January 23, 2017 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Desert Rainbow
Desert Rainbow

A Little Rain in the Desert

Desert Rainbow
Desert Rainbow

I was just setting up to do a little painting early this morning when I glanced out the dinette window and noticed some dark clouds approaching from the north. Several minutes later, a fairly brilliant rainbow appeared, so I grabbed the camera and ran outside for a few shots.

Desert Rainbow
Desert Rainbow

As the rain began falling a little harder a second rainbow started to form, but unfortunately, the wind was blowing the rain directly at the camera and I was forced to retreat inside.

Desert Rainbow
Desert Rainbow

Still, a nice way to begin your day!

House Finches
Full House

The tray feeder continues to attract a crowd, with the finches, sparrows, and doves feeding here pretty much all day long.  I never thought I would see this number of birds here in the desert. Unfortunately for a few of these little guys, the large number of birds now gathering on and around the feeder has attracted the attention of a Coopers Hawk who checks in on the situation several times a day and causes quite a commotion when he appears. I haven’t actually seen the hawk grab anyone yet, but there have been a couple of times when I have gone out to replenish the feeder and seen him take flight from the ground just 30 feet away. The fact that he is on the ground most likely means he did grab somebody. Cruel, but I suppose everybody does have to eat.

If you right click on the image above ( or any image ) you should be able to see a larger version of the image.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

Finally got a few poor shots of the Gambel’s Quail as they bob around under the feeder and scratch around the rocks.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

They are very wary and flush at the slightest sound or movement, so these images were taken through the glass. They are very amusing to watch as they chase off the doves and sparrows feeding on the ground with them.

Gambel's Quail
Gambel’s Quail

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March 8, 2015 Sierra Vista, Arizona

Gambel's quail
Gambel’s quail

Two Old Age Casualties in Sierra Vista

Today marks a week that I have been parked in the Thunderbird RV Park here in downtown Sierra Vista. After feeling like it was finally time, Wednesday I had a root canal done at 1st Dental here in Sierra Vista. Absolutely painless procedure … sure wish I could say the same for the next two days. Stayed in and dealt with the pain meds for two days, feeling like like my head was going to explode, before the pain finally subsided on Saturday and I could quit the pain meds.

Making all this even worse, Jenny, my 15 year old Maltese, apparently injured her right rear leg, probably from jumping down from the windshield deck where the pups spend their day when I leave them in the motorhome alone. She doesn’t act like she is in much pain, but now is hopping around on three legs and is unable to get to any of her favorite spots ( off the floor ). She is a very active senior citizen and I hate to see her now have to act her age.  I can’t feel anything broken or out of place, so will have to watch to see if she can recover from this on her own over time.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Feeder Portraits

House Finch
House Finch

I happen to have a tree right next to my dinette window, so when I arrived here, I put out a platform feeder and hummingbird feeder to see if I could attract some photo subjects to my campsite.

Feeders
Feeders
Portrait Studio
Portrait Studio

Although no hummingbirds have shown up ( yet ) …

Gila Woodpecker
Gila Woodpecker

… this Gila Woodpecker being the only taker so far, the seed tray has attracted several city dwellers over the week It has been out, so on Sunday, I figured I would try and get some closeup head shots of the various birds using the feeder. The tree is actually too close for me to use my 600mm lens so these shots were all taken with my 200-400mm lens, and all were taken through the window glass, yet are quite sharp considering.

Curve-billed Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher
Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove

There are actually four different types of doves coming in, Mourning, White-winged, Common Ground, and Eurasian-collared. Only the White-winged and Mourning doves flew up to the feeder, the other two types stayed on the ground below, out of range for the camera.

White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove
White-winged Dove

Though true gluttons, thus forcing me to replenish the feeders a couple times a day, these White-winged doves are quite handsome and kind of fun to watch when they have emptied the tray feeder and then attempt to squeeze themselves down onto the smaller house style feeder I added to the tree a couple days ago. Love the blue eye liner these guys show off so well.

House Finch
House Finch
House Finch
House Finch

House finches are the most numerous visitors and I find the variations in color kind of interesting. Some sport a lot of yellow feathers in addition to their red, and one individual is a gorgeous orange rather than red ( unfortunately I haven’t been able to get him to come out of the shadows for a good shot ).

House Finch
House Finch

This coming week, after a dental appointment for crown work,  I hope to be able to get started finding some early arrivals at the various birding spots south of Sierra Vista, stay tuned.

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February 15, 2015 Gunsight Wash BLM near Why, Arizona

Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal

A Weekend of Bird Photography

This weekend I decided to stay home and see what birds I could attract to my campsite here at, and at the edge of, Gunsight Wash. This is a BLM dispersed camping area right on Route 85 just a little south of the village of Why. There is a lot of dense vegetation along the edges of the wash and I had a feeling it might prove to hold a lot of desert birds.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version, and I might suggest that you do for some of these larger versions are pretty nice, if I say so myself..

Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker

All of these images were actually taken from inside my motorhome, some taken through the glass when necessary, while others were shot through the open window after I removed the screen ( fortunately there are few bugs here ).

Troublesome verdin
Troublesome verdin

I did set out the hummingbird feeder in the closest Palo Verde tree and while it did attract a few Costa’s hummingbirds, it proved to be difficult to maintain as the verdins and the gila woodpeckers were determined to find a way to drink.

Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal

Only about 20 feet from the motorhome window was a dead saguaro cactus, it’s bare skeleton held erect by the remains of the skin on it’s upper branches, and this provided a great spot to hang out some oranges in an attempt to attract some gila woodpeckers, a bird I did not have any decent images of.

Verdins
Verdins

Turns out that almost all the birds here were interested in the oranges.

Brown towhee
Brown towhee

Took me a while to figure out just who he was, for this is a new bird to me, but this brown towhee was a regular visitor over the weekend,

Rufous-sided towhee
Rufous-sided towhee

and his more secretive cousin, the rufous sided towhee, also raced in and out first thing in the morning when there was never enough light to get a good shot.

Gambel's quail
Gambel’s quail
Gambel's quail
Gambel’s quail

This lone Gambel’s Quail showed up a few times, always alone, kind of an odd thing for this bird, always seen in flocks.

House finch
House finch
House finch
House finch

There were lots of house finches,

White crowned sparrow
White crowned sparrow
White crowned sparrow
White crowned sparrow

White crowned sparrows, as well as other unidentifiable ( by me anyhow ) sparrows, often as many as a couple dozen ground feeders in a t once.

Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal

But the star of the show was this male northern cardinal, without a doubt, the most perfect specimen of this species I have ever seen. He absolutely glowed, the most brilliant plumage I have ever seen on a cardinal.

Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal
Northern cardinal

He was very aggressive about chasing the female cardinal out anytime they both were here, which seemed a little odd,

Female northern cardinal
Female northern cardinal

so she was a little more of a challenge to capture since she was always forced to eat and run.

Verdin
Verdin

I finally did get a nice closeup shot of a tiny verdin.

Antelope squirrel
Antelope squirrel

A pair of antelope squirrels joined in downing the bounty here. They often were gathering seeds shoulder to shoulder with the birds, who exhibited no fear whatsoever of these small rodents.

Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker
Gila woodpecker

And, of course, now I can say I have a few shots of the gila woodpecker.

It actually rained a little Saturday night, as in even hearing raindrops on the metal roof. The “Green Desert” the Sonoran, is going to now get even greener, as if that were possible.

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