Welcome to my photo journal.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Birding in AZ

Well, 2013 is almost over and we had a pretty nice year looking for birds starting the year in Florida, then the states on our way home and then our travels to the NW and finally here in AJ, Arizona.  I know the year isn't quite over and we could find a few more birds to add to our year list but as of today we have 308 species for 2013.
Usery Mountain Park is one of our favorite places to visit, here we will find the desert birds
like a family of Harris Hawks, and these birds for a sample

Gamble's Quail

Black throated Sparrow

Cactus Wren
Another favorite site is Gilbert Riparian Wetlands where we will find wading birds, song birds and hummingbirds.
Say's Phoebe

Costa Hummingbird

Ruby crown Kinglet

Ring neck Duck

Wilson Snipe
Black Phoebe
Vermillion Flycatcher found at Granite Reef Rec. Area
Canyon Wren found at Boyce Thompson Arboredum
Horned Grebe found at Veterans Oasis Park
Inca Doves in our RV park
Peach face Lovebird found in Gilbert Riparian
Common Merganser with fish found at Granite Reef Rec Area
Red napped Woodpecker found at Boyce Thompson
Pyrrhuloxia found at Boyce Thompson
Spotted Towhee found at Boyce Thompson

Curved bill Thrasher


American Widgeon

These a just a few of the birds we see in the area,  AZ is a great place to bird you'll never know what you may find.
Soon we will start a new year and a new bird list, here's to another great year of birding.

Happy New Year
To a happy and healthy 2014

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lake Havasu City

We will be  settling in for the winter tomorrow in Apache Junction after enjoying a few days in Lake Havasu State Park.  It was so nice not to be crowded in and to have some very quiet nights.  We woke up to quail and rabbits outside our RV.  Our first night we had this spectacular sunset.

Lake Havasu City is of course known for having The London Bridge, brought over and rebuilt in 1970 by Robert McCulloch, an oil tycoon.

The city has also placed around the lake and river channels 21 1/3 size replicas of western lighthouses.
We wanted to spend some time here to visit the wildlife refuges that are near by.
We walked the peninsula trail at the Bill Williams NWR a couple of times hoping to see the Blue footed Booby, we didn't but we did see the White wing Scoter.  We were disappointed in the auto tour route as it turned out to be a high clearance vehicle route.
We drove up to visit the Havasu NWR we could see some of it from the hwy but it's roads were for 4 wheel drive vehicles and the sloughs were dry. The river would be great to canoe though, we didn't see many birds just the usual coots, grebes and a few Am. Pelicans. 
We did see the Brown Booby at the lower unit of the Havasu NWR just outside of Lake Havasu City.
Lake Havasu was hosting a bicycle and jogging endurance marathon this weekend, we had bikes going though the state park and over the bridge and joggers and bikers all over the island.
We stopped by to see some of the classic cars on Saturday.
Today we took a drive to see the Parker Dam, that's in the background in this photo, and we finally saw the burros on the road we kept being warned about.  We stopped to take photos and they walked right up to our window, people aren't supposed to feed them but it seems they are quite the beggars.
We are looking forward in seeing our family in the next few days and spending the holidays with them.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Our week is about up here at Sam's Town RV in Las Vegas, we have had a good time but we did miss not having the grandkids here to visit, they are now in AZ.  Our favorite place to visit here is Henderson Birding Preserve, we can walk around the ponds watch the ducks and look for other birds  we can add to our year list like the Gambles Quail, Roadrunner and Costa Hummingbird.

We drove out to the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, it is a large refuge north of Vegas.  They are building a big beautiful visitor center which seems a bit much for a refuge with just a few short trails and the all roads in the refuge are for high clearance vehicles only even the road into the refuge is a rough gravel road.  I think building better roads would be better than a fancy visitor center.

Another park that is very popular is the Red Rock Conservation Area just outside Summerlin, NV, we took the drive and stopped and walked the boardwalk where we did see a Hermit Thrush much to our surprise. 

