Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, on a Tuesday in the off season. Most of the crowd is behind the photographer.
Canyonlands National Park. There’s only a single tourist in this photo…
Made a 2,000 mile loop through northern New Mexico, Utah and Colorado last week.
Highlights of the trip included a migrating marbled godwit on the San Juan River, and being directly underneath a peregrine falcon as it nailed a robin in midair, close enough to hear the ‘thwack’ as it hit.
Whooping cranes eat blue crabs almost exclusively as they winter over at the Aransas NWR on the Gulf of Mexico. The tide was going out as we came along and this pair was busy feeding.
There were about 14 cranes in view as the boat worked up along the edge of the refuge, two more can be seen in the background. About 290 birds exist in the wild, up from 15 total in existence in the world back in the late 60’s.
It was unusually cold this morning, and only 11 people on the boat. The captain is an avid birder and a happy progressive. His deckhand hadn’t shown up, so being a former sailor I volunteered. I was able to assist a top heavy birder up from the deck after his apparatus took him down when the boat made a sudden maneuver to avoid ramming a grebe.
Too bad I missed the opening.
Or perhaps it was just as well.
This downtown gallery can be a very lively place at times, pulsing music til the wee hours…
A young kestrel at the Bosque del Apache NWR.
A foundling in the care of the Santa Fe Raptor Foundation, she made an appearance at the recent Festival of the Cranes at the Bosque.
A late afternoon sun lights up a field of red chili pods…
Arrey (just down the road from Derry) New Mexico
White Pelicans on Caballo Lake, New Mexico…
Getting out on the water at first light, I was able to get very close to them as they busied themselves with breakfast.
Masterful fliers, they departed around 10:00 am and headed up the lake for the day.
Heart Lake in the Latir Wilderness of northern New Mexico.
Latir Peak on the right is 12,708 feet, the lake is at 11,500. There were the remnants of the first snows along the shore.
The trail to the lake passed through some aspen groves in full autumn regalia…
Stopping along a stream to cool off I had numerous visitors checking out the large pale beast abrubtly come to take up so much space among the rocks. The bright crimson epaulets of this small dragonfly caught my eye.
Following a long unused trail down through an aspen grove I found this appeal…
This could be the cause of the carvers distress:
This artist wasn’t much for words, yet the message is clear.
The claw marks were 6 feet high on the tree, and quite deep….
A horned lizard soaking up the mid-day rays.
“Che”, or Grandfather to the Navajo, it is regarded as a keeper of ancient wisdoms.
I find them up as high as 10,000 feet in the mountains, they eat ants almost exclusively.
My favorite cactus here in the Southwest mountains, the beehive cactus.
This one was blooming nearly six weeks ago in the Wahoo Mountains of the Gila National Forest. The entire plant is barely 4″ tall.
The summer monsoons are just now beginning, more blooms to come…
Claret cup cactus, the earliest to bloom in the Southwestern mountains.
Favorite of the broad-tail hummingbirds, the clusters of neon blooms upon their spiky mounds are a herald of summer.
The Aldo Leopold Wilderness in Southwestern New Mexico received a good blanket of snow this past winter, more than has been seen in many years.
The usually intermittent streams had beautiful waterfalls this spring, many of which have already dwindled now that the snow is completely gone.
I took this picture in East Railroad Canyon, standing about 50 feet above the stream, hence the odd perspective.
Beehive Cactus, New Mexico
Cactus are still blooming this year, out of synch with their usual seasons. Beehives are generally done around here by mid June. The hummingbirds are very happy…
Turks Cap Lily, Butte Co., California
Wildfire burned up to the edge of a small stream, the crew spent a couple of days clearing away brush and rehabilitating the banks. Trout, dragonflies, salamanders and flowers all joined in to make it a pleasant interlude from the usual toil and trouble of fighting wildfires.
However, we did observe this curious unicorn peering at us from the pines…
Much of the wildfire burns underbrush and lower story deadwood, most mature trees survive.
Trees like this oak, weakened by time and drought, often break apart in the tumult of wildfires.
An electric power transmission line on one division of the fire began arcing across from one line to the next, the carbon in the smoke thick enough to become a conductor.
Back home after 18 days in smoky, gritty, grimy, poison oak infested northern California.
I was at the Butte Lightning Complex, flew out of Redding this morning back home to Albuquerque.
We had to hold it all the way home, Bush was at the airport yesterday, and Secret Service had removed all the porta-potties for security reasons.
I think the real reason is that he had filled them all up.
I’ve missed you all…
(everybody sing along)
birds in the wilderness, birds in the wilderness, here we sit like birds in the wilderness, waiting to be fed…
Every year a pair of Western Kingbirds nest in the windsock at our helibase. Somehow they manage to raise a brood in spite of the spinning, squeaking and flapping of the windsock. Not to mention the nosy human who climbs up a step ladder perched in the front yard to take their portrait..
A broken spear point, missing its tip on the right hand end in this photo, it may have been perhaps 3 inches long intact. The notches for attachment to the shaft are broken off as well. Made from a fine grained jasper that isn’t found in the area where this tool was left, it’s too large for an arrowhead, possibly the point of an atl-atl (spear-thrower) dart.
The somewhat rough workmanship suggests it is a relatively recent tool, probably nomadic Athapascans (Navajo, Apache), rather than the earlier Desert Archaic peoples who had more refined tool making skills.
Rules regarding artifacts require that they be left undisturbed when found. I take a picture, mark the waypoint in my GPS, and report the details to my district archaeologist. Most sites I run across have already been documented, still it’s fun to roll out the maps and locate them.
The best part is to sit down, look around, and begin to imagine who may have been there, where they might have lived, the animals and plants they sought, and the feelings they may have had…
Apache Kid Wilderness, New Mexico
I’ve always wanted one of these! Good idea, getting the Mini Winnie Wagon, what with the price of gas…
Happy Fathers Day, everyone!
From the album Cosmic Thing
Just got back from a fire….
This song always causes the tears to well up behind my eyeballs.
Peter Garret, the lead singer of Midnight Oil, is now the Environmental Minister of Australia.
I resemble him when I think there is no one around to see me gyrate and gesticulate.
My crew is mostly Navajo, I see their faces and hear their silent cries. And witness their stoic strength.
Good day, eh!
Treasure Creek, San Juan Wilderness, Colorado.
It’s a little chilly right now, but think how invigorated you’ll feel when you get out!