2014—More Birds From Arizona

After reviewing my post from earlier today, I decided I needed to finish posting my favorite legitimate shots from my recent visit to Arizona. I haven’t posted these shots before now because due to “operator error” (read: I have no idea how I create the chaos I do sometimes in Lightroom) I couldn’t review the shots closely until today. I took all of these in Melinda’s backyard on Tuesday, July 22, my last full day in Prescott.

Female Black Chinned Hummingbird, 400mm, ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/250
Goldfinch, 400mm, ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/1250
Juvenile TriColored Heron (I think), 400mm, ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/1600
Spotted Towhee, 400mm, ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/1000

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2014—Arizona Skies And . . .?

I returned home after a week in Arizona a few days ago and I saw no UFOs while I was there. But, that got me to thinking about my previous visit to Arizona in late October when my attempts at photographing the Milky Way resulted in a so-so shot of the Milky Way (the white balance is all wrong) but I also captured a UFO which I featured in this blog post. And it remains a UFO. I still have no idea what it might be. I decided to review my Grand Canyon photographs from February 2013 to see if anything unusual appeared in the Arizona skies and, much to my surprise and awe, the source of the God Beam I was so thrilled to capture was revealed in one of the photos I apparently overlooked until now. 🙂

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2014—But It’s A Dry Heat

That’s what they say around here when the temperatures hover in the low 100’s in the valley: “But it’s a dry heat.” However, that comment is made under cloudless skies, which we normally have all summer. Except this morning, the monsoons, which I missed while in Arizona last week in the midst of monsoon season, are influencing our California weather this week so along with our 100° temperatures for the foreseeable future, the air will be dripping with monsoon moisture and the humidity will be unbearable…I’m picturing scenes from “The Long Hot Summer.” On second thought, if a sweaty guy looking like Paul Newman, shows up on my doorstep, bring it on!

I took these shots facing east, west, and north this morning about 6:30.

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2014—Blur

I was ready for the hummer Sunday morning, sitting outside with my coffee and my long lens. I was happy to see that he hovered instead of perching on the feeder while he sipped the sugar water so I was able to get several shots with movement. The wings are still blurry with the shutter speed set at 1/250 but these three shots give a sense of the figure 8 motion of the wings. By the time I increased the shutter speed to 1/500, he had decided to sit on the feeder instead of hover.

Focal Length 400mm, ISO 640, f/5.6, 1/250

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2014—La La La

It appears that this male Anna’s hummingbird is singing but not a sound came out when he opened his beak wide. It’s a behavior I have observed in Bobo, my Red Lored Amazon Parrot and I have always assumed it is something stuck in her craw when she does this. I guess this hummer must have had something stuck in his craw—a gnat perhaps?

Focal Length 400mm; ISO 640; f/5.6; 1/250

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2014—Arizona Sun

I got home from Arizona a couple of days ago. On my last morning there, I found this flower in the front flower bed of the Anderson’s home. A little research (thank you, Google) identified it as Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’ commonly called Blanket Flower which is native to the Southwest and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. I was taken by the bright colors of the petals and now knowing that it attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, I think I might plant it in my own yard. I cropped this shot to a square format and added a vignette.

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2014—Fences Of Yavapai County

On Monday afternoon, while Melinda moderated her book club meeting, Lonnie took me for a drive through Prescott National Forest to Peeples Valley and Skull Valley to see how different the area was from Prescott. I loved the fences. If you look closely at the cattle in the last shot, you’ll see that they’re Texas Longhorns, something I rarely see when I go to Texas, despite my continuing quest to find them there!

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2014—Anderson Herpetological Gallery

As I stepped from the shower this morning, I heard a horrified shriek from Melinda in the other room and I knew something was amiss but felt that if I needed to get out immediately, my hosts would have alerted me to the danger, so I decided to take the time to dry off and put on some clothes before going out to see what was going on. The shriek had resulted when Lonnie told Melinda that a small snake was in the yard and she should get her camera but what was in the yard was a four foot Sonoran Gopher Snake (thank you, Google) and neither Melinda nor I consider a four foot snake small.

Melinda grabbed my camera with the 80-400 lens, the better to see the snake from a distance, and took some shots before I came out to find out what all the commotion was about. The Anderson Zoological Gardens seems to have added a Herpetological Gallery at one end of the garden, complete with hole/nest into which the snake disappeared while we oohed and aahed over our photographs. Here are a few of my favorite shots that I took, once I wrestled my camera away from Melinda.

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