Saturday, February 28, 2009


There are lots of things to take pictures of in Sabino Canyon, but on Thursday's hike I decided to focus on water... It was refreshing to wade around barefoot for a while. I know, I know, with all that hair it kind of looks like a bear foot...

Water frozen by camera looks a lot like glass. This is looking down at water pouring over one of the road crossing culverts and splashing into the pool in the creek below.

Next time maybe I'll focus on all the cool patterns in the creek boulders...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Javalina Rodeo

This week was Rodeo Week in Tucson (a long time Tucson event, quite a few people take Thursday off to do or not do things rodeo related). Erica at the Java Edge (used to be Javalina's) coffee shop in Rita Ranch continues to do her unique dry erase board art such as last week's board above.

[Links: Fans of the Tucson based pyrotechnic theatre group Flam Chen will be happy to know that their website is up with lots of pictures, background info, movie clips, and generally fun stuff.

Note: bandwidth on their movie links seems a bit constrained, so to avoid the start/stop/start effect I'd recommend pressing play on a movie clip, then immediately pause it and let it continue to buffer/download completely, and then press play to play the whole thing without annoying pauses... In their movie section, the video clip from the All Souls Procession 2008 and the Helium Promo are good starting points. Whoever did their website did a great job, be sure to check out the entry page to their site, too.]

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

sweet times in the backyard

This is a male Gila Woodpecker visiting one of my backyard feeders this afternoon. I'm pretty sure more of my sugar water goes to woodpeckers than to hummingbirds (not sure how many nectar drinking bats I get, if any). Quite a good looking bird. Click on pics to see a larger image...

The male Gila is easily identified by the red patch on the top of his head.


A male Anna's hummingbird stopped by to demonstrate "proper" perching etiquette.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

arms race revisited

Several people commented on my previous post showing a picture of a new saguaro arm emerging from inside the saguaro (rather than a bud type growth). While wandering the saguaro forest this morning I looked around at new arms to see if my previous picture was an anomaly or not. From what I could see, it does appear that the new arms break out from under the parent column's cover. I took a close look at the saguaro above which had several young arms of different ages... Interesting.

Still signs of breaking out from inside the column.

Side view showing the tear out which seems to disappear as the arm grows larger.

And here's the tip of the start of an arm, currently a little larger than a golf ball.

spine-chilling in Tucson

Tucson received a nice light snowfall this morning. I took an optional holiday from work -- drove out to Saguaro National Park at 7 am to wander around and take a few snaps. The picture above is looking North across Tucson at the Santa Catalina mountains, the top of which received a fresh 18 inches of snow. Where I'm standing received maybe an inch or so, melting pretty fast.

The saguaros were all wearing snow caps.

Looking toward the Rincon Mountains which border the east side of the Tucson valley.

I saw a solitary deer walking along the loop road. We made eye contact and were both momentarily relieved to see other warm prey in the area, given the number of mountain lion warning signs.

This sleeping ocotillo was still clutching its teddy-bear to stay warm...
The low elevation snow was melting pretty fast

Winter barrel cactus sprouts anyone? Perhaps on a salad?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

on the trail with my eyes open

I took a break from hitting the books today and took a quick 6 mile hike through part of Saguaro National Park (SNP). SNP is about a 10 minute drive from my house. I was really happy that the Curved Billed Thrasher stayed put long enough for me to snap a picture.

Beautiful day out today -- its supposed to get windy tonight before our next storm hits. I took the Shantz Trail out past Pink Hill to Squeeze Corral Trail and back via the Cholla Trail. Quite a few people out on the trails today, including several on horseback.

Even in the dormant winter months, colors linger from summertime.

This is part of the internal framework of a dead prickly pear cactus pad.

A new arm starts to emerge out of the side of a saguaro

A really strange cactus in the foreground

This is what happens when you take phototropism too seriously...

Looking NW toward the Santa Catalina mountains north of Tucson. This range peaks at 9157 feet, has a pine forest on top, and even a ski area. About an hour's drive from Tucson will put one on top.

Trail head sign warning of mountain lion sightings as well as reports of rabid bobcats and foxes. It seems like we've had a lot a rabid bobcats in particular in the last few years.
Ok, well time for dinner and then back to the books / career strategy.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

after the rain

You never know whats going to turn up after a rain, unless of course you planted turnips.

A few more new_to_me things this past week:

#5: I had to have new brake pads installed on my car; I took advantage of the dealer's WiFi access in their lounge to use my laptop -- I got a lot done in the three hours I waited and it was a more efficient use of time than leaving and coming back later. I'd do this again.

#6: I actually completed my Federal & State taxes in January. That's a new_to_me item for sure. I've been trying to get things like that out of the way and behind me as I get ready to focus on the challenges and opportunities soon to come.

#7: update: I forgot about this one, I also joined Facebook to connect with a few friends and relatives, figure out what its all about, and maybe make a few new friends.

Ok, back to Sunday chores, hopefully a quick bike ride around the neighborhood, and then off to Craig & Jane's annual Superbowl party.