Catching up with Arizona
Another catch up post, seems to be the thing around here now. LOL.
We arrived in Arizona mid December, and immediately got rained on for a whole day. Which was actually wonderful to see, since it hadn’t rained here for over 100 days. I have never seen the desert looking so dry and brown as it is this year. So sad to see.
Our first camp spot was a place we had spent quite a bit of time in the spring, and photographed the wild burros. This time they were not as easy to find, or photograph. Maybe the drought has them in different areas. But, what we did find was adorable.
We stayed there 2 weeks and it was getting close to the holidays. It was pretty obvious this place would be crowded with 2 long weekends in a row. So, we decided to drive to Quartzsite because we knew for sure we could get out in the desert away from people there.
We had a loggerhead shrike who’s favorite perch was nearby.
And, we went and found wild burros.
After the holiday hub bub was done, we headed back towards the Phoenix valley so we could spend time at the Salt River and visit the wild horses.
It wasn’t anywhere as good as it was in the spring. When we spent time there last winter, and spring the horses were out in the desert in the mornings, spread out. We would hike around until we found separate bands, or groups. In the evenings they would come down to the river and cross to the other side. Some of my favorite salt river images were taken at that time. This year, is completely different and quite frankly not as good. The local advocacy group has been feeding them due to the drought, and since horses are incredibly smart, they congregate at the feed spot at the time they show up to feed them hay. I did get some photos that I like, but nothing epic.
I did however get great stuff of other wildlife. This Antelope Squirrel stretching early in the morning was probably my favorite.
Al and I have become good friends with a couple that live in the area, and he is a photographer too. He took us to a couple of new places, which was great for even more wildlife variety.
And birds! This roadrunner was so cool to find like this. It was all fluffed out and warming up in the sun. These guys are almost always running away, so to have this one sit and preen like this was such a treat.
Another area we visited is the Gilbert riparian. There are 5 recharge ponds here, and lots of water birds. They were fairly easy to photograph because they see so many people there.
Snowy egrets are gorgeous. I love their floofy feathers.
Watching them fish was cool too.
This Roseate Spoonbill has been a hit in the area.
Watching the cormorants catch fish was great! I can get over how big of fish they can swallow.
We had to leave and do an art show, that was last weekend in Carefree. Last year it was such a great show, not so much this year. Despite the mask requirement at the show, there still was a rather low attendance. Both of the February shows cancelled, so we are finding ourselves with nothing until March. Thankfully we are flexible, so we made the decision to come to a new to us part of Arizona. The Southeast corner. We got here Monday, and a couple days later I saw this guy.
This is a javelina, or also known as a collared pecary. They are not related to pigs, despite their looks.
This encounter was like the roadrunner. These guys normally are so elusive, I’ve seen tracks, and butts so this was a first. It was trying to figure out what I was, and walked towards me wiggling it’s nose. Once it decided I was OK, he hung out for a minute then went into the shrub. I’ve looked for it everyday since then. Ya, just tracks.
There are several of these gorgeous vermillion flycatchers around too. Love these colorful birds.
Yesterday we went hiking at Cochise Stronghold. What a beautiful area. This part of Arizona is completely different. Higher elevation, so different vegetation and topography.
Cochise and his Apache band used this area as a natural fortress for about 15 years. Hiking here, you can totally see how they were able to live here, and hide out here. What an amazing place.
Al took his camera and a big lens in case we saw birds. This whole part of Arizona is known for excellent birding. We only saw a few birds, but I’m sure we could find more if we took the time. These guys were in a rather shaded and dark area, but he got pretty good shots of them just the same. This is an acorn woodpecker, and was a new bird for us to see. What a little beauty.
And a fluffy scrub jay.
There are a few more areas here that we are going to visit for birds. But, a winter storm is rolling in today and the next few days, so we will have to wait. I’m excited to see these new areas though, so will no doubt let you guys know what we see.
There are a lot more photos from the last 6 weeks on my facebook and instagram. I’ve also added a bunch of new stuff to my website, so be sure to check that out too.