Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rains Bring Wildflowers - Part II

A few more of my "favorite" wildflower photos:

Western Coral Bean

Arizona Thistle

Canyon Morningglory

Desert Globe Mallow

prairie Zinnia

Blue Bonnet Lupine

Mexican Poppies

Monday, August 29, 2011

Rains Bring Wildflowers

Southern Arizona's monsoon rains also bring out a second season for wildflowers. They are more abundant in the mountain ranges. So, I thought I would share some wildflower photos with you today:

My favorite: the Dandilion Puffball

Ivyleaf Morningglory: One of my few "Fine Art" photographs

Mexican Hat Coneflower


Field of Wildflowers

Water Lilly

Spider Plant

Prickly Poppy

Mexican Bird of Paradise

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rains bring Butterflies

One of the benefits of the monsoon rains are the butterflies. Butterfly season is primarily August to October. Although, we get butterflies year round, it peaks during this time. Here are soon of the frequent visitors to The Azure Gate:

Giant Swallowtail

Elada Checkerspot

Empress Elilia

Frigga's Fritillary

Tropical Buckeye

Two Tailed Swallowtail
Queen Butterfly

Pipevine Swallowtail

Mexican Yellow Sulphur

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Bats Have Arrived

The bats have arrived!! And I don't just mean the Seattle Mariners. Each year about this time the Mexican Long Nose and Mexican Long Tongue bats migrate through with a six week stop at The Azure Gate. I always know when they arrive because they drain all the hummingbird feeders each night. It is an amazing "circus act" to watch as they bounce around from feeder to feeder staying only for a split second at each. One year we had 30-40 of them. I don't think there are as many this year -- well, yet anyway. They cause me to have to clean and fill all the feeders each day instead of every three days. But, they are fascinating to watch. In addition to the nectar bats, we get insect eating bats as well. Now, for those who don't like bats, here is a "comforting" statistic. Every year in the United States, bats consume 300,000 tons!!!! of insects. That's a lot of bugs. Almost makes you want bats as pets to eat those pests. Here are a few photos:

Fringed Myotis

Mexican Long Nosed Bat

Mexican Long Tongued Bat

Mexican Long Tongued Bat

Mexican Long Tongued Bat

Friday, August 26, 2011

More from the Chiricahua's: Coues White Tailed Deer

Just after finding the Black Bear, I came across a Coues (pronounced "cows") White Tailed Doe with her Fawn. The Coues is the smallest deer in America and only resides in Southern Arizona.  In the first photo you can tell how small the fawn is (although I saw a smaller one a month ago in this same vicinity).

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Visit to the Chiricahua's -- another Black Bear

From Lake Cochise I headed over to the Southeast part of Chiricahua Mountains (the Cave Creek area near Portal). And another successful trip. Fires have driven the bears down from the mountain tops to areas more accessible to hikers and photographers. After the monsoon rains new life begins: saplings grasses, berries etc. Areas along roads get more sun, hence more of this "smorgasbord" dinner for the bears. Water from the flooding creates "trenches" along the road too. These trenches collect leaves. The dampness from the water and the leaves in the trenches create a perfect climate for insects, grubs, worms, etc. Voila, a vegetarian becomes an omnivore. I walked with this young two year old (maybe 200 pounds) for about 30 minutes.

Here are a few photos from this trip:

Black Bear looking for grubs.

Black Bear finding grubs.

Black Bear heading over to a campground (which was closed -- well to humans, anyway).

Black Bear in Campground looking for protein.

Black Bear walking toward me.

Black Bear getting a little too close.

At this point I started slowly backing up. I got the message -- and, so did he. He stopped and I continued to slowly back away, leaving the area to him.  Black Bears are a joy to watch --- and photograph.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lake Cochise

Yesterday I headed out to Lake Cochise looking for the TriColored Heron that had been reported there. When I arrived I found the area flooded, making it very difficult to get to the pond where the Heron was seen. However, it was not a total loss at all. There were several Great Blue Herons, Black Necked Stilts, Long Billed Dowitchers, Sanderlings, Killdeer, Wilson's Phalaropes, and other shorebirds in the flooded fields. Here are some of the photos I snapped:

Black Necked Stilts in a flooded area

Black Necked Stilt on Lake Cochise

Black Necked Stilt on Lake Cochise

Black Necked Stilt with Long Billed Dowitchers


Long Billed Dowitchers


Monday, August 22, 2011

Life around The Azure Gate - II

Anna's Hummingbird is a resident hummingbird here at The Azure Gate -- and, there are many of them. They are often seen sitting in branches near their feeders, feeding, or chasing each other at the speed of light. Here are a few photos:

This is my favorite, a male Anna's yawning.

Another male showing how his gorget flares out.

This one taken during the "big" snow of February, 2007

Now the female Anna's

Here a female Anna's is feeding her two babies.

And, every once in a while a photo appears as fine art -- as in this case.