Sunday, September 21, 2014

Western Tanager

Up next, the Western Tanager which is found throughout Western North America. They breed here in Arizona, usually in coniferous forests. Being close to Mount Lemmon, they stop by at our place occasionally. They stay in the trees foraging for insects and occasionally fruit.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

From wildflowers to rattlesnakes. The Western Diamondback Rattlesnake's range is from Arkansas to California and into Mexico. Typically it grows to about 4 feet, less than half the size of a bull snake. Yet, obviously a bit more dangerous. 

If you believe what you see and hear at the movies, they are everywhere in the desert and you have to kill them before they kill you. We just watched a delightful movie (Fools Rush In) where the male lead goes with his hispanic wife's brothers into the desert where he finds himself surrounded by a dozen rattlesnakes. Maybe there is a place/situation like that but I've been hiking and photographing in the Arizona desert for 12 years and never seen more than one rattler at a time. And, never ever had to kill one.

We have them living on our property although rarely see them -- maybe four times a year. For the most part they stay underground. Nonetheless, I always marvel at their beauty and significance when I see them.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

Friday, September 19, 2014

Western Coral Bean

Another wildflower hits the "5" Star mark. The Western Coral Bean is found only in Southeast Arizona in the US, but throughout Mexico in canyons, rocky hillsides, pinyon-juniper forests in semi-desert environments.  It flowers from March to May, and provides a wonderful color contrast to the desert.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Western Bluebird

Continuing my alphabetical series on my "5" Star Photos we come to the Western Bluebird. The Western and Mountain Bluebird ranges are nearly identical (the Western halve of North America). But the Western Bluebird has a bright orange breast (duller in the female) while the Mountain Blue is pretty much all blue. The photo of the male came from Mount Lemmon, Arizona while the photo of the female was taken near Joshua Tree National Monument in California.

Western Bluebird Male

Western Bluebird Female

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Water Lily

It seems like quite a while ago that I was doing a series on my "5" Star Photos. But we are nearing the end -- on "w's" anyway. So I will try to get the series completed within the next couple of weeks. Today, not a bear, not a caribou, not an elegant trogon or a tri-colored heron, but a simple water lily. 

Sometimes simple is good:

Water Lily

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sweetwater Wetlands and Christopher Columbus Lake

I had a late start yesterday, so didn't arrive at Sweetwater Wetlands until 11:00 -- or more importantly until it was 104 degrees. The consequence was a very quiet visit. I did see a Green Heron fly in a weed bed and a Belted Kingfisher heading somewhere cooler. Probably my best photos were a Savannah Sparrow and a couple of Mexican Mallards:

Savannah Sparrow

Mexican Mallard

Juvenile Green Heron
 I didn't fare any better at Christopher Columbus Lake. The few birds there were stayed pretty much deep inside the trees where they were foraging. The best there was this Yellow Rumped Warbler:

Yellow Rumped Warbler

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Huachuca Canyon: Always Good Birding

I went again to Huachuca Canyon looking for the Sinaloa Wren and now the newly reported (one time) Prothonotary Warbler. And, again no luck. However, as is usually the case I didn't come home without some photos, including a couple very nice photos like the ubiquitous Wilson's Warbler and Painted Redstart. Even though often seen I thought those two in particular turned out well:

Wilson's Warbler
Painted Redstart
Black Throated Gray Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Gilded Flicker
California Sister
unidentified butterfly
Pipevine Swallowtail