Geology Vista Point
Okay, as of right now, beautiful Mount Lemmon in Tucson is now my favorite Arizona destination. There is only an ugly 2 hour drive on I-10 from Phoenix to Tucson and then an annoying drive through Tucson between it and me.
Both Tony and I had been to Mt. Lemmon decades ago, separately, yet neither one of us really remembered it. If I had, it would not have taken so long to go back. It is awesomely beautiful and goes through several life zones before reaching the 9,000+ foot peak by an extremely nice 2 lane highway.
Neither of us even knew there was a lake up there…Rose Canyon Lake. Small yet gorgeous. Here are a few panoramas. If you want to see them larger, click here: 1, 2, 3.
I got my one and only lifer here.
We actually saw several. Normally getting only one lifer when I knew so many others had to be there would have saddened me…not up here because it was just so awesome!
Dull Firetip Skipper
Onward and upward we went through a beautiful census designated place (CDP) called Summerhaven, full of beautiful chalet-type summer homes. Yes, I want to live there now.
The ski run was closed but this was the view from Ski Valley. This is the southernmost ski resort in the U.S. The temperature up here was a refreshing 75° while it was a toasty 113° in Phoenix.
This place was phenomenal!
“I’m glad I’m wintering in Phoenix!”
Are you in the mood for the holidays? Hmmm, I’m not really (yet, anyway) but here are a few photos of my yard birds beginning to celebrate.
“For me? I hope it’s peanuts.”
“I pecked that myself.”
That was an Orange-crowned Warbler (“Tink”), a House Finch, a Curve-billed Thrasher, an Anna’s Hummingbird, and a Gila Woodpecker.
“Mom, I wish we had a fireplace and I wish I had a Christmas sweater.”
And here are a few from holidays past…beginning with Google in 2009. He still likes the Christmas tree but mostly lays under it instead of in it now.
House Sparrows, an American Robin, European Starlings, a Verdin, Northern Mockingbirds, a Say’s Phoebe, and a Desert Cottontail were all hoping for some holiday cheer.
Svengali, Kit, Stripey
Jessi, Ivory, Ferguson
Ebony, Google, Edie, Torti
Happy Holidays, Happy Solstice…if you celebrate…
There’s a small park in Tempe that I had never heard of with a little pond. The word got out among the local birders and bird photographers that a male Wood Duck and two females were hanging out there for the winter. Wood Ducks are not real common in the Phoenix area although a few are spotted here and there most winters. I hadn’t seen any in a couple years so I headed out last Sunday and got there shortly before sunset.
Of course, the male was the star of the show but the females are pretty, too.
It was getting dark but I was fortunate to catch a few golden patches of water.
Plus…to make things even better, there was a rare bird there, too, which was part of the draw. This tiny little guy is native to South America so everyone assumed he was an escapee from a zoo or private collection. Apparently, the latter is the case. He belongs to someone who lives a couple of blocks from the park and recently escaped. The owner knows where he is and comes to visit him but has decided he seems happy so is leaving him there. Hope he’ll be okay because he’s pretty tame and much smaller than one would think.
Ringed Teal, male
Both these boys were more than happy to pose for the cameras. I have so many photos that I had to try a couple special effects…
My last Wood Duck experience can be seen here.
Canyon Lake Vista
We went on another new-to-us day trip the other day. We took the Apache Trail (SR 88) from Apache Junction to 6 miles past Tortilla Flat (Milepost 220). I spent hours trying to stitch these 3 photos above into a panorama but could only do two without it getting all bolloxed up. So I opted for using the last 2. Guess I need to experiment more.
Tortilla Flat (pop. 6) is a 115 year old former stagecoach stop that is now a tourist trap with restaurant, saloon, general store, mercantile, and museum, but the drive there is lovely and paved.
It’s rained a lot in our area lately due to 2 tropical storms. I’ve never seen such green Ocotillos; they almost looked plastic.
Boulder Creek Bridge, built in 1937
It was another cloudy day and there weren’t many birds cooperating. Here are a couple we saw by the lake.
Red-winged Blackbird, male
We saw a few Ospreys, going in for the dive, but no one came up with anything while we were watching.
Someone’s hide and hair; it is the Wild West
This is where we stopped, not so much because we’re chickens but our SUV is not a 4WD. We might rent a Jeep one day and do the rest of the trip. I’ve heard December is the best time to take the drive because of the fall colors. I think it would be pretty dramatic since I know you see Fish Creek, Apache Lake, the Salt River, and end at Roosevelt Lake.
This is the only actual Halloween shot I’ve taken this year. I thought the birds would be more responsive to getting a treat by doing a trick for me but…wrong. Just this guy, one time…at least while I was watching and waiting.
So I had to find some older photos that might seem a little spooky or creepy…hope you don’t get too scared.
Lalo Cota mural
Lalo Cota painting
Emerging from the depths of the earth…