Welcome to my photo journal.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in AJ

We are almost settled in for the winter at Saguaro RV Resort in Apache Junction. It's not a resort, it's a older park, small but clean most are year round residents, at this time there are only two of us snow birds. It has a little club house a clean little laundry, no cable or internet so I have to use Ken's dongle.
The plane crash you might have heard about on the news we could see the ball of fire from our RV and the scar it left on the mountain, a very sad accident.
We had a very nice dinner with my mother and her friends at a local restaurant, it'll be nice to spend some time this winter with her. She is doing well.
We have bought a Maricopa parks pass so we'll be doing some birding in the parks and at Gilbert Water Ranch and other spots as we learn about them. It is the one best places to find birds and photograph them. So far we have 55 species on our AZ list, one an Eastern Phoebe it is not a bird usually found here it must have gotten lost as it is a bird we have back home.
I won't be posting as often now but I would like to hear from you if you enjoy my blog.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Visit to Organ Pipe Nat'l Mon.

Our little RV park, Ajo Heights RV is a pleasant little place, quiet.
After setting up we took Ajo's 10 mile scenic drive and took a few photos of Ajo.
It's a quaint little town of 2000, it receives a few snow birds each winter. The copper mine closed in 1982 so not much for the residents to do, and there is a lot of property for sale.

We had a little rain during the night and thought our day might be a wash out but it turned out really nice, did had a sprinkle or two.
Organ Pipe Nat'l Mon. is a pretty place, interesting mountains along with the cactus. It is at the most northern edge of the organ pipe's range, it doesn't tolerate freezing temperatures.
The photo in the bottom right corner is a memorial to a park ranger killed in 2002 by Mexico's drug cartel.
Our stay here is a short one, tomorrow we will arrive at our winter space in Mesa.
Have a
very Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Balloon Festival

We stayed a couple of extra of days here in Yuma to see the Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival. Friday we caught up with a few flying over Yuma.
Then we went birding.
In the evening we did the Art Walk downtown, there was a lot of art and a very good turn out for it. The music was good too, there were about 5 bands playing.
Today we got up early to see the launch but I guess the wind was a little squirrelyand kept all but 5 on the ground.
We did a little more birding and visited the Quartermaster museum where I spotted several flycatchers and a roadrunner. You never know where you'll find the birds.
Tomorrow we head out, we are going to stop at Ajo where we will visit the Organ Pipe National Monument.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our first AZ sunset

We had a busy day Wed. as you can see by my collage. The steam engine I just happened to see the sign telling it was on display, it is doing a Centennial run for New Mexico and Arizona. It left this morning so we were out to get more photos.
Today we also went back to the Yuma Proving Ground to go through their museum, very interesting it's been in use for 33 years starting with training soldiers for WWII and testing tanks etc.
We had a gorgeous sunset this evening, thought I'd share it with you.
Hope you had one too.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Arizona

After a Saturday enjoying the Brawley, CA Cattle Call Parade and a Sunday drive
to the Imperial Dunes we left California Monday and stopped just across the border in Arizona in Yuma.
Today we visited Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, we didn't see much wildlife a few birds a couple of new ones to add to our trip list an Anna's hummingbird and a Bufflehead duck.
Then we visited the Yuma Territorial Prison museum, the prison was in use for 33 years it had electricity, plumbing, library and even a prison band but it was still known as the Hell Hole because of the heat.
Yuma should be known as the RV capital of the SW there is RV park after RV park if not a park a RV dealer or repair shop. There are 3 Walmarts and a beautiful shopping center and lots of restaurants. I believe there are 3 casinos all on Indian reservations and 16 golf courses and 3 National Wildlife Refuges in drive able distance. Yuma has beautiful riverside parks and wetlands, two rivers flow by the Colorado dividing AZ from CA and the Gila river so there is water for irrigation for crops citrus, and lettuce.
That's what we have learned about Yuma so far.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Some days are lucky others not

