Walkabout: Desert Denizens

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.–Albert Camus

Running Javelina, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona
Running Javelina, Chiricasa, Portal, Arizona. This young straggler from the herd mistook me for a predator and bolted! These New World pigs have poor eyesight and seem prone to panic. They rely primarily on hearing and olfaction. Canon EOS 7DII/600mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.

During the past week or so we’ve been settling into a steady routine of working on the property and taking hikes and local walks.  We even took one long hike with the local hiking group. As we walk, we keep learning new tidbits of information about the local natural history: A new bug, here, a new flower, there . . .

Female Bullock's Oriole, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona
Female Bullock’s Oriole, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona. Canon EOS 7DII/600mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.

On the long hike up the North Fork of Cave Creek, for example, we noticed large chunks of obsidian in the stream bed, and this led to a discussion of collecting rocks and minerals among the group. Turns out there are many places to collect minerals in the area. One of the group leaders even owns an abandoned zinc mine where a variety of ore minerals can be found (thanks A.B.!).

Cicada, Portal, Arizona
Apache Cicada (Diceroprocta apache), Chiricasa, Arizona. Apache cicada are only adults for about two months in the late spring and early summer, during which time they reproduce–and make their characteristic buzzing sound during evenings. Canon EOS 7DII/600mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.

But every so often, like today, we’re taking a day to let the scrapes and bruises heal–and to contemplate what’s next. As you reach middle age, it’s hard to “waste” a day, but sometimes the body just gives out (and stays in)!

Bendire's Thrasher on Agave, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona
Bendire’s Thrasher on Agave Bloom Stalk, Cave Creek Canyon, Arizona. Canon EOS 7DII/600mm f/4L IS (+1.4x TC). Natural light.

©2019 Christopher R. Cunningham and Elisa D. Lewis. All rights reserved. No text or images may be duplicated or distributed without permission.