Part one of our December posts is about biking, hiking and other activities. Part two is all about our birding excursions.

We got back to mountain biking at the Tortolita Preserve. Here’s a view of the great “Strongarm” saguaro cactus that fell down this year in August. The trail has been rerouted around its remains. The decay is now evident. We posted many photos of this cactus in previous blogs.

Here’s a photo that Doug took of Wendy on Christmas day, also at the preserve.

We did a little bit of hiking, but we did most of our walking when we were birding. Here’s a photo of Wendy at the Sweetwater Preserve, and even though the focus was on the hike, we carried our binoculars and saw several birds.

And we visited our favourite saguaros on our walks on State Trust Land. We don’t need to drive anywhere to get to this hike; we just walk down the road from our place.

Every month we like to post at least one flower. This sulphur cosmos was blooming at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Mostly our photos show gorgeous blue sky because that’s the standard weather for around here, but we did have several wet, rainy days this month. Here’s a view of the Panther ridge taken on a neighbourhood walk between rain showers. The cactus in the foreground is Chain-fruit cholla, one of the “jumping chollas” that are native to this area. If a person or animal gets too close, parts of the cactus break off and stick to their clothing or fur, seemingly “jumping” off.

One rainy day we went to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and viewed all the indoor exhibits. We saw exhibits that we had only seen a few times or not at all, because we usually spend our time at the outdoor spaces of the grounds.

The museum includes an aquarium that includes marine life from the Sea of Cortez. The Sea of Cortez is surrounded by the Sonora desert, so is an included environment in the museum’s displays.

This beautiful fish is a False Moorish Idol. (Heniochus sp.) These butterfly fish are not actually found in the Sea of Cortez, but they look very similar to a true Moorish Idol that does live there. Moorish Idols are very sensitive fish that don’t do well in captivity, so the Heniochus fish are used in their place.

On rainy days, as well as fine days, Wendy worked on the free-motion quilting on a quilt that she pieced in the trailer a few years ago. She quilted cactus motifs (mostly saguaros) in each block.

Here is the completed quilt. Wendy finished her “Arizona Quilt” by Christmas as a present to herself.

Wendy also completed this quail hanging from a purchased panel for Doug for Christmas. It’s about the size of a placemat.

It’s hard to show in a photograph, but the quail seems to puff out from the densely quilted background, giving some dimension to the piece.

Here is our Christmas display of doves, cardinals, lights and fake greenery above the valance. And there’s a spot for our little fox mascot.

Many evenings, we enjoyed “happy hour” outside in from of our propane firepit. This photo was taken on New Year’s Eve when the sunset light reflected in clouds in the southern sky.

Another day, the ridge to the east of us seemed on fire from the alpen glow at sunset.

We’ve experienced many beautiful sunsets this month. Here’s one of the better ones.

Here’s a view through the decorative sliding gate that leads from the property.

We wish you a happy new year. The part two post will be all about birding and will be posted soon.

One thought on “December 2022 in Arizona: Part 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s