February 19, 2019 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Mittry Lake Wildfire
Mittry Lake Wildfire

A Little Nightime Excitement and a Trip to the Picacho State Recreation Area

Mittry Lake Wildfire
Mittry Lake Wildfire

A slight smell of smoke woke me from a dead sleep the other night and I glanced out the bedroom window to the scene above. The wildfire was about 3/4 mile away at that time and the wind, fortunately was driving it towards the Imperial Dam, not towards the area I was camping. The fire smoldered for three days and the burn covered a distance of a couple miles all the way up to the road going through the Yuma proving grounds.

Imperial Dam LTVA Sunrise
Imperial Dam LTVA Sunrise

Just another desert sunrise from the campsite.

Picacho State Recreation Area
Along the Road to Picacho State Recreation Area

Picacho State Recreation Area

Picacho State Recreation Area
Along the Road to Picacho State Recreation Area

I was waiting for a day with blue skies and cumulous clouds to venture out the very washboarded 18 mile gravel road to the Colorado River and the Picacho State Recreation Area. I had those conditions when I left camp but the clouds were blown away by the time I reached the river.

Picacho State Recreation Area
Along the Road to Picacho State Recreation Area
Colorado River
Colorado River

The gravel road is dusty and washboarded, but there are no serious grades along the route and the road can pretty much be traveled by any type of rig. There is a nice primitive campground near the river, probably close to 50 level campsites with water and a dump station and when I was there only about five small camping units were present. Certainly a place to get away from it all, but I probably would not subject my motorhome to the washboarded road in.

Picacho State Recreation Area
Picacho State Recreation Area
Picacho State Recreation Area
Picacho State Recreation Area

There are a couple of nice picnic areas and boat launch ramps along the river.

February 8, 2019 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Imperial Dam Sunrise
Imperial Dam Sunrise

Another Uneventful Week in the Desert

A couple of sunrise shots from this morning.

Sunrise Clouds
Sunrise Clouds

A Couple more Boring Desert Bird Shots

Doves
Unwanted Crowd

To think that just a few weeks back, I was wondering if I would ever get the birds to discover me out here. Unfortunately, the Mourning Doves and the Red-winged Blackbirds have come in droves, making feeding a little expensive now that I have to put out seed two and three times a day to keep the Quail and others coming in. The Doves number forty or fifty at times and the Blackbirds often as many as twenty.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

And I have to feed them all in order to keep the Quail coming back, now almost a continuous presence as opposed to their earlier early morning, late afternoon arrivals. The rock this guy is sitting on has holes a couple inches deep and acts as a great natural feeder.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

They are a lot of fun to observe and without a doubt the most skittish of all the birds that come in. They are in constant motion and always choose to run rather than fly, even when the Merlin screams in. And as I have probably mentioned before, they are always peeping, gurgling, and cooing amongst themselves as they scurry around scratching at seeds, really interesting to listen to.

As you can probably guess, I am getting a little bored here and wish there was some way I could move on to new ground as I used to do, but I am unfortunately tied to this spot for at least another month of treatment.

February 28, 2017 Ogilby Road BLM area, California

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

The Desert Begins to Bloom, Bringing Hummingbirds

Sunrise, Ogilby Road BLM Area
Sunrise, Ogilby Road BLM Area

Another beautiful day in the desert begins with a colorful sunrise. It is just about at this time in the morning that I go outside and fill the hummingbird and other feeders I have planted outside my motorhome door.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

The hummingbirds arrive at the feeders before it is anywhere light enough to photograph, so I use this time to go out and scour the surrounding area for any blooming flowers I can find. The blooms are few and far between, but it is now only a matter of time before everything starts to pop, given the recent rains and how green everything is around here.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

Though there are hundreds of healthy ocotillos around, there are only a few here and there that have started to bloom, and these flowers are the perfect photo prop to use for these desert hummers.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo

I know there are at least three different types of female hummingbirds coming in to feed, but other than the fairly distinctively colored Rufous, I am never exactly sure who is who with these females, so i won’t bother to attempt to label their images.

Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Female Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird

The male Costa’s is pretty easy to identify, but seems to be the most timid of the other male hummingbirds coming in, and is always chased off by either the male Rufous or Anna’s.

Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo

The male Rufous is probably the most aggressively possessive of the feeders, chasing off all others who dare approach. He actually kind of irritates me as I wait for birds to approach and he chases them off before I can get a shot taken. After scaring them off, he retreats to the inner branches of a nearby tree, leaving me with nothing to photograph until he gets hungry again or finally decides to fly off and check out other areas.

Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo
Rufous Hummingbird and Ocotillo

His throat coloring is very impressive if exposed to the proper light. Unfortunately, with the sun coursing across the southern sky and the prevailing wind coming from the north, I have been unable to get a great shot of him yet ( they prefer to feed facing into the wind ).

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

And then there is the colorful Anna’s male. This guy was here a lot in the beginning but has made far fewer appearances since the Rufous arrived and staked out his claim to my feeders.

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

I was here two years ago in a spot only a hundred yards or so from where I am now along the same wash and had a lot more activity than I am getting here this year. Still, I have a hard time complaining about day after day of wonderful 70 degree weather with cool nights and gorgeous sunrises, with three different hummingbird species to shoot.

Hopefully I’ll have some more shots of the male hummers next post.

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December 10, 2016 Quartzite, Arizona

Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise

Home Sweet Home, Back in the Desert!

Home Sweet Home in the Desert
Home Sweet Home in the Desert

My new home for two weeks, in the Roadrunner 14 day stay BLM area, about 4 miles south of the town of Quartzite, Arizona.

Home Sweet Home in the Desert
Home Sweet Home in the Desert

Anyone who has ever been in Quartzite for the RV Show probably wouldn’t associate this place with peace and quiet, but at this time of year, and in this particular location, peace and quiet it is, with almost total isolation, just the way I like it. My closest neighbor is a quarter of a mile away and all I can hear, day or night, is the sound of the wind. Weather is just wonderful, 70 and sunny by day, 40’s at night, just Paradise after the miserable cramped conditions at the Birdwatchers RV Park back at Bosque del Apache.

I left Bosque on December 2nd and headed west across the mountains to get here. Was a little bit nervous about snow at the higher elevations along the way here and did see a lot of snow covered ground, but, fortunately, the roads were clear and dry and I encountered no problems on my two day trip. I overnighted at Walmart in Payson, Arizona Friday night and arrived here in Quartzite where I filled my gas and propane tanks in town then drove the 4 miles south to this location.

Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise

Nothing much to photograph here other than the wonderful sunrises and my main goal for my two week stay here is to get all my Bosque del Apache crane and geese shots processed and to get them and a couple other wildlife slide shows completed on BluRay disc.

Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise
Desert Sunrise

I have ventured into town a couple times to pick up various odds and ends for the RV at all the “outlet” ( flea market, junk ) stalls set up around Quartzite, but otherwise have been pretty much a home body here and simply have enjoyed the long anticipated solitude of the desert.

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