Before we moved down to Las Vegas we visited the Valley of Fire State Park which is between Mesquite and Vegas.
We did visit the strip Tuesday, Sam's Town has a free shuttle bus to the Strip and to Freemont St. so we took it down.  We decided to see a couple of places we hadn't been before Circus Circus and the Mirage. It was a long walk to  Circus Circus and back to the Mirage!  We watched the free circus act and  bought a ticket to see Mirage's Secret Garden with the beautiful white tigers and Dolphin pools.  We didn't put a penny in a machine and we ate at Subway.  Big spenders we aren't!!

I have cousins that live here and we called and had lunch with them, it was nice to see them it has been a few years.
We also like to visit the cactus garden at Ethel M Candies,  they were decorating it for Christmas but we enjoyed it and saw a couple of birds.  We of course went in and watched them make the candy and had a couple of free samples also had some ice cream.  The candy factory was started by the Mars family, yes the very same who make M&M's, etc but the father wanted to create gourmet chocolates the
Ethel M Candies.  They were making chocolates hearts for Valentines.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get some laundry done before we head down to Lake Havasu City, AZ.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scenic Southern Utah

We are enjoying our nearly two weeks here exploring the area and learning a little about it's history.
We are staying in a nice RV park in Hurricane, UT, we haven't learned how it got it's name but it's close to Zion National Park and just a few miles east of St. George.
We started out visiting the state parks that are near Hurricane looking for birds, we did see a bat out in the day time as well as a lot of coots and a few ducks.
Sand Hollow State Park

We took a drive over to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which was a couple hours drive, we knew the lodge would not be open but the big 23 mile drive closes in Sept. but we did walk out to Bright Angel lookout, or rather Ken did I didn't quite make it.
We did see the Kaibab Squirrel at the North Rim, it's a cute little guy that resides only around the North Rim.
We  visited Bryce Canyon National Park, it was a two plus hour drive too.
We also drove up to the  Cedar Breaks National Monument where the visitor center and restrooms were closed for the winter.
After our visit to Cedar Breaks we stopped at the visitor center in Cedar City and learned about their Heritage and Livestock Festival taking place that weekend.  It sounded interesting so we took in some of the various activities, including the parade where they head sheep down the main street.
We also learned about this machine that was invented in Cedar City to make it easier to bale hay.
It seems hay needs some moisture to stay together in a bale and it is rather dry here and so as not to have to rely on the early morning dew they came up with this steam machine.
It was in the parade along with lots of old tractors, sheep wagons and horses.
We took in the tractor pull, the draft horse pull and sheep dog demonstration.
There are several places that have petroglyphs, but this is the most famous and easiest to find at the Parowan Gap.
Also we learned there are several places that have dinosaur tracks but the easiest to see and learn about them is at St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm.
In 2000 Dr. Johnson was excavating for a new housing development and they found dinosaur tracks and to preserve them they built the museum over them and they add new finds to the museum all the time.
Of course there is a lot of Mormon history, Brigham Young sent followers to the area to grow cotton and raise silk worms.  He also spent the winter here in his last years, this was his home.
The St. George's temple.
A few miles east on the way to the North Rim there is Pipe Springs National Monument which was a Mormon dairy ranch also during the polygamy days when the US government was arresting the husbands many wives found it a hiding place, if the government couldn't find the wives the husbands were safe.  I didn't get a good photo of the house but Ken found the Mather sign there (we try to find the Mather signs at all the National Parks we visit).
Pipe Springs is now on the Paiute Indian Reservation.
We also took in a photo exhibit of Dorothea Lange's at the St. George Art Museum, showing was a few of her photos she took for a 1954 article in  Life Magazine, Three Mormon Towns , the towns were Gunlock, St. George, and Toquerville.  We found it interesting with the politics of the time and how Life Magazine edited her story needless to say the folks of Toquerville were not happy with it
A look at Zion National Park as it looked today with rain clouds.
We are heading for Vegas next.