White Pelicans

Most people know where Lake Havasu is. The London Bridge has made it a tourist landmark. Forty miles southeast of Lake Havasu is the Alamo State Park.

The park was formed as a recreational reservoir. It offers camping, ATV trails, boating, and fishing. It is also popular to wild burros and white pelicans.

We saw dozens of white pelicans who winter in the calm still water in the recesses of the Lake.

The American white pelican breeds in Canada and upper Midwest, but migrates south to warmer climates for the winter. Arizona has become an increasingly popular place for the pelicans to winter due to the ideal climate, warm waters, ample fishing (thanks to well stocked man-made lakes) and protection from predators.

Let there be snow

Finally, a REAL snowstorm! We got over a foot of snow. It clung to the trees and weighed down her heavy branches, coated the forest, and drifted along the roads. There is something so beautiful about fresh fallen snow.

The animals came out to enjoy the cool, refreshing white powder. As did we, following animal tracks and plowing new ground along our unplowed roads.

The accompanying wind blew snow in every direction as the storm took hold and wouldn’t let up.

By the next day, we had some real accumulation and forecasts for more. Bring it on! We can use all we can get, as the snow feeds our animals, our forest and her trees, and our rivers and lakes. Without it, our environment and animals are at risk. Let it snow!

For more snow pix, check out my post here … https://kritterspaw.com/2023/01/05/dr-seuss-trees/


Best of … Animals 2022

I posted my Best of .. Landscapes 2022 here… https://kritterspaw.com/2022/12/29/best-of-landscapes-2022/

For all the places and scenery we enjoyed this year, we encountered animals along the way. We found a beaver den and were able to capture the little guy munching away on trees. We witnessed big horn sheep in the snow. We watched antelope traverse a hill with a cloudy sky as a back drop. And caught osprey and eagle with their prized catch. I had so much fun, let’s do it again. Bring on 2023. Here are some of my favorites.

Big horn sheep playing in the snow
Herd of big horn sheep run in the snow
Canadian Geese family enjoy the morning glow.
Beaver frolics in the water at Horseshoe Cienga Lake.
Ground squirrel braves sharp spires of the ocotillo for some of its tasty ‘candy corn’ fruit.
Osprey squawks for mate
Osprey flies off with prized catch.
Large 5 pt bull munches pine code off tree.
Curious river otter at Deadhorse Ranch State Park
Sandhill cranes lift off in mass to grass in fields nearby.
Baby grosbeak at feeding time.
Pronghorn antelope with new born in meadow.

It was a good year for animal pix. I could keep going, but I’ll stop here. Many are posted in the pages of my blog if one was so inclined. I hope 2023 is as productive and full of adventure as 2022. Wishing all the best to my great followers.

Practice makes better

People have often asked me, ‘how do you get so close to the animals?’, or ‘where do you find them?’. It’s not rocket science. The short answer is, I go out A LOT. It’s not like the occasional trip I get lucky on. It’s a whole bunch of trips… and every once in awhile I get lucky.

Luck definitely plays a part. But the more I find myself in a situation, the more I can use my gear, the more I can practice. All these things allow me to be better prepared when an opportunity presents itself.

I do find that the storms bring out the animals, and add more interest to the photographs. So we go out after most storms, whether it’s rain, sleet or snow (kinda like the postman). Where I find certain animals, I tend to go back, hoping I’ll get lucky again.

Having warm gloves that aren’t too bulky helps, making sure I can still operate my camera. When I encountered this herd of big horn sheep after a recent snowfall, it was 19F. I could barely feel my fingers, let along depress the camera release… and that was with good gloves and hand warmers. Being prepared allowed me to stay the course and get some nice shots.

Being able to take action photos, hand held, was a matter of having had proper settings, fast enough shutter, and panning the scene and composing the photo on the fly.

I know I need more practice to continue to improve my craft and to pay attention to what I do wrong, so that I can get better. It’s always a challenge, and I welcome the opportunities that may come my way so that I can.

