Music and Old Paintings

bass detail

Without music, life would be a mistake.

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

It almost looks like I was at Phoenix’s beautiful and impressive Musical Instrument Museum but I was just at home. Tony is a musician and this is his upright bass, one of his many musical instruments.

I don’t often really like when I add a texture to a photo but I like how this one turned out (Kim Klassen texture) because it reminds me of an old painting and, if you’ve read The Goldfinch, you’ll understand why old paintings appeal to me right now. I highly recommend the book but it’s a definite commitment at 755 pages!

Church in My Yard


God is in the details. This was how I went to church this morning…in my yard.


LC Bee




Cicada Exo with poem 7.13.14

Well, a little wishful thinking. Here in Phoenix, it would be fine with almost everyone if the summer had gone by already…I know most other parts of the US anyway don’t feel that way.


My Yard This Evening

Hawk 7.9.14

Look who’s back! I haven’t taken any photos of our neighborhood Harris’ Hawks in awhile. There are 4 who hang around but tonight I saw 2 of them right before dusk.

Hawk 2 7.9.14

This is #2. These photos are all high ISO because of the fading light, which is not my favorite way to take photos. I’ve gotten better hawk shots in the past like these.

2 Hawks 7.9.14

Hum 7.9.14

And at the other end of the size spectrum, but equally formidable, are all these little regulars, the Anna’s Hummingbirds.

Hum Fly 7.9.14

Sven 7.9.14

Svengali loves when we spend time outside with him and the other outdoor cats. He loves the attention.

Moon 7.9.14

Almost a full moon!

Granada Park


When I go to one of the city lakes, I feel gypped if I don’t see herons, egrets, or…cormorants! So I was not disappointed as I walked around the 2 lakes at Granada Park because I saw this guy! I think he’s a Neotropic Cormorant.


Drying his wings, he briefly tolerated my attention…


And then didn’t anymore. I saw him a little later on the other side of the lake but he took off again when he saw me.


There were Killdeer(s)…


And a Lesser Scaup…love his little spiked hairdo.

Mallard and Crested Baby

I felt bad when I saw this mama mallard with only one duckling since I’m sure the others met unfortunate ends. Then I noticed the little pouf on the back of the baby’s head (click to enlarge) and thought it might have something wrong with it but, when I got home and read, I discovered that it is “crested,” which occurs sometimes with mallards but isn’t really a deformity. I think she looks cute with that little bonnet.


This is the setting for Granada Park, in the center of Phoenix, at the base of Piestewa Peak, part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. And, yeah, I was just about the only one there because it was the hottest part of the (hot) day.


DSC_4867 male crop


I’m totally excited to have found a flock of these birds again. Years ago, we saw them in a park not too far from our house but I didn’t have a good digital camera back then and, when I did, they were nowhere to be found. They are somewhat common in the Phoenix area but I haven’t been able to “capture” them until today. They were in a different park, also fairly close to our house.


These are Rosy-Faced Lovebirds (or Peach-Faced).  They are interesting in that they are descendants of captive birds that have thrived in the Phoenix area since the mid-1980s. There are large feral populations of them all over town and a one-day count of them on February 27, 2010 yielded 948. They especially like palm trees and I heard a bunch of them in a palm tree before I saw these.


This lovebird is native to dry wooded country in southwestern Africa and has adapted well to the climate in Phoenix which is not the case with other domestic parrot species. They are more of an urban wild bird than a bird found in outlying desert areas. I saw several of them today but these photos are the best.

“The long-term status of the Rosy-faced Lovebird in Arizona is not predictable. However in the greater Phoenix area, they are widespread, their population is growing, and there is little doubt that this charismatic little psittacid will continue to be part of Arizona’s avifauna for the foreseeable future” (AZ Field Ornithologists).