December 21, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Costa's Hummingbird
Costa’s Hummingbird

Just Birds

Anna's Hummingbird
Anna’s Hummingbird

I’ve had the hummingbird feeder out since I arrived here and it has attracted a few hummers, but not many. Today I finally managed a couple of shots of them as I waited around for the quail to show up.

Photo Setup
Photo Setup

All that gold/brown vegetation out there has made for some nice backgrounds for my setup here at the campsite.

Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinch

Two new arrivals here today, this Lesser Goldfinch who flew in, took a look around and decided he didn’t see anything he liked …

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

… and this Roadrunner, who showed up as I was downloading images to the computer. The two shots of him were taken through my dinette window.

Roadrunner
Roadrunner

It really didn’t seem that cold to me at the time this shot was taken, around noon, but here he is in the classic “radiator” position.

Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail

The quail numbers continue to increase as does their frequency of showing up.

House Finch Lineup
House Finch Lineup

As always, lots of House Finches.

House Finch
House Finch
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

And the same old assortment of LLB’s.

White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Chipping Sparrows
Chipping Sparrows

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December 17, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

House Finches
House Finches

LBB’s ( Little Brown Birds ) at the LTVA

Feeder Setup
Feeder Setup

It has been a long time since I have done a bird post, but the last two days I finally got out and did a little bird photography. When I first arrived here at Imperial Dam, I was greeted by a small flock of Gambel’s Quail right in front of my motorhome. So, I set up my platform feeder and spread some scratch feed on the ground where I could keep an eye on it from the front windshield, as seen in the image above.

Well, for a week I did not see a single bird take advantage of this free food. Then, slowly they began to show up, first just a couple house finches, then some sparrows, and finally the quail returned.

Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow

All pretty much just LLB’s, but since there were a couple I did not immediately recognize, and since quail are some of my favorite birds to shoot, I finally made myself drag out the camp chair and the tripod and semi concealed myself against the side of the motorhome and shot these images, all taken with a 600mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter attached.

White-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow

The Chipping Sparrow and the White-crowned Sparrow, I was familiar with, and have shot before.

Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove

Same with this Mourning Dove, a rare single dove, I never saw another one show up..

Albert's Towhee
Albert’s Towhee
Albert's Towhee
Albert’s Towhee

But the Albert’s Towhee …

Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow

… and the Sagebrush Sparrow sent me to my Sibley Birds guide to identify.

Sagebrush Sparrow
Sagebrush Sparrow

Both, though not rare, were firsts for me.

House Finches
House Finches

As is most often the case in the desert, most numerous of all that showed up were the House Finches.

House Finch
House Finch
House Finch
House Finch
House Finch
House Finch

Initially, I tended to overlook them, but upon closer examination, I became quite fascinated with the color variations in the males.

House Finch
House Finch

While most of them were not that brightly colored, there were several males that really stood out. There were two in the flock that sported quite a bit of yellow.

House Finches
House Finches
House Finches
House Finches
House Finches
House Finches

My perch on a small gravel hill here overlooking some wetlands provided a wonderful out of focus background for these images.

Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail

It took a while, but the Gambel’s Quail finally showed up in numbers, probably a couple of different flocks, one numbering  eight individuals and a second group probably between fifteen to twenty birds. Both groups were coming in several times a day, but were extremely skittish. At one point, I had to go in the motorhome and put up a barricade to keep Sam from jumping up on the dashboard ( her favorite lookout position ), since every time I heard her up there the quail would hightail it out of the feeding area.

Gamble's Quail
Gamble’s Quail
Gamble's Quail
Gamble’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail
Gamblel's Quail
Gamblel’s Quail

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December 8, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA Winterhaven, CA

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Patio Awning Fabric Replacement

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

As these two images clearly show, after 14 years of use and abuse, I believe I got my money’s worth out of this original awning fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

For the last two years the awning has been held together with a hope and a prayer, plus a bit of wire and a lot of Gorilla Tape. Since I had a good experience with ShadePro last winter when I added two new window awnings, I figured I would wait until I returned here to the LTVA and have them do the patio awning fabric replacement. I called them Tuesday to set up an appointment and they scheduled me in for Friday of the same week. Remember that the largest influx of RV’ers here isn’t until after Christmas, so I imagine the wait time would be a little more after the holidays.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

