Snowbirds

Tourists seeking warmer weather aren’t the only ones wintering in Arizona.

An increasingly common sight from Avondale to Tucson are the American white pelicans, normally seen in coastal waters around Mexico and California. These large clumsy birds normally migrate to Great Salt Lake and the west coast of Mexico, but hurricane storms, mild temperatures, and man made lakes & ponds stocked with fish have made Arizona a desirable stopover.

The pelicans typically head to their breeding grounds in Canada and Upper Midwest in March, but more are expected to migrate to the Phoenix area in winter months.

Even the more ‘out of place’ brown pelicans have been found to escape coastal storms and enjoy Arizona’s mild climate.

We saw these brown and white pelicans hanging out enjoying ‘chilling’ in the waters of Alamo Lake. They seemed out of place in AZ, but apparently are becoming more commonplace, as they too find being a snowbird in AZ has its advantages.

Eagle’s Landing

After a successful shoot at Whitewater Draw, I wanted to check out the eagles in Pinetop / Lakeside.

Generally, their season is between November through March. But, as with all wildlife, they don’t follow a precise schedule and don’t necessarily indulge in our guidelines.

I have previously enjoyed watching eagles catch fish and hang out among the many trees around Rainbow Lake. On my recent outing I was fortunate to see a few bald eagles and a couple juvenile eagles. None seemed to be inclined to fish, and were merely hanging out.

It would appear that I was too late for this year’s season. Though, who’s to say, if I came back tomorrow I might find a myriad of eagles fishing to their heart’s content. Such is the nature of the beast.

No matter, I got a few nice pix, and a wonderful day out. It’s all good.

Birds a feather…

What do they say? Birds a feather flock together. That is no more true than at Whitewater Draw, where thousands (we heard numbers anywhere between 20,000 and 47,000) sandhill cranes flock to this lush marshland in southern Arizona.

But it’s not just sandhill cranes. The area is rich with all sorts of birds, including the blue, green, and cinnamon -winged teals, Northern pintails, red-winged blackbirds, Northern shovelers, grebes, egret, hawks and owls.

Cinnamon teal at Whitewater Draw
Green-winged teal
Northern shoveler rests in water at Whitewater Draw

We saw quite a variety of waterfowl during a trip to Whitewater Draw for a Photo Workshop sponsored by Arizona Game and Fish. (See my post here… https://kritterspix.com/2022/02/06/whitewater-draw-workshop/)

Pintail duck at Whitewater draw

We saw birds I never heard of, like the colorful Vermillion Flycatcher and Northern Harrier.

Vermillion Flycatcher
Juvenile vermillion flycatcher in the weeds along Whitewater Draw

Not to mention the very entertaining sandhill cranes.

Sandhill crane graze at Whitewater Draw
Sandhill cranes chatter

Whitewater Draw has had increasing numbers of sandhill cranes year over year. This area is the best sandhill crane-viewing site in Arizona, and one of the largest migration sites in the country. It’s a thrilling sight to see and experience.

I got a lot of trigger time with my camera, and practiced my Birds-in-Flight (BIF) photography. Check out my post of BIF photography here.. https://kritterspix.com/2022/02/06/birds-in-flight-bif-photography/

Vegas Fall

We tend to go to Vegas fairly often.  The first thing everyone assumes is we like to gamble. Actually, not so much.  For us, Vegas isn’t about gambling.  It’s about the art, photography , and food.  We eat stunning meals, helmed by amazing chefs, and then walk it off as we wander aimless through the miles of eye candy.  Eye candy that is art, color, and lots of photographic fodor.  The whole idea that someone built a very reasonable facsimile to Paris, INSIDE a building, is just plain remarkable.  The imagination and creativity is fantastic.

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The decorations are seasonal, and change constantly, so there is always something new to see.  I can only imagine the creative staff sitting around in their morning meetings having some conversation… ‘ so Fall is coming… what speaks Fall to you?.  How about birds migrating, sitting on power poles, flying about?  And we have to have a pumpkin?  How about a pumpkin head person?  Why not?  Let’s build it.’  INSIDE a building, mind you.  Really?!  Wow!

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There is art in art stores…

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There is art in purse stores and other unseeming places.. inside and out.

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It’s a pleasure to walk around and through… ever changing, and ever interesting… and delicious, in more ways than one.