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25 January 2009

backyard

I decided to give my camera a small workout today and spent an hour or so shooting in the backyard. we've had a very warm winter so there are still many flowers blooming and a lot of insect activity, making for good subjects. A quick count of different blooming plant varieties totaled about 26, but I'd imagine I forgot a couple.

Parry's Penstemon Flower


The bud of the Parry's gets deposits of minerals, making it look like little ice crystals have collected:




Our ice plants had numerous bee species today:



Pineleaf Milkweed Buds


I really like the symmetry of the Parry's Agave. I was playing around with my macro ring flash in this photo. It had been awhile and I couldn't remember some of the tricks with it, but I got a composition I liked. I'll have to work on the execution and present an improved version in a later post.



Blanket Flower


Part of the mid/late winter routine is to cut back roses. We saved a few blooms to put in a vase. Here is a quick snapshot - they aren't in perfect shape due to a few cold mornings, but the size of these were incredible - the largest one measured 6.5 inches across.

16 January 2009

Reddish Egret

Around January 1, a local bird enthusiast turned up a Reddish Egret - a rare species this far inland in Arizona. This bird, a juvenile, looks much like a Great Blue Heron at a casual glance. However, on a closer look, it is noticeably smaller and has a dark bill. When it matures, it gets a reddish color on its head and neck.





Typically, Reddish Egret stays along coastal Gulf of California and the coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico. This bird was located in Chandler, AZ in an area known as Aquila Ocotillo, a business development with several ponds, a nearby canal, and some undeveloped plots of land. This area is still undeveloped enough to attract an interesting array of species, including Neotropic Cormorant, Double-Crested Cormorant, many duck species, Great Egrets, Green Heron, and Great Blue Heron. A Brown Pelican was a highlight last winter.

On some days this January there have been well over 150 Great Egrets in this area.