You may have seen my Best of Landscapes 2019, here…. https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/ or my Best of Wildlife 2019 here… https://kritterspaw.com/2020/01/09/my-best-wildlife-photos-of-2019/ . Below are some of the ones that DIDN’T make the cut.
1. Pismo Beach, CA... wish I could get sunset shots like this in AZ!
2. Lil Buck… If only AZH had published THIS pic
3. Hawley Lake …. Through the Fog is Clarity
4. Javelina … not a common sight in this neck of the woods
5. Snow Elk…. Animal behavior can be so much fun to capture, sometimes these little guys do the darnedest things
6. Moqui Snow … I need to work on getting more landscape snow pix
7. Oak Creek Fall … Gotta love waterfalls & fall, such an amazing combination
8. Morman Lake Elk Pool … While this is a busy pic, lots of fun interactions to look at
9. Kaibab Daisies … I had never been to Kaibab Lake before, I need to get out more
10. Babies Rule … love me some baby wildlife!
I could go on, but I think the exercise of limiting oneself to only the best forces one to be critical of oneself, encouraging growth and improvement. Something we should all heed in our lives. Happy New Year!
It’s been a great year for wildlife for us. We have seen a wide and varied collection of birds, waterfowl and big beasts – including our first ever mountain lion.
Below are those I consider my best of the year….
1. Sandhill cranes, Whitewater Draw
2. Deer in falling snow
3. Bobcat, Lake Mary
4. Hawk stare
5. Pygmy Owl
6. Sea Otters
7. Blue Heron
8. Monarch Butterflies
9. Big Horn Sheep
10. Baby antelope run
AND the number 1 top photo of the year, despite the fact that is isn’t the most technically perfect shot (would have better if he was coming toward me) is, solely for the thrill of it:
11. Our first mountain lion
We saw fox and javelina, elk and deer, eagles and turkey, but these were the ones that excited me for one reason or another – and sometimes not just for their expression or technical merits. Sometimes a shot can just emote an emotion or a feeling that brings us back to it. Maybe it was the place or the experience, but anything that keeps us coming back is worthy of a nod.
Check out my best landscapes here… https://kritterspix.com/2020/01/09/my-best-landscape-photos-of-2019/
Having just gotten back from the CA coast, we saw lots of cool ‘critters’, including the sea otter.
I’m not sure I have ever seen a sea otter before. I could watch them for hours. They were just too adorable. I didn’t realize that they are actually an endangered species. There used to be some 150,000 – 200,000.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s they were hunted for their fur. They are now a protected species. Their population has dipped to 1% of what they once were, at a low of only 1,000 – 2,000. Now they are hovering at around 3,000 as they have plateau’d in their decline.
Their facial expressions and mannerisms were priceless.
We saw buzzards and blue herons, seals and sea lions.
Even caught a sunset or two….
Sometimes its good to get out of the woods and see the sea.
We don’t get too much of this in our neck of the woods.
You can see more of my pix from my trip here… https://kritterspix.com/category/photo-musings/
Life is short – see and do those things that are important to you.
I have always wanted to see the Monarch butterfly migration, ever since my friend Gary told us about it when he was down in Mexico years ago. I don’t want to go to Mexico to see it, so we did the next best thing and headed to the coast of California.
Of course, we headed to Paso Robles first to pick up some wine for the trip. Just 2-1/2 hours south of San Jose, and a half hour from Morro Bay, we spent a couple days tasting great wines and buying some to enjoy on our trip down the coast.
While we were amazed to see the eucalyptus trees dripping with butterflies, we were disgusted to realize that they are indeed a dying breed. What used to be millions of butterflies, has dwindled to only 4,000 to visit Pismo Beach alone, and it lessens each year.
The milkweed the butterflies like to eat and lay eggs in are dying off, as are the eucalyptus trees they shelter in. Trees have blown down, washed away, or burned up and the monarchs don’t come anymore. Areas from Morro Bay to Santa Barbara are now devoid of the annual migrations.
Such a pity, as the monarch is such an amazing story of triumph and resilience. The monarch butterfly only lives 2 months… a month of which it becomes a caterpillar, then morphs to a butterfly when it is focused on eating and laying eggs for a new generation.
It takes 5 generations for the butterflies to fly from southern CA to British Columbia… and then 1 generation to coast back, and start all over again.
I’m glad we were able to see the monarch migration. It enriched our life for witnessing natures beauty. Take time out to do those things that are important to you.
Yep! First snow of the season, measurable snow anyway. It was only 2 -3″, but it coated the trees and left it’s impression.
There is something about new snow as it clings to the trees with all it’s white beauty.
It’s a beautiful sight to behold One which has been an acquired taste for me, as I always hated snow – too cold!
But I have come to appreciate it for it’s beauty. Living in the mountains we aren’t faced with the same dirty snow as big cities have as it piles up along the roads, mixed with cinder and asphalt. Our’s is pristine and wild.
Our snow is here… and gone. It doesn’t last long. So we enjoy it for whatever time we have it.
And if we’re lucky, we brave the winter elements and get out and take pix… as we did for this brief snow storm.
We were the only one’s on the road, and we felt like we were in our own world as we drove through the abandon forest roads in this magical winter wonderland, with all it’s peacefulness and untarnished spirit. It was a thing of beauty.
We have had quite the drought this summer, with no rain. That finally changed with a quick storm that rolled in and gave us some rain, hail, and a little snow!
We took the opportunity to run out to the rim to see if we could get some storm pix.
We loved the sky opening up and raining on the valley below. It made for some spectacular views.
When it rains on your parade, look up not down. Without the rain, there is no rainbow.
Bad weather always looks worse through a window…. gotta get out there and feel the storm and it’s intensity to live life to the fullest.
It turned out to be a great day for storm watching.
As I watch the news of CA on fire, my heart goes out to those in harm’s way. Having been through our own fire, stamping it out in our neighbors yard, watching the flames from our back deck, and still in the midst of the aftermath and burn area around us – I feel their pain more than ever.
We wandered around Oak Creek and West Fork Trail enjoying the gorgeous environment of Sedona, and I couldn’t help but think of all the gorgeous countryside around the wineries of Sonoma that we have been to many times.
I hope and pray that the fire fighters are safe, homes are saved, and these terrible fires can be controlled, put out, and CA can move on to the repair, restore, and heal from this awful time.
Check out more of my Oak Creek / West Fork pix on kritterspix.com…. https://kritterspix.com/2019/10/31/oak-creek-fall/