Posts Tagged ‘Riparian Preserve’

The generally preferred method of taking macro photos is with a macro lens, unless you’re carrying a camera with a telephoto lens for bird photos. In that case, the preferred method of taking macros is from about 6′. πŸ™‚ That’s what happens at the Preserve unless I’m taking my photos with my phone. In this case, think telephoto at a distance. Welcome to Monday.

Last week was a treat as far as my birding “career” goes, as I saw my first spoonbill and osprey at the Preserve. But I’ve already posted about them, so when I saw today’s theme/challenge, I was disappointed. However, I quickly realized I had more treats to share.

We’ll start again at the Riparian Preserve, my soul food walking spot here in Gilbert. While three birders with enormous lenses sat on their portable stools on the opposite side of the lake, I realized that if I followed the direction of their lenses, I could likely see whatever they were seeing but from a different and much closer angle. What I saw was this snowy egret primping. Try doing that on one foot at home!

While snowy egrets are a dime a dozen (yet still full of surprises and always worth photos), this was the first spotting for me of a Northern Shoveler trying to keep a low profile among a bunch of coots. Joni Mitchell may think you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone, but I didn’t know what I’d got until I zoomed in on my photos. Pretty snazzy gent, I’d say.

Final treat for that day, another sighting of the roseate spoonbill perched high atop a pole. Must be more difficult to preen when your bill’s spoon-shaped than for the snowy egret with its thin, pointed bill.

(more…)

While viewing yesterday’s osprey, I chatted with a couple, then shared with them where the white flowers are once again blooming off the beaten path. You’ve seen these before, once in a video and in a macro. But this time I had a bit of a surprise. They knew exactly what these beautiful flowers were and they weren’t what I expected.

The couple told me that these are datura and very poisonous! As for names? Moonflower sounds nice, but devil’s weed, hell’s bells and devil’s trumpet? Not so much.

Datura is a genus of nine species of poisonous vespertine flowering plants belonging to the family Solanaceae. They are commonly known as thornapples or jimsonweeds but are also known as devil’s trumpets (not to be confused with angel’s trumpets, which are placed in the closely related genus Brugmansia). Other English common names include moonflower, devil’s weed and hell’s bells. The Mexican common name toloache (also spelled tolguacha) derives from the Nahuatl tolohuaxihuitl, meaning “the plant with the nodding head” (in reference to the nodding seed capsules of Datura species belonging to section Dutra of the genus). Wikipedia

Datura wrap-up waiting to bloom…

(more…)

Tuesday I shared the excitement of seeing my first roseate spoonbill at the Preserve. Those in charge put out a map (I still don’t know which lake is which number) with a list on the back of all the birds that might be/have been seen there and indicating whether or not the bird is there year-round and how rare a sighting is. “A” is the last, rarest sighting designation for “accidental”, meaning it’s very unusual and that’s what the spoonbill is.

Even though I would have considered my day complete with that sighting, I had yet another surprise in store. As I wandered along a small back path, another hiker told me that back and just across the path was a falcon. I hustled over, finding the spot easily by the several birders with binoculars, long lenses, or fingers all pointed in the same direction.

The “falcon” turned out to be an osprey, another bird that’s been on my mental list of birds I’d like to see and this handsome fellow with the piercing gaze didn’t disappoint. He seemed happy to pose for us on a nearby branch. One birder was unhappy not to get a shot of the osprey in action while another regaled us with the description of a photo he got of an osprey catching an enormous fish. Me? I was thrilled to add this to the spoonbill sighting! Quite the looker, isn’t he, even though not rare or unusual here.

P.S. I’d love to see a falcon one day, too, and they have been seen. πŸ™‚

Several weeks ago while I was walking at the Preserve on the lookout for something interesting and unusual, a birder with the requisite long-lensed camera hurried up and asked me if I’d seen the spoonbill. I had to tell him no, but instant spoonbill-spotting envy struck. Unfortunately I didn’t see hide nor hair of one . Maybe beak and feathers would be a better phrase.

Today I reversed my usual path and although it was a lovely, cool morning, I didn’t see anything exciting until I stopped at one of the little open areas along one of the lakes where I often see egrets, which by now are usual. I did see an egret…and then by golly, a roseate spoonbill! And I was the only photographer in the area. πŸ™‚ Oh, yeah!

(more…)

for Six Word Saturday 10.10.20

I really did want to do Friday Flowers but frankly there aren’t that many flowers here right now that I haven’t already shared so we’re flying instead. Just a bit of fun to kick off the weekend, which I hope is a wonderful one.

Not everything in nature is large and/or showy. Look closely and you can see other things that bring joy, such as this little cutie hiding among the reeds.

Look higher and you might see this somewhat fierce-looking guy sporting some very natty threads!

My friends in most of the rest of the US are talking about the chilling effect of fall/autumn. Believe me, we’re feeling the chill, too! It’s been 105 or below for the high for some days now and later this week, temperatures are set to plunge into the 90’s or possibly even 89 for the high! Getting my fleeces out from where they’re packed as we speak. We even have some leaves in fall colors, although most of them are still attached. πŸ™‚ It’s definitely a new adventure.