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Babies Emerge From Saguaro Homes

  I have had an exceptionally busy last few weeks.  I know that I am not alone in this however I have a rather nasty habit of giving up the very thing that makes me happiest and healthiest when I get very busy.  Some people might skip the gym or yoga class while others might eat much more fast food to save time.  I tend to skip my outings into nature.  As I talked about before, nature not only helps me find peace and focus but also helps me to feel more creative, connected to myself, and happier in general.  Earlier this week, I really didn't have the time but I took just one hour to venture into the wilderness and was rewarded by the continuation of  nesting season  and some babies beginning to emerge. I first stopped by a local lake and was treated to the sight of several ducks sitting on their nests.  They both had fantastic hiding places and each year I am struck by how very patient birds are.  These ducks will likely sit on their nests for weeks until their babies hatch.   I k
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Technology Break At Home

 I should state that  I like technology.  I like that people around the world can be connected so easily.  I like seeing images from across the globe on Twitter , I like texting my sister about something I wanted to ask her, and I like that I can share a short video and a smile with someone in just a few clicks. Some time ago, I talked about giving up technology over a vacation.  It was almost two full weeks of giving up almost all forms of technology and really disconnecting with the world.  It was two weeks of living in the moment and just immersing myself in where I was and who I was with.  The vacation gave me a mental boost.  Being disconnected and not constantly on call added to the experience and proved to be an overwhelmingly positive experience.   Constantly Connected Recently, I have begun to notice just how much technology dominates my days.  I should state that while my camera might be technology, I don't wish to step away from my camera and would likely be very sad to

Nesting Time for Arizona Birds

  Though our winters are mild, birds in Arizona still tend to nest in the spring and many will continue to lay eggs until the end of autumn.  The places birds find to build their nests in Arizona however might be very different than in other areas of the United States.   Saguaro cacti are a popular choice for many birds.  Homes are frequently already hollowed out of the saguaro flesh by Gila woodpeckers and are move-in ready with just a few tidying tasks.  This starling is guarding the nest's entrance while his mate ducked in and out of the saguaro cactus.  Long trails of dried grasses and branches quickly moved into the cactus while he stood and observed the activity.  The tall saguaro makes a convenient and fairly safe home for birds.  These homes are relatively easy to guard and while snakes do climb the cacti in search of food, they seem to prefer an easier meal that doesn't call for them to slither among thorns. I have seen starlings around my area for many years but I ne

Spring Has Arrived in Arizona

  Spring arrived in earnest about two weeks ago to the Arizona desert with temperatures soaring into the low 80's F and spring leaves returning to the trees.  Winter is a beautiful time in the desert with plenty of wintering birds and temperatures that allow for more than average outdoor fun.  Spring brings with it the rising temperatures, wildflowers, spring blooms, and birds beginning their long migration back to their northern homes. My fig tree is again sporting green leaves.  I don't honestly believe that fig trees are supposed to lose all their leaves in the winter.  Each year, I try to protect my tree, green leaves begin to multiply in the late winter only to suddenly drop them all when we get a cooler night.  When we hit true spring weather, the fig tree always seems to return and it makes me smile to see the sudden sprout of green filling the branches once more. Spring is also time for citrus trees to flower.  Citrus is in bloom and the sweet smell of orange, lemon,

Weekly Nature Breaks Provide Sanity

  I have come to discover over the last few years that nature gives me a much needed gift of sanity in my busy life.  I am not the only one to feel this as I follow plenty of brilliant nature photographers on Twitter and there is a common thread of finding solitude and peace surrounded by nature.  I really try to escape once a week for a morning, an afternoon, or even an hour.  I grab my camera and set off to wander a trail, sit on a bench, or roam a park for some solitude and to leave the world behind.   Hummingbird Mini Clipboard Available in My Zazzle Store by natureinfocus Almost everyone has their preferred retreat from life for a time.  For some, it is television or movies.  For others, it might be a book or music.  I enjoy all those things but they don't really allow me to honestly escape my life.  I watch a movie with at least a portion of my mind on what is happening when the movie is over.  I will read a book and suddenly remember to do something and then go write m

Pelicans in the Arizona Desert

  I have lived in Arizona for over sixteen years and in that time I have visited the Pacific coast many times.  During my visits, I typically see many pelicans.  They are usually flying over the water in large groups or standing on the top of buildings resting.  Where I have never seen pelicans is around my home in the Arizona desert...until recently.   I have written about wintering birds that I have found at my local riparian preserve before but on a recent trip, I saw a pelican.  That feeling of seeing a new bird never gets old but seeing a pelican so out of the normal environment that I associate with pelicans made me doubt what I was seeing.  This guy was not terribly close to where I was standing and was simply much bigger than other birds as I scanned the water.  It wasn't until I zoomed in with my camera that I realized that this stately fellow was a pelican.  Even then, I will admit that I snapped off a few photos and then looked back at my camera to triple verify what

Winter In The Arizona Desert

  For anyone who thinks that the Arizona desert doesn't experience seasons, I would like to assure you that we certainly do though not in the traditional sense.  Summers are oven-hot and if you are not in a pool it is wise to be in air conditioning.  Spring and autumn are very similar to each other with very comfortable temperatures for shorts and t-shirts.  We will hover in the upper 80's and 90's for most of spring and autumn with warm evenings.  Winter mornings call for jeans and typically a light jacket though there are times when I break out my scarf and hat.  Winter is the perfect time to visit the Phoenix area though if you want a great deal on lodging, summer is your best bet if you prefer heat to cold.   Valley of the Sun I live in the outskirts of Phoenix which is nicknamed "The Valley of the Sun".  It has this name for a very good reason.  We get plenty of sun in fact we get almost 300 days of sun on average most years.  A full day of clouds is super r