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Dawn in the Sonoran desert

It’s dawn in Sonoita, Arizona, and we’re packing the car for a trip to the Sonoran Desert Museum. The silence is broken by an unfamiliar “whit-weet.” As the light grows, I spot two birds perched on a nearby ocotillo. The pale purple of the dawn is the perfect setting for two sets of piercing yellow eyes. These are common birds in much of the southwest, but to me they are exotic, like large, prehistoric brown thrashers with a scythe bill. Their talons are just a match for the fistful of thorns they clutch as they survey the desert. Theirs is a beautiful but harsh wilderness of cactus, tumbleweed and scarce water. Below is a photo taken from the back porch of our rental at sunset—a glimpse of the thrasher’s world.

Sonoita thrashers at dawn is an 14" x 18" acrylic painted on a wood panel. The birds are painted life-size.

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