The Salton Sea area reminds us of the Rio Grande Valley in TX being a farm area with heavy Mexican influence yet very different because of the geo thermal activity. We found the active bubbling mud pots Weds.
The Salton Sea is shrinking and it leaves behind interesting salt covered trash to photograph.
Thursday we drove around looking for birds at the areas suggested in the Bird magazine with little luck. Today, we decided just to drive down and check out the town El Central and as we drove down we saw hundreds of cattle egrets and white faced ibis in a flooded field. We then stumbled across Sunbeam Lake County Park and RV park with lots of good birds.
We found three burrowing owls along the side of the road to Fig Lagoon. After a rest at the RV we decided to go back to Raner Lake Refuge around sunset and thousands of double crested cormorants were flying in to roost joining the hundreds of snowy egrets already there on the small islands on the lake.
I keep a daily list of the birds we see each day and they have been good here, over all we have seen around 60 species of birds here no new ones to add to our life list though.
We are staying two more days here maybe we will get a lifer yet.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Salton Sea

We are now exploring the area around Salton Sea which is supposed to be a big birding area.
We have visited the Sonny Bono NWR and there are alot of birds there but we need to go back in the am to get better looks and photos. We did see a bobcat there, that always a good sighting.
We are staying at the Del Yermo RV Park in Caliptria, CA it's a small park but has cable and a good internet service so it's has all we need.
We have a birding magazine with an article that covers this area so we have been trying to find the areas it suggests, not so easy. Today we found Wiest Lake, Ramer Lake which was a good spot lots of night herons and Obsidian Butte another place we need to visit in the am to see the birds better.
This is an agricultural area growing sugar beets, peppers, and lots of hay for the many feed lots in the area. Mmmm good smells!! It also has Geo Thermal plants all over. So it is a strange partnership farmers, energy and wildlife refuges. In a field next to the refuge a farmer had every bird frighting device known streamers, people cutouts, fake owl and noise makers. I guess they worked there were no snow geese or sandhill cranes in his field and they were in the refuge's field across the road.
We are not enjoying the time change, we would like more light at the end of the day!!!
Oh, yes there are mosquitoes here but just in the evenings so maybe the short evenings aren't that bad.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last couple of days in Joshua Tree

The weather was good for Sat., the mountains had a covering of snow and the sky a beautiful blue. We walked another trail in the park, the rock formations are so interesting and fun to photograph. We took in 29 Palms Weed Show and contest, so many talented folks to come up with some really fun and beautiful weed displays.
Back at the RV we spotted a flock turkey vultures looking for a roosting spot from their migration to Mexico Ken estimated there were around 150 vultures.

Today started out with blue skies but ended with a chilly light rain.
We drove up to Pioneertown built in 1946 as movie set for movies such as Cisco Kid etc.
Now, it's a weekend spot for BBQ and music.

We then signed up for the tour to the Keys Ranch in JTNP it has a very interesting history, Disney even used it for a couple of movies. The Key family homesteaded it 1918 and lived there until Mr. Keys death in 1969. The family did many things to make it out in the desert, mining, cabin rentals and selling the canned goods Mrs. Key made from their garden and orchard. The National Park took it over in 1963 allowing Mr. Keys to stay on as caretaker until his death.
Tomorrow we head to the Salton Sea.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The latest from 29 Palms

We were surprised Wed. by a cold front but we went out and took in the part of the park we hadn't seen, even did a little hike out to Barker Dam. The dam was built by a rancher who lived in what is now the NP so his cows would have reliable source of water.

Thursday we drove to Palm Springs to visit my uncle and we visited the Palm Springs Air Museum.
Today rain is in the forecast and the clouds have become dark and it's breezy and cool but so far only sprinkles. We did go to the visitor center's bird oasis. Ken really enjoys the spot as every time we go we find a new bird or two this time we had a verdin and a new bird for us a White throated Swifts I couldn't get a photo of them.
Hopefully the last two days we are here the weather gets better.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Joshua Tree NP

We are now staying at 29 Palms RV Park and Resort which is just up the road from Joshua Tree National Park.
Here's a few of my photos taken the last couple of days. The visitor center at the National Park has a nice oasis and trail that is a haven for birds and these are a few we have found there.
We are here for a week to explore the area.