You can see more of these big horn sheep photos here. https://kritterspaw.com/2022/12/15/like-a-little-kid/

Last Fall

I often say Fall is my favorite season, but this year we seem to just keep missing it.

It came early, so we opted to hit lower elevations. Just before a forecast of snow we thought we might catch some end of fall pix. Between the wind and temps the trees were mostly bare.

It seems fall has fallen (https://kritterspaw.com/2022/10/15/fall-has-fallen-2/) and winter is upon us.

Bring it on… and the animals with it. I do love the snow animal season as well .

Fog Rolls In

I love all the seasons. This time between Fall and Winter brings change of temperature and animals foraging for nuts and food.

It brings weather patterns that yield warm afternoons and cool mornings; fog and frost.

As with any change in weather, the animals are out… and so are we.

I feel so fortunate to live where we do, and see the gorgeous nature in all it’s glory.


This year has been a huge learning year for me personally. I embarked on a self-challenge to capture better bird photos, and birds-in-flight, its own challenging category. It started with Whitewater Draw, south of Tucson, as I wanted to capture the sandhill cranes. You can see my posts from Whitewater Draw here… https://kritterspaw.com/2022/02/06/birds-a-feather/ and https://kritterspix.com/2022/02/06/whitewater-draw-workshop/, way back in late January.

It quickly morphed into osprey, hawk, and eagle.

So it’s only natural to expand to little birds to complete the education.

I guess you can say I’m branching out.

I guess you just have to take what you get and try to capture it the best way you can, whatever it may be. All education is good. One of the most important lessons I have learned has been preparedness. If I’m not prepared for that ‘moment’, no amount of knowledge, luck, or conditions will allow me to capitalize on my opportunity.

Luna Lake

Luna Lake is nearly on the border of New Mexico in the upper Northeastern part of Arizona, east of Alpine.

This time of year the grassy foreground is littered with wildflowers and water fowl.

It was a beautiful scenic spot, not particularly crowded. As we left early in the morning, we were delighted to find a herd of baby elk being shepherded by doting mom’s trying to teach them how to jump the fence. We did not want to disturb them, so didn’t stay long, but enjoyed the show.

We travel around the state quite a bit enjoying what nature shows us. We are always delighted by what we find, and humbled by what I can (or can’t) capture..

Beaver Behavior

The more I embrace this Wildlife Photography the more I learn about what I don’t know. Much of my animals have been by luck by golly, and a product of many many outings. At the risk of stating the obvious, we are learning that you can actually ‘predict’ (as much as that is possible with wildlife) where and when the animals might be.

Their habitat will help to identify where you might find a particular animal, both in terms of weather, climate, and environment. For instance, antelope like the low plains and fields to graze on. Elk are partial to the dense wooded areas, and of course water fowl (and beaver) can be found on lakes and waterways.

If you can follow footprints and / or scat (poop) to track the animal you can lay in wait for them. All animals, particularly when rain is sparse are attracted to water holes, and in search of food. They come out early morning & evenings (or middle of the night).

If you can find their home – a nest or den – you are much more likely to be able to camp out and wait for their arrival or departure. We were lucky enough to encounter a beaver den. Sometimes they are abandoned, but fresh cut trees will lead you to where you might find them.

It’s gratifying when a plan comes together and persistence pays off. It keeps me coming back for more.

Cedar Waxwings

Have you ever heard of these little birds? Chances are, if you have, you are from the Northern US or Canada. They are common little birds that are very social and flock together.

They are not particularly common to Arizona, though they have been seen wintering in Sabino Canyon outside of the Tucson area. They are an easily identified bird with their tails looking like they dipped it in a yellow paint bucket, with splashes of red on their wings, a yellow belly and masked face.

I had never seen them before, so had to do a bit of research to figure out what this strange breed (to me) of bird was in our forests of Northern Arizona. Apparently they are attracted all kinds of berries, and in our case the juniper and cedar berries.

Whatever wind may have blown them in, we are happy to have them for as long as they might visit.