Wednesday, August 21, 2019

My Favorite Landscape Photos - Part IV


Continuing with my favorite landscape photos:

Rainbow at Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Dust Storm at The Azure Gate, Arizona

Sunrise at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming

Approaching Monsoon near Sonoita, Arizona

Saguaro National Park Sunrise, Arizona

Another Azure Gate Sunset, Arizona

Monday, August 19, 2019

My Favorite Landscape Photos - Part III


More of my favorite landscape photos:

Cabeza Prieta NWR Sunset

Another Sunset at Cabeza Prieta

Cibola NWR, along the Colorado River between Arizona and California

Joshua Tree National Monument, California


Mexican Hat, Utah

Monument Valley Arizona/Utah

Sunset her at The Azure Gate, Tucson, Arizona

Saturday, August 17, 2019

My Favorite Landscape Photos - Part II


Continuing with my favorite landscape photos:

Arches National Park, Utah

Ellsworth Creek Preserve, Washington Pacific Coast

Mount Shasta, California

Aspen Fire, 2003, Catalina Mountains, Arizona

Red Mountain Geological Area, Northern Arizona

Night Moon at Sabino Canyon, Arizona


Wells Grey Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada

Thursday, August 15, 2019

My Favorite Landscape Photos - Part I


I've said this before, and yet I am reminded nearly every time I try to take a "Landscape" Photo. I am not a Landscape Photographer. I remain in awe! Still, I try. So for the next few posts I will show some of my "favorite" Landscape Photos:



Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State

Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge central Oregon/California border

Alberta, Canada

Church beneath Mount Baker, Cascade Mountains, Washington State

Sunset on the Continental Divide in the Canadian Rockies, British Columbia side

Fir Island snow geese in front of Mount Baker, Washington State

Sunset at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, California

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Olive versus Hermit Warbler

I have always liked warblers and finding and photographing the less common ones can be exciting if not thrilling. Identifying the various species is sometimes challenging -- especially without the added of a camera, binoculars, or spotting scope.

Like many bird species, the males are often the more colorful making them easier to identify. The male hummingbirds for example. However, the female hummingbirds are a little more challenging. Same is true of Cardinals and Pyrrhuloxias. Males easy, females less so.

And the same is true of warblers.


Plumage in both the Olive Warbler and Hermit Warbler are different between their sexes. As you can clearly see from the photos below, the plumage in the two males is strikingly different. The male Olive has a "butterscotch" head, throat, upper breast and a black mask. The male Hermit has a yellowish head with black throat and upper breast, with a variably dark cheek patch.

Male Olive Warbler

Male Hermit Warbler
However the plumage in the female Olive is quite similar to a young female Hermit Warbler making it challenging to identify in the wild without the add of song. Both females have a yellowish head and throat with a variable darkish cheek patch. As the female Hermit Warbler ages, some black in the throat begins to appear, but even that is variable. As a general rule the wing bars are weaker in the Olive, but again that is variable. Here are photos of the females:

Female Hermit Warbler

Female Olive Warbler
Both of these warblers are constantly foraging and partially (or fully) hidden in Ponderosa Pine  Clutches. The Hermit Warbler doesn't restrict itself to Ponderosa Pines as the Olive typically does, so that can be a clue when seen elsewhere. When both are foraging in Ponderosa Pines, I usually find it too difficult to accurately identify the females until I download the photos and take a closer look. 

I never understood why the Olive Warbler was so named. The male has no visible "olive" color. But on close examination of the female Olive Warbler you can see the olive color on its crown and nape. On the other hand, maybe it was named after my grandmother whose name was "Olive." Here is a photo of the female showing the olive color:

Female Olive Warbler

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Friday, August 9, 2019

My Favorite Desert Bighorn Sheep Photos - Part I


I'll do this in two parts. 

I have found Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep in the White Mountains of Arizona, but have had trouble finding Desert Bighorns. They always seemed more elusive. Desert Bighorn Sheep have adapted to the desert and are quite unlike their Rocky Mountain cousins. 

The Desert Bighorn Sheep can go three weeks without water. That means they can stay high up in the mountains far from sight most of the time. I had looked many times in many places: Cabeza Prieta, Cibola, Imperial, and Kofa National Wildlife Refuges, Barry Goldwater Range, Yuma Proving Ground, and Organ Pipe Cactus National Park, all of which have fairly substantial populations (200 to 800). 

What you have to do is put yourself in the place with the most potential; meaning: time of year, time of day, and rugged mountainous terrain. The Yuma Proving Ground just north of Imperial NWR was the answer. There is but one road into this area starting at Imperial NWR. After about five miles (through Imperial) you reach a desolate area of the YPG. This is a 4x4 high clearance "road" only. Definitely not for the faint of heart. I had done this three times before without luck. The first time I blew out a tire and had to return 115 miles to the nearest city (Yuma) to get it replaced. The next two times I made it all the way to where the road dead ends. This is gorgeous country. And I had it all to myself.  

You drive up into the mountains. The mountains aren't tall, maybe 200-400 feet above ground level. But, they are very rugged which makes them perfect bighorn terrain. Each time I had gone through this one spot, I would say "if I were a bighorn sheep, I would want to be here."  

NOTE: There is a wonderful book, "Counting Sheep: 20 Ways of Seeing Desert Bighorn" which is a collection of 20 essays from writers who also love nature and wildlife and who went out searching (some finding) the desert bighorns.

I have found them several times in this area, plus Canyon Lake along Apache Trail, east of Phoenix.








Wednesday, August 7, 2019

My Favorite Raccoon Photos



Yes, sometimes they can be a nuisance. Yes, they can get into your trash cans. Unlike our home in the Northwest, we have only seen them a few times here at The Azure Gate.  Once several got in a "fight" with a young Bobcat. And another time they drank all of the nectar in one of our hummingbird feeders.

But when I come across them in the wilderness they seem --- more lovable.

Here are a few wilderness Raccoon photos:







And perhaps my favorite of all: