Sun City Grand
Sun City West
Aloha and Welcome to My Website!
I am an Associate Broker, Realtor® with Long Realty West Valley, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.
I specialize in real estate sales in Arizona West Valley Golf Retirement Communities.
I have Bachelor of Science Degrees in Chemistry and Biology and a Masters Degree in Business Administration with Project Management concentration.
As a year-round Sun City Grand resident and full-time Associate Broker Realtor®, I can help you buy and/or sell real estate in the golf retirement communities of Sun City Grand, Sun City West, Corte Bella, Arizona Traditions, Sun City Festival, PebbleCreek and Trilogy at Vistancia.
Buyers and sellers receive what they desire when selecting me as their estate agent:
an experienced, dedicated, well-educated, professional local Realtor® who specializes in real estate in Arizona golf retirement communities.
Sun City Grand ~ I LIVE HERE, I WORK HERE, I KNOW THIS COMMUNITY! ©2007
On three separate occasions this past week I had a close encounter of the best kind. Even better, it happened in my own back yard. The first was on a late hundred and ten degree afternoon. Some of my less hardy plants were on the wilt, crying out for a bit more water than the drip ration I had them set at. So flora good Samaritan that I am, I turned on my hose and arched a watery blast into the droopiest of them. I could almost hear my plants exhale a communal happy “Ah-h-h!” The big something hiding under one of them, was not so pleased. A multi-colored blur of something bigger and faster than a rabbit shot out from under the foliage. It happened so fast that had the blur not just as quickly slammed on the brakes, and abruptly about-faced to snatch up a small lizard also flushed out by my water blast, I never would have identified it. But there it was in all its regal, spikey splendor: Geococcyx Californianus. I know, the name sounds a bit ominous, suggestive of some venereal malady from a neighboring state. For the little lizard, it definitely was bad news. So too was it for the cricket, and a dusty-colored moth of some kind, which the water next flushed out and put in harm’s way. If birds had lips, GC was grinning ear-to-ear (metaphorically speaking). The shock of getting squirted was the prelude to a royal feast, a smorgasbord of earthly delights.
The big roadrunner goggled up all 3 unlucky little critters, then instead of running away with a “Beep…Beep,” (actually a roadrunner’s call is a deep triple “Coo-coo-coo,” like a mourning dove on steroids) it just stood there about 15 yards from me, cocking it’s head this way and that, listening, looking, awaiting dessert. Again, if it had lips, I’m sure it would have been licking them. I think it caught on that what I was doing was a big plus for itself, because instead of running from a human (it’s usual behavior) it waited on it. I see now why pheasant or quail hunters like bird dogs. I was now performing that same service for this big bird with my hose.
The next day was just as hot, and seeing my fence-long rose hedge looking particularly parched, I turned on the hose again, and commenced to sprinkle the length of the hedge. And there it was again, GC, weaving in and out of the hedge scooping up waterlogged bush bugs and moths. Doves, quail, cactus wrens and grackles, even hummingbirds, all are daily visitors to our yard. But to spend a number of minutes with a visiting roadrunner was a rare treat. This visit, like the one the day before, was a good 10 minutes in length.
I was blessed with one more sighting the very next day. I was sitting out back reading a Clive Cussler novel centered on a search for a treasure hid in Shangri-La, when an incongruous dash of blue at the base of our big orange-yellow Mexican Bird of Paradise about 20 feet away caught my eye. I set the book down, and stared at the blue. Then it flexed, and I realized I was staring at the head of a big roadrunner who was staring back at me. It was sitting in the shade, maybe still digesting the bounty of the last two days. It was not at all anxious or spooked by my presence. I like to fantasize that it welcomed it, as much as I did his (or was it a her?).
I read once that we honor others by taking the time to learn about them. I believe there is truth in that, even as it relates to other species that share our space, or should I say, us theirs. So, the evening of the third roadrunner visit I went on the Internet to learn a bit more about my exotic neighbor. I knew roadrunners could outrun me (most anything can at my age), but was impressed to learn that roadrunners, which can fly short distances, but prefer to run, can achieve sprints of 20 miles per hour. And, where I must guzzle quarts of liquids just to sit and survive on these hot summer days, the roadrunner can do without drinking water, as long as it can consume prey with high water content (no wonder my water-logged bugs were such a treat). Like seabirds, roadrunners have a special facial gland that allows them to excrete salt there rather than through their kidneys. This saves water in their system. Roadrunners routinely will ambush, dispatch and eat rattlesnakes. This it prefers to do as a team with its mate. One of the pair will distract the snake with frontal jumps, and wind flapping antics, while the other sneaks behind the snake, then dashes in and pins it’s head to the ground. Then quickly, before the snake can squirm out, and counter, both birds dispatch it with their long, stout beaks. Roadrunners also eat scorpions, and mice. So, being that venomous things and rodents generally are not on our “preferred to have around list,” periodic roadrunner visitations really are a bonus beyond the joy of just their sighting. Roadrunners are one of the few birds that mate for life, though they go through an annual nuptial “renewal” ritual, where consummation is prefaced by the male offering the lady a prized gift, such as a juicy mouse.
Roadrunners hold a special place in Native American and Mexican legends and belief systems. The birds are revered for their courage, strength, speed, and endurance. Honored clans among the Hopi’s, Zuni’s, and Apaches are named after this bird. The roadrunner has a very distinctive foot. Instead of the 3 toes pointed forward, and one back, of most birds, roadrunners have two toes pointed forward, and two back. Their footprint thus is an “X,” making it very difficult to tell its direction of travel. Was the bird was going or coming? Not surprising, Pueblo Tribes thus use this “X” symbol to ward off evil, believing that any bad spirit intent on finding you would get confused as to what direction you were going. I seem to embody that symbol in myself. My wife often wonders if I am coming or going. Hopefully she doesn’t read this article, for if she gets wind that there is a quirky but magnificent creature that can run faster than me, has greater stamina and endurance, and is also gutsier, I may get trumped by a bird. But wait, there is hope; my annual “anniversary” offering is generally a notch or two above a mouse. My wife knows real value when she sees it.
Among Native Americans, the sighting of a roadrunner is believed to be a blessing that brings good luck. All of us here in Sun City Grand have been blessed many times over. Maybe that is why one here can see a roadrunner 3 times in one week without ever leaving his back yard. Keep your eyes and heart open.
Sun City Grand Resident,
Anthony De La Torre
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