People often ask me, “what kind of camera do you have?” Or my favorite statement, “you must have a good camera!”
It reminds me of a story I heard some time ago, about the photographer who goes to a gourmet chef’s house for dinner.
The well known published photographer shows up at the woman’s house for dinner. The home owner & chef goes on about how beautiful his photographs are and as she invites him in she adds, ” I love you photographs. You must have a great camera.”
After a lovely evening and an amazing gourmet meal, as the photographer is leaving, he tells the woman how wonderful the meal was, and in parting “you must have a great oven!”
The right camera gear is essential, skill… is priceless.
I have never been much of a bird watcher, but being retired, and living in the ‘wilderness’ has made me so much more aware of the animals and birds around me that I ever was living in the big city going to work every day.
There are so many interesting animals and birds out there, that I feel I have barely scratched the surface of being able to appreciate and identify the wide variety of species we have in AZ.
The sandhill cranes are among the more interesting migrating birds that call AZ their temporary home.
Then their are the snow geese that come for the summer – and I’m not talking about the east coasters that come in travel trailers and crowd Phoenix during Noreasters back home!
Northern shovelers with their platypus-type bills are among some of the interesting ducks we have.
Along with the pintail ducks that flock to our AZ lakes.
At Whitewater Draw in southern AZ, you might find yourself saying ‘who?’ to any number of bird species in this small, confined riparian area that serves as home to a snow bird of another feather.
I thought I had seen it all… at least most of the animals there were to see. (Though I still have never seen that elusive mountain lion.) The other day we even got the opportunity to see a Ringtail Cat. Which was super cool. I didn’t get a photo, alas… they are nocturnal. I felt fortunate enough just to see this odd little weasel-like creature with a raccoon-ish big stripped tail bigger than his body. (You can see a photo of him here… https://kritterspaw.com/2018/10/30/ring-tale/). But I digress.
The other day, we were outside and this ‘swarm’ of white birds was circling overhead. They settled in the tree in our front yard! Moreover, they stayed!
I’m guessing they were migrating from here to there… where ever the here and there are. But in transit, they needed a rest, and found a good spot right here! Wow!
I can tell you, I got little else done that day!!!
So, they appear to be Great White Egrets… while they are ‘common’ birds…. they certainly aren’t common in our front yard here in the mountains. So I was delighted to have them find rest at our home.
They were here… then they were gone.
I was happy to entertain them… or moreover, have them provide my entertainment, albeit for a short respite.
We finally got a little snow…. not much, but enough to have the animals hunker down and get out of the wind and snow. This little pygmy owl sat and gazed at the snow and watched it come in. Any time we see some of the more ‘exotic’ and rare animals, we are thrilled… and this pygmy owl was no exception.
You can tell when the weather is nice, even if only for a short period of time… the birds and squirrels come out in droves to collect seeds and food before the storms return. They are fun to watch as they happily hop around soaking up the fleeting sunshine.
We have red headed Acorn Woodpeckers and Northern Flickers in these parts.
… and the occasional endearing dear and crazy squirrel .
Sometime when we are young we learn that birds fly south for the winter. So I’ve known that somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind, but haven’t really contemplated it or given it much thought.
Yet when we went to Bosque del Apache outside of Socorro, New Mexico that very principle is live and in your face. Thousands of sandhill cranes, white geese, canadian geese, and other waterfowl fly from Alaska – south, to Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge.
Even though it was a ‘light’ year for the birds flocking to Bosque, it was still a sight to see, watching these numerous birds of all different kinds spiraling into the ‘crane pools’.
We watched them early morning (6 am sunrise) and evening (5pm sunset) as they would ‘lift off’ and go to safe ground in the ‘crane pools’. During the day they would flock to the farm fields and feed off the grass. It was definitely good cheap entertainment.
My www.krittersmenu.com has a category, It’s What’s For Dinner. In the terms of my foodie blog… it’s what we have for dinner and recipes and ideas worthy of sharing.
On this photography blog, it’s not so much what we had for dinner… but what our fair weathered friends did, making for a photographic story of nature and the food chain. Case in point, this blue heron in search of a meal.
The target identified
It’s What’s for Dinner.
I spotted these birds the other day in the midst of our rain storm. They seem to come by when the weather is cold and adverse, particularly mornings and some occasional evenings. We don’t see them on the sun shiny days, nor on a regular basis.
I’m struggling to figure out who they are. I have searched my bird book, and the closest I can come to discerning their species, is a Cassin’s Finch.
Yet it seems awfully cold and off season for finch, but maybe not for this variety, which I have never seen before now. Anyone have any idea what they are?