Category Archives: Phoenix

Fall Comes…

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…slowly to the desert but it’s beginning to happen…despite our continuing  heat…

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Bees at DBG

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Cloudless Sulphur in my yard, above.

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This is a Southern Dogface, above, photographed on September 21, 2014. The only other time I photographed one was exactly one year ago on 9.21.13, same bunch of lantana in our yard. I guess s/he is the true harbinger of autumn in my yard.

Skip 9.21.14

Fiery Skipper, above and below. I’m very grateful to the people who lived in our house before we moved in 20 years ago (this month) because they planted lantana all over the place! Little did I know it would become the focal point of so many of my photos. Our yard would be a lonely place without it.

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So all the above Queen butterfly photos were taken at the Desert Botanical Garden last week and then, lo and behold, I went outside this weekend and there in our lantana was another Queen. We have tons of b-flies in our yard but never a Queen before so here’s a few more of my personal Queen. Butterflies looove lantana.

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Happy Autumn Equinox!

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Papago Park

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Roseate Skimmer

Dashers and Darners and Skimmers, oh, my! These photos are from a couple of visits to Papago Park last weekend. Papago Park is where The Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Garden are located. Its 1500 acres (mostly located in Phoenix but a smaller section in Tempe) also include Hole in the Rock, the first governor of Arizona’s tomb, sandstone buttes, hiking trails, a golf course, and 6 acres of stocked ponds. The ponds are where all this action took place. (Click photos for more detail.)

Duck Drink

Killdeer

Killdeer

Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-Billed Grebe

American Coot

American Coot

Mallard Fly

Longview

Driftwood

Red-Eared Slider

Red-Eared Slider

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Blue Dasher

RS

Flame Skimmer

And, yes, there were colorful dragonflies everywhere!

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And the star of the ponds, for me, was this Green Heron, not quite an adult but almost there. While I find Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, and Black-Crowned Night Herons pretty often, the Green Herons have eluded me (although I did get one a few weeks ago in shadow).

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Such a handsome little guy…These ponds attract a lot of wildlife and aren’t too far from where I live so I’ll be heading back there soon…

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Tres Ríos

Stream

I’ve found my new favorite place in town: Tres Rios Overbank Wetlands. Tres Rios is 480 acres of constructed emergent wetlands at the confluence of the Salt, Gila, and Agua Fria Rivers in far west Phoenix. Built by the Army Corps of Engineers, the primary goals are flood protection for the local residents and habitat restoration for native animals. The water source for Tres Rios is highly treated effluent from the City of Phoenix’s Waste Water Treatment Plant. All the plants are native to Arizona. You can read more about Tres Rios here.

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I have far more photos in this post than I normally do so I’ll try not to write much. Someday this area will have ramadas and restrooms and be open to the public but right now it is (easily-obtained) permit only. Tony and I were the only humans there last Sunday. I can’t wait to go back when it’s cooler and full of even more birds and wildlife. (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Nests in Tree

These are Great Blue Heron nests!

Nests Close

GBH Barb

And speaking of GBHs, there are a lot of them there. They like the marshy areas but they kept flying off and going into the inaccessible-to-humans pond areas when they saw us.

GBH Fly

Tony took this photo, above, I love it! The GBH looks almost prehistoric here.

GBH Fly

Cattails Close

Common Gallinule

Common Gallinule, above.

Cormorant Flock

Flock of Neotropic Cormorants.

Cormorant Fly

Marsh

G Egret

Great Egret in the marsh.

Dead Tree and Mtns

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Lilies and Reeds

Osprey Fish

I didn’t know the Osprey had a fish until I looked at the photo later (not very sharp). Another one, below, is enjoying his fish in the tree.

Osprey Tree Fish

Ibis Flock

White-Faced Ibis, above and below. The 300mm lens is beginning to seem too puny. (You can see their curved bills by clicking on the photos.)

Ibis Redo

S Egret

Snowy Egret fishing.

Sunflower

Marsh 2

Marsh 3

On the other side of the fence in this photo, above, are the inaccessible ponds.

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These Mexican Amberwings were everywhere, sparkling in the sunlight, and they’re tiny, about an inch long, at most.

Reeds and Water

Rockbed

Hawk Fly

Cove

Formation

Lilies

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Lizard

Rushing Water

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I think this photo, above, and the next 4, below, is of a Turkey Vulture. They are plentiful at Tres Rios but some of these may be hawks also.

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TV Fly 4

TV Fly

Longview

UFO

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Pinkish Bird

I have no clue what the birds in the above 3 photos are. I do have 2 birding field guides ordered so I can get good at this stuff. If you have a guess, please tell me.

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This place is just stunningly beautiful to me…I can’t wait to go back. It’s the best riparian location I’ve been. Blue skies, mountains, water, birds and other wildlife, it’s awesome!

Bubbling Water

Here’s an aerial view of Tres Rios. Most of those ponds are inaccessible to humans but there is still a huge area that is accessible. (Credit for below photo here.)

Tres Rios Aerial

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If, after all that, you would like to see how Tres Rios works, here is a video:

Back to the Falls

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I went back to Arizona Falls a couple of weeks ago because I heard there were Green Herons there. Well, they must have been out and about fishing when I was there because I saw none.

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I last wrote about Arizona Falls here. Located on the canal, it is a functional hydroelectric plant that furnishes power for 150 homes as well as a public art project called WaterWorks.

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There are 2 sets of falls here but there are also some smaller falls. Arizona Falls has been in existence since the early 1900s (in different incarnations) when it used to be a popular picnic destination.

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This photo, below, is from my post several years ago but gives you an idea of the current structure. Only one of the falls was running that day.

AZ Falls Distance

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I had to amuse myself with capturing water effects and experimenting with shutter speeds.

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Spotted Sandpiper 2

The star of the day, for me, was this Spotted Sandpiper, since I’ve never photographed one before.

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Gotta get a few more birds in…

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This is an interesting and strange place but I would have enjoyed a little more bird action since that seems to be my preference lately.

The Phoenix

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It’s been so hot (116 today) and humid the last few days that I haven’t taken any photos. Here are some from last week on cloudy days during our monsoon season.

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Someone’s nest blew down during the strong winds but I didn’t see any evidence of occupation so I’m assuming it was an old nest.

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It’s only 3 inches across, too big for a hummingbird nest, not the right construction for a verdin nest, and too small for most of the other birds I’ve seen around here so it’s a mystery to me who built it. But I’m keeping it and thinking of a way to display it.

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This 18 foot tall piece, The Phoenix, located at the Shops at Town & Country, close to where I live, is by artist Paul Coze (1903-1974). He was a French-American anthropologist, artist, and writer, most notable as a French authority on Native Americans, and for his public art in the 1960s. Settling in Phoenix full-time in 1951, he founded an art school and created nine major pieces of public art in the city, including large multimedia installations at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, and other civic landmarks, most with Native themes. Coze provided artistic designs for Arizona’s celebration of 50 years of statehood, The Arizona Story, in 1962 (Wikipedia).

I’m hoping for a little bit of a cool down so I can head back out and get some more shots soon…