Find the Food, Find the Critters

If my leg falls off, I’ll get a prosthetic. There’d be no deep sadness about. I’d just get on with it! It’s called life, and I love life. You have to be positive, and you have to crack on no matter what. –John Lydon

Anna's Hummingbird on Agave Bloom Stalk, Cathedral Vista, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona
Female Anna’s Hummingbird on Agave palmeri Bloom Stalk, Cathedral Vista, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona. This bird has laid claim to this agave: Invaders are driven away mercilessly! Too bad for the photographer. Canon EOS 7DII/600mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.

Food, water, and cover are essentials for wildlife. All of these resources vary in their distribution over time depending on climate and weather. As a newcomer to Cave Creek, my forays out into the desert have lately been mostly about finding food plants–so I can find the birds and bugs!

Currently a number of plants are in bloom in the lower valley. Cenizo or Texas sage (Leucophyllum frutescens), mountain yucca (Yucca schottii), Palmer’s agave (Agave palmeri), and trumpet vine and elderberry (as noted in previous posts), are all providing food for birds and other animals. When not clearing brush or refinishing woodwork, I have been hanging around these plants hoping to see some visitors.

I have, for example, spent several hours on several occasions camped out by a large Palmer’s Agave. Although hoping for Bullock’s Orioles (Never mind the Bullocks, MP!), which I’ve seen at other agaves while driving through the canyon, the only birds I’ve seen at this particular plant have been hummingbirds and Black-headed Grosbeaks. I’ll give the orioles the old college try a few more times!

A Seed-bug(?) Confronts a Net-winged Beetle, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona
A Seed-bug(?) Confronts an Arizona Net-winged Beetle (Lycus arizonensis) on Trumpet Vine Flower, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona. Canon EOS 7DII/100mm f/2.8L IS Macro. High-speed synchronized macro ring-flash.
Cloudless Sulphur on Trumpet Vine, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona
Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae) on Trumpet Vine, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona. This species seems to have replaced the marine blue as the most common butterfly around the lower canyon. Canon EOS 5DIII/100mm f/2.8L IS Macro. High-speed synchronized macro ring-flash.

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