escape the desiccating heat of Sonoran Desert summers. In such locations, a rooster will acquire a harem of from one to three hens, with mating commencing in early April. By mid-May most of the hens are nesting and of no further interest to him, and he will abandon his territorial patrols by the end of the month. The peak of hatching is during the last week of May, the most arid time in Arizona, which is one of the reasons why pheasants have not become established here”

Female pheasant 3

Female pheasant (Photo credit: scyrene)

Based on photos, a bit of research and some common sense, I’ve decided this odd duck of a bird is a female Pheasant. Grouse tend to hang out up on the Mogollon Rim, high country as we call it here.

I feel bad for this bird. Clearly, she’s out of her element and won’t do well when the heat really settle in, unless she can find her way to a citrus orchard somewhere in the area. The nearest ones are about five to eight miles away.

I’m always amazed at how wildlife adapts itself to the intrusions and weirdness of humans.

English: taken at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

At the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we first moved to Arizona fifteen years ago, it was fairly common to see a Fox trotting through an open field. It was much more common to see open fields that many years ago. The housing boom hit Phoenix with a vengeance  and most of the open areas around us disappeared in about four months, give or take a year or two.

I often saw Jackrabbits of a substantial enough size that I’d do a double take. I’ve seen a Mountain Lion at the Riparian Preserve. The “Rip”  borders a canal which is significant. Lined with a dirt road or even asphalt or concrete paths, the canals here are like an open invitation to wildlife from the foothills to come on down and play the city game. Poor misguided critters!

I’ve noticed some people seem to have wandered from their normal habitat into the suburbs and cityscape. These are people who prefer solitude , silence and privacy. I think sometimes I am one of those misplaced creatures.

The sound of sirens, the constant hum of traffic, crowds, stress of every hue, all combine, sometimes, to make me wish I lived in the mountains in a secluded cabin with a well hidden dirt access road.

I feel a bit misplaced and out of my element.

But I’ve adapted. I grow wildflowers. I have a backyard garden. I have a hummingbird feeder. I disappear into other worlds through books. I enjoy what music I can find in the suburban bird chatter of Dove, Grackle, Finch, Towhee and Mockingbird. I visit nearby open spaces and green areas. I walk. I ride my bike. I dream of the mountains.

I wonder if the Pheasant in the backyard feels the same way.

Wish I could help her find her way back to where she belongs without upsetting the natural order of things.

It could happen.

Categories: Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Where the Wild Things Are, And the Not So Wild Things

Recognizing a major need for escape from daily demands and stressors,  late last spring MSH booked me on a flight for that very day to visit a cousin in Colorado.  Not sure how he pulled that off, but he did.  Six hours later I found myself climbing into my cousin’s vehicle and sleeping on her pullout bed. What followed was a week of rest, meandering hikes, talking, eating, Scrabble and emotional healing. I returned home a new person, ready once again to face the world.  Here are a few select photos from that week.

Wishing I were here again.

This is a representative segment of one of the many lovely trails I enjoyed wandering.  Shady, tree filled, solitary.  Perfect for introspection, ideal for letting nature work her magic.

We had a nice friendly chat.

Seldom did I cross paths with other humans.  I did meet up with a pair of deer that treated me like a friend.  They actually didn’t run off when I approached.  We had a nice conversation for a while as I took pictures of them.  Their eyes have a look in them I haven’t yet been able to describe. My friend here stood still and posed for me five feet away from where I stood.  No need to zoom in.

A small pond I came across in a restoration area caught my eye.  The light and reflections were fun to watch.  The sense of calm the scene invoked was very welcome.

Surrounded by pines and peace.

Here’s another view of a lake I wrote about in an earlier post.  Must have been something about the elevation that made me feel emotionally lighter.  The heavy load I’d been hauling around for months dissipated on this hike.

Thanks for sharing my take on a taste of Colorado. Makes me want to go back for autumn, although I may have missed the colors changing by now.  These photos also remind me that I need that daily dose of nature in my life.  Being out-of-doors, my hands in the soil, my head in the clouds, surrounded by living plants, being part of the sights and sounds of the natural world, can make the difference between wellness and illness, joy and sorrow.

That connection to the real world grounds me, makes me whole and gives me energy. Here’s hoping you have such joys in your days.

Categories: Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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