This Week’s Adventure

Sunset as we approach Phoenix from the air, 20 Oct 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

23 October 2021

Before COVID I used to travel about ten times a year but stopped abruptly in March 2020. This week saw our first air travel in nearly two years when my husband and I flew to Phoenix for a nephew’s wedding. I’d forgotten that air travel involves surprises, however minor, and that it’s tiring to pack and carry and rush and wait for hours on end.

Hello, Arizona. It’s been a long time since I was in the desert where the plants and birds are so different. In Phoenix the mosquitos are the same.

Here’s a selection of what I’ve seen so far. Normally I would identify everything but I am out of my element. Can you help?

Cholla cactus, 21 Oct 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)
Prickly pear (photo by Kate St. John)
Desert sunflower ??? 22 Oct 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

Saguaro cacti usually grow straight-tipped branching arms but sometimes, rarely, the top of a saguaro grows a fan called a crested saguaro. Notice the woodpecker holes!

Crested saguaro, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, 21 Oct 2021 (photo by Kate St. John)

Yesterday a flock of Life Birds flew by at sunrise and two of them — rosy-faced lovebirds — stopped to check out a woodpecker hole in a saguaro.

Rosy-faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis) are native to the African desert and popular in the pet trade. In the late 1980s escaped pets established a feral population in Phoenix and are “countable” in eBird. Here’s what they look like in their home country of Namibia, Africa. (This photo is from Wikimedia Commons).

Rosy-faced lovebirds in Namibia (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Awesome to see wild parrots in the desert.

p.s. I’m 3 hours behind Eastern time. My home world is so early!

(photos from Kate St. John except the rosy-faced lovebirds from Wikimedia Commons)

4 thoughts on “This Week’s Adventure

  1. So kind of you to share the flora and fauna of Arizona. Enjoyed your photos, especially the beautiful sunset. Enjoy your stay and spending time with your family. Happy and safe travel back to Pittsburgh.

  2. Arizona and the desert habitats are really interesting; so different from what we are used to here.

    Yes, you have the Prickly Pear identified correctly. I can never get it down to species though and there are a lot of them!

    As far as the Desert Sunflower I don’t know. Lots of confusing yellow composite flowers in the desert southwest.

  3. Beautiful photos Kate! I’m glad you enjoyed your time in the desert and with family. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay in Pittsburgh. 🙂 I got emotional when I saw the Cathedral in person!! HAHA Pretty sure I saw a peregrine on the Heinz Chapel too but I didn’t bring my scope. I hope to go back some day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *