Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014

Bighorn sheep on Highway 74 October 2014
This big guy crossed the highway, October 2014.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Eagle in flight~SkyWatch Friday~060112

Look out!  No, it's not a real eagle.  It a carved one, in downtown Idyllwild.  It's part of another animal pole that's been in the center of town for years.  Doesn't it look real, however?  Skywatch Friday for June 1, 2012.  To visit Skywatch Friday, please go to:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Blue jays~World Bird Wednesday and Nature Notes 053112

As I previously mentioned, we spent the weekend up in Idyllwild, CA, at an elevation of over 6,000 feet.  We rented a cabin there and had both our grown kids and the grandson up for the holiday weekend.  I got a kick out of feeding peanuts to the blue jays.  I didn't see any the first day (and didn't have any peanuts), but both local markets sold them by the pound, so I stocked up.  It took about 10 minutes for the jays to discover them.  We eventually had about 7 jays coming around to eat for the three days we were there.  We also noticed two scrub jays and a couple of squirrels get in on the action.  I noticed that most of the time the jays flew away with the peanuts (hoarding them), but I did see a couple of them banging the peanuts on branches to open them!  They were quite noisy.  I noticed two pairs of jays and some "freelancers".  The three year old grandson got a kick out of the "boo jays" and wanted to put the peanuts out for them every time!  I'm glad he is learning about nature at each family outing.  I intend to make a naturalist out of him yet!  World Bird Wednesday and Nature Notes for Ma 31, 2012.  To visit World Bird Wednesday, please go to:  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sprinkler mist~SkyWatch Friday~052512

There's just something magical about sprinklers to me, especially living here in the desert.  I love to seek them out and take photos of them!  I missed these yesterday morning, but I did catch them on this trip during my morning walk at the city-owned golf course.  What a great way to start the day...a nice walk in the desert, the thump, thump, thump of sprinklers and then catching a view of them!  It would have been nice to see my coyotes, but they were elsewhere on this morning.  SkyWatch Friday for May 25, 2012.  To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Santa Rosa mountains flora and fauna~Nature Wonders~052412

I've been spending so much time walking around down here in the desert that I haven't spent much time up by Deep Canyon.  However, Sunday morning I returned to the Santa Rosa mountains visitor center for an opportunity to walk around the center and see some critters.  There were a couple of lizards out early in the morning and the smoke trees were lit by the morning sun.  I love that place!  It's very relaxing.  I went there to buy a snake identification booklet, but they didn't have any.  I always enjoy hearing the quail when I'm up there, although I often don't see them.  So, instead, I look at what I CAN see and learn from that.  Nature Notes for May 24, 2012.  That is an old palo verde with mistletoe in it.  Isn't it an incredible tree?  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:   Oh, yes, mistletoe DOES grow in the desert.  I've seen many palo verde trees and other trees with it.  I'll see if I can find more this weekend!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Canadian geese~World Bird Wednesday~052312

I stopped by the park both Saturday and Sunday mornings and on both mornings, a flock of Canadian geese came flying into the park and landing on one of the big pools.  Their honking signaled their noisy arrival.  I counted 9 of them on Saturday and 12 on Sunday, so apparently they are still here in the desert.  And, yes, the goose with the broken wing is still in the park.  She apparently is doing quite well on her own and she pretty much ignored the other geese both mornings.  I ran into a lady who visits the park every morning and she said the local bird rescue won't take the goose.  She doesn't appear to be in any danger and she is still there.  I have no idea how much longer the other geese will be around, as we've already had temperatures hitting 107 and it was 109 degrees on Saturday here in the desert.  I did see her open up her wings and stretch them, so mabye she is healing.  Temps are supposed to drop down into the 80's here this weekend as a storm system moves through the desert.  I caught some of the geese walking right by this man, who stopped to look at them.  They were totally unafraid of him. World Bird Wednesday for May 23, 2012.  To visit WBW, please go to this link:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Screen of death for laptop!

Well, I got the "screen of death" on my laptop this evening.  I shut it down again, let it sit for 3 hours, and it APPEARS to be working.  However, I REALLY need to get a new laptop.  This is an old one from hubby and I constantly lose my Internet connection and it was having difficulty loading up photos this afternoon...sigh...$$$.  Our daughter got a nice, new laptop at COSTCO and I think I'm going to have to look at one also.  This one is too slow, too clumsy, and too old to continue to use...

Cahuilla overlook~Our World Tuesday~052212

I couldn't get my laptop to work this morning and it wouldn't post any photos, so I gave up and went to the park for a long walk instead.  I mean, REALLY!  I shut it down and left it all day and it seems to be working now, so who knows what was wrong!  I stayed home Saturday as hubby was off work and he wanted some company.  But, he went to work Sunday morning and I just couldn't get going.  I was tired and I had a headache.  I just felt "off".  I drove up partway to the horses and turned around and came home.  It was 9:30 a.m. by then and it was HOT, HOT, HOT!  I was tired and cranky and couldn't see driving another 35 miles just to throw feed at the horses and not really spend quality time with them.  I did pull off at the Cahuilla overlook, which has a parking area and some signs and offers a great look down into Deep Canyon.  The Cahuilla Indians lived in this area for thousands of years and still have a lot of reservation land up in the local mountains. I came home after this and stayed indoors for the rest of the day.  It was 109 degrees on our front porch this morning.  Ugh!  Our World Tuesday for May 22, 2012.  To visit OWT, please go to this link:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pink roses~Sunday Stills Challenge~052012

I went over to the park yesterday morning after my one our morning walk.  I wanted to get some photos of the roses there before they all withered in our extreme heat.  We had days of 107 and 105 last week.  This weekend, it's down to the low 90's, but next week the temps climb up again.  I don't think the rose garden at the park will last much longer.  I found these pink roses and, as you can see, they are already wilting.  Sunday Stills Challenge for May 20, 2012.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

There's something about a desert sunrise~SkyWatch Friday~071812

I'm taking my Nikon with me tomorrow morning.  A "cold front" is moving in tomorrow.  Temps are supposed to drop here in the desert from 107 today to 92 tomorrow!  YEAH!  I'll take that any day!  It's just too darn early for 107 degree days!  Anyway, I found this beautiful sunrise a few weeks ago.  We haven't had any clouds since then.  SkyWatch Friday for May 18, 2012.  To visit SkyWatch Friday, please go to:

Less ducks at the park now

There are a LOT less ducks at the park now.  I seem to recall that the white ones stay all summer (I think they are too FAT to fly off anywhere).  The mud hens ALL seem to be gone...hmmmm....not sure if the city removed them or what.  You can see how few ducks there are in both of these photos.  I stopped by last weekend and that's when I saw the wounded goose.  I'll stop by again this weekend and if it is still there, I'll phone the Coachella Valley Wild Bird  place and see if they can come get him or her, although people DO still stop by and feed them.  The wounded goose wasn't over by this group, who was cheerfully gobbling down the food offered by this gentleman!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wounded goose and comrades~Nature Notes~051712

Last Saturday morning, before heading up to see the horses, I drove down to our town's park where I used to feed the ducks.  I wanted to take some photos of the roses there, which are blooming,  As soon as I parked, however, I was greeted with a horrendous "honk, honk, honk" of Canadian geese.  Now, it's over 100 degrees ALREADY here in the desert and they should be long gone.  Two of them flew right over me, so I took these photos of them.  Another gentleman was out walking and he joined me and said there was a wounded Canadian goose with a broken wing still in the park and apparently these other ones had stayed behind with it.  I don't know if that is true or not, but there were 3 other geese and one of them did go off and eat with the wounded one.  I haven't been back to the park this week (just haven't had time), but maybe tomorrow morning.  You can see its injured wing in the bottom photo.  I'm almost afraid to go back, not wishing to see it still there in this awful heat!  It was 107 here today, which is very early for us to be having this kind of heat, even here in the desert!  Nature Notes for May 17, 2012.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Roadrunners~World Bird Wednesday~051612

I set out Saturday morning to find my coyote pack, but never saw them my entire walk.  Instead, I was entertained and delighted by several roadrunners.  Apparently there was one female among 3 males and they were each taking turns courting her.  There was a flutter and flap of wings and some fancy footwork! I actually enjoying standing still and watching them!  They eventually went their separate ways and I don't know what happened after I left!  World Bird Wednesday for May 16, 2012.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Salton Sea from Deep Canyon~Our World Today~051512

You know, I really haven't got a decent photo of the Salton Sea in over six months.  It's been so hazy here in the desert whenever I drive up to the horses that I just haven't bothered to stop and even try to take a photo.  But, on this day, the view wasn't too bad.  This is from Vista Point, up on Highway 74.  There was a cloud overhead and you can see the rays coming down.  I wish there was a better view of the Salton Sea from Deep Canyon, but it is only visible from Vista Point and another point further up the highway, where there is no turnout.  Our World Tuesday for May 15, 2012.  To visit OWT, please go to:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wildflowers and Fences~Friday's Fences~09=51110

When I drove up through Garner Valley last weekend, I was amazed to see so many wildflowers.  There were patches of these little yellow flowers everywhere.  Aren't they beautiful?  They'd had a nice rain up there about a week ago and the mountain lupines were much more evident this weekend than last.  I really enjoy driving through the valley and seeing fences, horses, and wildflowers, as well as tall pine trees!  Ahhhhh....what a great way to relax on the weekend!  Friday's Fences for May 11, 2012.

