Who?

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Burrowing Owls, that’s who. Burrowing owls are small (9 inch tall), day-active birds that live in the abandoned burrows of ground squirrels and other mammals. They are highly social and eat primarily insects and mice. Once common in the Phoenix valley, these birds are disappearing rapidly due to development. Oftentimes, developers are not even aware that there are burrows and they excavate over them. Fortunately, the birds can be trapped and successfully relocated to safe sites; however, these sites are becoming increasingly rare (Downtown Owls).

The City of Phoenix, along with Wild at Heart and Audubon Arizona (funded by Toyota TogetherGreen) have been relocating these displaced owls for the last couple of years in the Rio Salado Restoration Habitat Area. Volunteers build burrows out of PVC pipes and 5 gallon buckets for them, and they are gradually re-introduced into their new burrows.

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We went to see the owls this weekend with our friend, Lawrence Polk, Parks Special Operations Supervisor, for the City of Phoenix, and we got a guided tour of the burrows, which are on a bluff overlooking the Salt River. Each burrow is covered over with rocks to protect it and has a perching post outside.

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The birds are not very shy but you are not supposed to get within 15 feet of them. The burrowing owl is federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Burrowing Owls are listed as Endangered in Canada and Threatened in Mexico. In Arizona, they are considered a Species of Concern.

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Turkey Vulture

They are always on the lookout for any possible danger. I thought maybe the hawk, above, was scoping out the owls but, later, when I looked at my photos, I realized it was a Turkey Vulture, looking for carrion, so the owls weren’t in danger from him.

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We saw several of the owls and I took about 150 photos but they all kind of look about the same, I noticed, so I won’t show you all of them.

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There are a few other locations in the area where new habitats for the owls are being built, including Zanjero Park in Gilbert.

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Pink

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A mural in the Melrose District of Phoenix.

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Someday I want my hair this color, at least part of it.

Purse Pink

My new purse that gives me extreme springtime joy and seems to affect others similarly.

Cross Earrings

My favorite earrings that I got last summer in Prescott, AZ at Newman Gallery. They are made by New Mexico artist Cindy Huff. Sterling silver with coral roses.

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Geraniums on our front porch. In a couple weeks, they will succumb to the summer heat but they’ve brought color and beauty for the last several months.

Jessi Collar

Jessi’s new collar. Jessi is one of our outdoor cats who has now become an indoor cat. We love them all the same but it just became time for Jessi to be off the streets and she tested negative for all the bad kitty diseases. Marbles and Google are working at accepting her and vice versa.

Pink Spot

Delish ice cream and coffee served here.

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Sometimes it’s easier to do a blog post if you give yourself a little prompt.

Portholes to the Soul

Stargate

This is kind of a stupid post but I’ve spent way too much time on this silly little project in the last few days so it’s really all I have to blog about at the moment.

Here’s the brief back story. A couple of months ago at work, a co-worker wrote an email to a third party and copied me on it, telling him that I could assist him with something. She wrote it from her smartphone and it absurdly autocorrected my last name to “Porthole.” I made the mistake of pointing it out to her and several other people and now I am sometimes referred to as “Porthole,” “Ms. Porthole” or even “Portholio.” 🙂 Lovely names, all of them.

One of my co-workers who often uses these names suggested I do a photographic series on portholes. But, this is the desert and there just aren’t too many portholes around. He suggested I use “porthole-like” subjects.

This is a less than 2 minute video that I compiled using the photos. Don’t hold it against me. About half of them are new and the others are from my archives.

This was created in Keynote, converted to Quicktime, and then uploaded to YouTube, which is part of the reason it took so long. And I’m finally done with it.

New Paint!

Phoenix Mural
So this is my new favorite mural in town because it’s just so…Phoenix! The murals have changed and increased so much recently that I no longer even try to keep up with them. But I like to show you every now and then how colorful the streets of Phoenix are. This is by Lalo Cota, JB Snyder, Angel Diaz, Pablo Luna, and Colton Brock. Much as I love this above mural, it was painted over another one of my favorite murals (below), by Lalo Cota:

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This is on Calle 16, one of the “hotspots” for murals~behind, next to, and close to Barrio Cafe, a great Mexican restaurant, the owner of which was the impetus behind all the murals on Calle 16, Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza.

Here is another wall there (Lalo):

Luchadores Mural

And this was what was on it most recently, more luchadores (partially Lalo):

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Another new mural there, by Angel Diaz:

Turt Mural

And previously, on the same wall, also by Angel Diaz:

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And another time, same wall:

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And another wall (partially Lalo):

Mac Mural

This wall, above, is special, in that in 2011, El Mac (Miles Mac), who is an internationally renowned artist and muralist now, came back to Phoenix, where he got his start, and painted this part of the wall:

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Out of respect for him, this part of the wall doesn’t get over-painted although the rest of it changes now and then:

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And here’s a bonus one, down the street a little ways:

16th Street Mural

I do hope that first one gets made into t-shirts, postcards, magazine covers, etc. and brings a lot of cashola to the artists. I’ll buy one.