Among Friends. 7 January 2022. The Nuthatch Suite

‘Tis the season to feature the Nuthatch Suite (no nutcrackers here, though plenty of nutcases). And what is sweeter than a sturdy little nuthatch, a bird that defies gravity on a tree trunk by often hitching its way downward, thus finding insects in the bark that those upright woodpeckers and creepers miss?

Read More...
Northern Shoveler

Wild Wednesday, 17 November 2021, Shovelers

I’m in a fowl mood today, so I want to feature one of my favorite waterfowl species, the Northern Shoveler. Many a casual observer has mistaken this bird for an odd Mallard with an exaggerated beak, so I want to give the shoveler a little love here, top billing if you prefer.

Read More...

Among Friends, 5 November 2021. Vitaceae

Two members of the Vitaceae (grape family) are widespread in Arizona riparian areas, including Arivaca Creek and Brown Canyon, and offer some of our choicest fall colors: deep red in the Woodbine (a close relative of the eastern Virginia Creeper) and yellow in Canyon Grape. Both are lianas (the proper name for a “woody vine”). Technically, vines are herbaceous, not woody (Tarzan would have had a short life if he had been swinging on vines!). Some beans, cucumbers, and squashes are good examples of vines. However, common usage says “vine” for the grape plant, and since you heard that on the grapevine, I probably cannot convert you to using “liana” for that plant.

Read More...

JAVIER AND THE 7 YEAR ITCH — ALL THE WAY TO THE BORDER 2022

2022 will be the 7th anniversary of ALL THE WAY TO THE BORDER,  the annual celebration of sun, fun and litter when we clean the entire 45 miles of Arizona Highway 286 from Three Points to Sasabe — All the Way to the Border.  Last year wasn’t pretty what with Covid concerns but we still managed to clean 36 miles of roadway and I think we can all be pretty darn proud of that.  But this year marks our 7th anniversary and we’re going to celebrate by being cheerfully careful (or carefully cheerful whichever outlook you prefer) and getting together again.

Read More...

Among Friends. 13 October 2021. White-crowned Sparrow

Many of us look forward to the cheery songs of birds to remind us that spring is moving steadily toward summer, when most birds breed. However, here in Arizona, the arrival of White-crowned Sparrows in fall brings their melodies back to us after an absence of several months. From now until they leave in April and May, we can hear their lovely choruses, sometimes even while snow is on the ground. The songs always lift my spirits.

Read More...

Wild Wednesday 21 July 2021. Auction for the Dells

Last week I shared the wonderful news that our five-year effort to save nearly 500 acres of the most beautiful and ecologically important land in the Granite Dells was finally achieved. Nothing like this citizen-led effort had ever occurred in Prescott, and it really pointed out how the voice of the people could affect a City Council decision in truly positive ways. We are thrilled, but citizens must continue to pay attention and speak up to assure that implementation of the annexation agreement goes without a hitch.

Read More...