The ShadePro tech showed up on time, actually a little earlier than expected ( he did call me to let me know he was coming a little early, and to confirm directions ). He was very professional and personable and immediately set to work, extending the awning and began removing the aluminum rollup tube from the arms.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

After removing the aluminum tube that the fabric rolls up on, he began cutting away my wire reinforcement attach points on the old torn fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Next, he attached a rope and pulley that would allow him to slide the new fabric along the length of the track while standing at the front end feeding the fabric into the track ( thus turning a two man job into a one man job ).

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

All this while being diligently supervised by the motorhome’s resident expert.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Pulling the old fabric out of the track.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Attaching the rope and pulley system to the new fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Sliding the new fabric down the track.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

He then prepares the aluminum rollup tube to be inserted into the new fabric.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Inserts the aluminum tube …

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

… again under Sam’s supervision. Actually this is my gratuitous  wildlife shot for the day. The hummingbirds were a little disturbed with the interference this project caused.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

He reattaches the front arm to the awning.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Then the rear arm.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Rolls the awning up to test.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

Rolls it back down. Finished! Done in less than an hour, old fabric boxed up and taken away, all the ground policed for job litter, tools loaded into the truck, paperwork completed ( I paid by credit card ), and he was on his way.

ShadePro Awning Replacement
ShadePro Awning Replacement

This was my second experience with ShadePro and I would not hesitate to recommend them. fast, courteous, professional, and very reasonably priced. I had a different tech for each job and both were obviously well trained and very professional, as well as being personable fellows.

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December 6, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA, Winterhaven, California

Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

Quartzsite to Yuma, Arizona and the LTVA at Imperial Dam

King Valley Road, Kofa NWR, Arizona
King Valley Road, Kofa NWR, Arizona

Before leaving Quartzite, Monday morning I took a drive down Route 95 and into the Kofa NWR on King Valley Road, hoping to perhaps spot some desert wildlife while exploring some new country. King Valley Road was a wide fairly decent gravel road, but 22 miles in, I made the disastrous decision to turn north and head up into the hills, hoping to get closer the rugged mountains. The road became narrower as I headed north and soon had turned into a one lane road with no good chance to turn around. Then, suddenly, the road turned from rough, hard gravel to crushed stone, as much as a foot deep and the the no clearance Prius started to bog down. The loose stone was piled up in the center of the road so I was scraping bottom and several times came close to getting stuck… and there was no way I could turn around, not that I would have dared to stop, since that would have definitely gotten me stuck.

  • So I continued to plow through the loose stone for more than a mile until I finally came to a short stretch of hard surface just short of an area where a the road went through a wash ( and would have been impassable for me and my Prius ) and I was able to finally turn around. Then I had to make the white knuckle drive back through the loose stone, praying I didn’t run into someone coming the other way since stopping meant definitely getting stuck in the quicksand like loose stone. No pictures to show for it and I have no doubt I probably have messed up the front end of the Prius.
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

On to the Yuma Area

Having made arrangements to have my Revlimid FedEx’ed to a Walgreens FedEx Hold location in Yuma on Wednesday, I left Quartzite for the short 70 mile drive down to the Imperial Dam BLM LTVA ( long term visitor’s area ).

Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

After signing in and paying my $40 for a 14 day camping permit ( you may also opt to pay $180 for a season long permit ), and filling up with fresh water and dumping tanks and trash at the wonderful facility here at the LTVA,  I was fortunate to find one of the best sites in the entire area unoccupied and set up camp. I am on a peninsula of gravel with no nearby neighbors with 270 degree views out over the wetlands below the dam on the nearby Colorado River. Daytime temperatures are in the 70’s with cool nights right now and the wind is blowing pretty consistently at 20 mph and sometimes more.

Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite
Imperial Dam BLM LTVA Campsite

I have an appointment with Shade Pro to have my main awning fabric replaced Friday afternoon at my campsite, then really have no plans for the rest of my stay here before heading east toward Tucson.

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