Owl~Nature Notes~051012

I FINALLY got an owl photo.  He wasn't up in the mountains, or up near Deep Canyon.  Instead, he was sitting on a water tower right across the highway from my school, down in Coachella, CA!  Another teacher told me that he's sitting there every morning, so one morning, since I was early, I drove across the highway and YUP!  There he was!  Isn't he adorable?  He wasn't happy with me taking photos of him (these also were taken with my little Nikon COOLPIX).  I believe he's a little burrowing owl.  I haven't had the time to return, but since I awoke at 3:00 a.m. today, I should have time to check him out.  I've been so busy spying on the pack of coyotes out in the area where I take my morning walk (see for their story) that I haven't driven out to see this little guy!  Nature Notes for May 10, 2012.  He got quite upset with me after I took the bottom photo and flew off!  To visit Nature Notes, please go to:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lake Hemet and thunderheads~Our World Tuesday~050812

I was so amazed to see thunderheads yesterday!  We don't usually see them around here until our monsoon season, which is in late July and during August.  But May?  I can't remember the last time I saw them in May and I've lived here in the desert now for 39 years!  So, OF COURSE I wanted to drive up to the Santa Rosas and experience a spring thunderstorm!  It turns out that it was hailing somewhere up there (we didn't see any hail when we were there), but we did get some sprinkles.  Ahhhh....I can't wait for summer!  Aren't the thunderheads beautiful?  They were completely gone this morning...Our World Tuesday for May 8, 2012.  To visit Our World Tuesday, please go to this link:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Up the mountain road TWICE!!!

Yes!  Can you believe it?  We went up and down the mountain road twice today.  The first time was this morning when I asked hubby to go along with me because I wanted to do a short hike.  He said, "Yeah, whatever..." and came with me, with his camera.  I noticed he stopped to take a few photos and to observe the animal prints around us.  We came home after driving through Garner Valley and then stopping to give the horses an extra meal.  Then, home to the desert for lunch and a nap.  When I awoke about 3:30 p.m., the entire western sky was covered with thunderheads.  Now, this was after I remarked to hubby, as we got home, "Look at that cloud.  Isn't that a thunderhead?"  to which he poo-pooed my observation.  I looked up Deep Canyon and it was dark and cloudy and when I announced, "I'm going BACK up there!" he came along!  We didn't get far when the temperature immediately fell.  It was cool and we could smell the moisture.  What a great afternoon!  It reminded me of those August afternoons when the thunderheads develop over the mountains.  I guess we had a little preview of summer, except it wasn't that hot in the desert!  We ended up driving all the way to Lake Hemet and looking at the thunderheads over the lake and walking around for a while in the day use area.  What a great way to spend an afternoon!  These are just some of the thunderheads over Lake Hemet this afternoon.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Morning light~SkyWatch Friday~050412

I never know what I'm going to see on my morning walk.  This week I've been spied upon by a pair of coyotes.  I see one of them every morning now.  He/she keeps its distance and I keep mine.  I don't want to interfere with it in any way as I suspect if it's a pair (and I've seen both of them), they probably have pups stashed somewhere.  But, on this morning, the clouds were hanging over the mountains, the sun was was a beautiful morning!  SkyWatch Friday for May 4, 2012.  That's looking up at the Santa Rosa mountains and up past Deep Canyon.  Highway 74 travels this mount and I drive up and down it every weekend to visit my horses.  I board them up in these mountains, out of the desert heat.  To visit SWF, please go to:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Footprints in the sand~Nature Notes~050312

I've been spending a lot of time lately studying animal footprints.  I must admit it...I'm FASCINATED by them! I even went out back this afternoon to study those of our son's Weimeraner and to observe how large they are!  He, after all, is a big dog!  I especially was studying his claw marks.  When I drove up to Garner Valley last Saturday (before heading off to visit my horses), I stopped at the end of Table Mountain Road.  There are lots of trails up there and I was thrilled to see that the wash had been wiped clean by the storm three days before.  I could hardly wait to see what footprints awaited me!  I spotted these right away!  They appeared to come out of the metal under the dirt road, but upon closer inspection, I found that the critter actually crossed the road on the other side and just came down through the wash here.  It didn't go through the culvert.  Hmmmm....I'm going to have to remember that.  I HAVE seen a bobcat up in Garner Valley once who DID go through the culvert and come out on the other side.  I was driving by my cousin's horse ranch and I just happened to glance down at the little wash runoff by her place and see...a BOBCAT!  RIGHT THERE!  By the time I fumbled around and got my camera out, it disappeared under the road, so I turned my car around and waited for it to come out the other side....Hehehehehe!  I GOT several photos of it before it bounded away!  I'll have to dig out those photos someday...Anyway, I followed this wash up a way, but these were the only clear footprints I saw...DARN!  The mountains haven't had any rain since the last storm, and I'm anxious to see what footprints are there for me this weekend!  Nature Notes for May 3, 2012.  To visit Nature Notes, please follow this link:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A puzzle~Our World Tuesday~050112

I returned to the turnout with all the water bottles neatly stacked on the railing (see: this past Saturday to see where the trail went.  I was surprised to see that the area is actually closed off from January through September to allow the bighorn sheep some privacy during their birthing season.  I also took photos of the very bright and noticeable orange signs which tell people that the area is closed.  So, why are all the water bottles left there?  This is indeed a mystery.  I didn't even walk on the trail after reading the signs...Our World Tuesday for May 1, 2012.   To visit OWT, please go to: