A Birding Day in Phoenix

Recently my friend Valerie and I went to Phoenix to attend a scrapbooking  class.  The day of class it rained and rained and rained.  I was beginning to believe that I wouldn’t get a chance to bird on the following day.

Luckily, Saturday’s weather had improved.  The rain had stopped, but there were still clouds and a pretty strong breeze and the temperature was pretty cold, especially for Phoenix.  But I deemed it good enough to go birding.

So I headed for my favorite birding spot in Phoenix:  Gilbert Water Ranch.  It’s a fabulous place that has several water reclamation ponds and lots of walking trails.

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Entrance to Gilbert Water Ranch at Sunset

When I first arrived, there were three people there holding rescued owls.  Of course, I just had to stop.  It was a very cloudy morning, so the lighting was poor, but I was determined to get the best photos I could.

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Western Screech Owl

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Burrowing Owl

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Great Horned Owl

After enjoying the owls, Scarlett and I hit the trails.  There were bunnies EVERYWHERE!!!  Scarlett was almost overwhelmed at seeing so many bunnies and mom wouldn’t let her chase any of them.  Those bunnies were either brave or foolish.  🙂

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Cute bunny enjoying the weak morning sun.

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Mom!  That bunny is so close!!!!!

There were lots of shorebirds about. Most of them were quite a distance away, making it difficult to get good photos.

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Long-Billed Dowitchers

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American Avocet

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Least Sandpiper

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Black-Necked Stilts

I saw several egrets and herons about.

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Great Egret

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Green Heron deep in a bush.

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Snowy Egret

I just happened to notice three Wilson’s Snipes snoozing under a bush.  They blended in so well that most people walking by never knew they were just a few feet away.

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Wilson’s Snipes

Lots of waterfowl out.

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Hooded Merganser female

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Northern Shoveler

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Northern Pintail

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Canada Goose

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Green-Winged Teal male and female

Finding and photographing the small birds in the low light and windy conditions was challenging.  I did manage to find a few.   But as you can see, the photos aren’t that great.  It’s quite challenging to take pics of birds on little twigs swinging in the breeze!

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Red-Winged Blackbird

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Cactus Wren

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Verdin

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Mourning Dove

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Abert’s Towhee

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Northern Mockingbird

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Orange-Crowned Warbler

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Song Sparrow

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European Starlings

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Yellow-Rumped Warbler

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Gambel’s Quail

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Gila Woodpecker

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Curve-Billed Thrasher

My most enjoyable part of the day was when I came across several cooperative Anna’s Hummingbirds.  I had a great time taking lots of photos in hopes of catching the fire in the feathers.

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Anna’s Hummingbird female

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Anna’s Hummingbird male – you can see a hint of color

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Anna’s Hummingbird

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Those wings move fast!

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My favorite photo of the day!

Scarlett and I ended up hiking 9.5 miles that day!  We were pooped!  I’m sure Scarlett dreamt about chasing rabbits all night long! 🙂

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Scarlett sound asleep…that’s a satisfied puppy!

 

 

52-Week Photo Challenge – Week 4 “Self Portrait”

Week 4 was “Self Portrait”.   Lots of things came to mind for me for this week’s challenge I thought about setting up my camera on a tripod and getting creative with lighting, etc.  But then I thought, I need to show “me” as I see myself.

So here’s my “selfie” for the challenge.  I love exploring interesting, picturesque places…and most especially in the southwest.  The varied landscapes and wide vistas can’t be beat in New Mexico. And while exploring and photographing my adventures, I like to look my best.  And that means doing my hair and wearing red lipstick.  🙂

This photo was taken at White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico.  I had a great time exploring the dunes.  It was 20 degrees outside but I didn’t seem to notice since the sun was shining so nicely.  I haven’t been t0 White Sands since about 1976 when I was a young girl.  While there I thought of all the fun my family had picnicking in the dunes.

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Kelly having a good hair day 🙂

 

Scarlett obviously couldn’t take her own selfie.  Now she’s a smart girl and could probably figure it out, but I didn’t have the time to show her LOL!   So I took her picture for her.  She loved running up and down the dunes as fast as she could go.  You can see she was having a great time.

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Miss Scarlett

52-Week Photo Challenge – Week 3 “Drink”

This past weekend I got to travel with my friend Valerie and Miss Scarlett.  We went to Phoenix to participate in a scrapbooking class. 

The weather was terrible on the northern route. So we took the southern route through Tucson.  We stopped in at a local bar to have a burger and a drink. The burger was delicious but sadly I was driving so I couldn’t enjoy any of the unique margaritas or any of their handcrafted beers. Sigh….

So my picture for the week was of my friend’s drink. Looks delicious. 

Scarlett was wanting to have a drink too so she sidled up to the bar next to Valerie to order. A big thanks to Johan for participating in the photo. 

I Won!

I’ve been waiting for the February 2017 edition of the New Mexico Magazine to hit the stands before I made my announcement.  I’m so excited!  I won 2nd Place in the Animals Category of the New Mexico Magazine’s Annual Photo Contest.

It’s very exciting to have been chosen.   They received over 1500 entries and only 24 photos were chosen.  So it’s a real honor to have been selected.  This coming weekend they are holding a banquet for the winners at the Tularosa Basin Gallery in Carrizozo, New Mexico.

I’m looking forward to attending!

Here’s the winning photo!

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Cactus Wren

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New Mexico Magazine

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Animal Category Winners

52-Week Photo Challenge – Week 2 “Winter”

So the challenge for Week 2 is “Winter”.  Let’s be honest here…. I hate winter.  Ugh!  But! The one redeeming thing about winter in New Mexico is overwintering birds!

I spend the entire winter looking for all the visiting waterfowl in the greater Albuquerque area.  That’s what gets me through the winter season without getting depressed LOL!

So my photo of the week is of a duck-filled pond in northern New Mexico with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the background.

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Ohkay Owingeh Tribal Lakes

While visiting these lakes, I was lucky enough to get a lifer bird! A Barrow’s Goldeneye!

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Barrow’s Goldeneye – female

For Scarlett winter has a whole different meaning.  To her it means fun, fun, fun!!! This picture is of her pulling on the snow shovel as I’m trying to shovel snow off the back patio.  She made my task twice as difficult but I couldn’t deny her all that fun.

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Miss Scarlett having fun attacking the snow shovel

52-Week Photo Challenge -Week 1 New Beginnings

I have often thought about joining a WordPress photo challenge, but most I’ve seen seemed to take more time than I was willing to give or covered categories that didn’t interest me.  But recently I became aware of one that was a 52-week challenge.  That seems more doable!

So I’ve decided to participate.  This challenge is hosted by From Moments to Memories.

The first week’s challenge is entitled “New Beginnings”.  Of course the first thing that comes to mind is a sunrise or a flower bud.  But for me it means a new beginning for myself.  I’ve made a new year’s resolution to exercise more this year.  While I have always enjoyed getting out and doing short hikes for birding and exploring, I know I could do better by exercising more often during the week.

So my photo for this week represents my new beginning of getting out hiking more often every week.

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My view of the White Mesa Trail in the Ojito Wilderness near Albuquerque, New Mexico

Revision:  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before I posted.  But Scarlett does everything with me.  So why not have her included in this challenge.  So here’s Scarlett’s photo for Week 1.  🙂

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Miss Scarlett enjoying the Ojito Wilderness

 

Hike Before the Storm

So I had heard that Thursday night we were supposed to have this terrible cold front blow through with blizzard conditions and road closures.  

So Scarlett and I headed out to go on a long hike and enjoy the decent weather before we got snowed in.  

We hiked a new trail in the Bosque along the Rio Grande at the northern end of Corrales.  Not any birds of any note, but the scenery was beautiful.  The Sandia Mountains were looking dark and moody. 

Here’s Miss Scarlett posing for me with the gloomy mountains in the distance.

I came across this old ladder in a tree. I immediately thought of my fellow blogger Donna in TorC.  She would have a witty title to go with the photo.  

Hmmmmm….the best I could come up with was “fun pastimes” 🙂

Needless to say, but the huge storm was a bust. So lucky for me and Scarlett we will get to hit the trails again this weekend!