Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hanging Out In The Shade

Curve billed Thrasher
Before monsoon began, I seriously had to force myself out in the wild and attempt the impossible.  Birding during the midafternoon heat.  When I say that it was dead and not a single lizard, bird or insect was out, I mean it!  I had thought about going home in the 106 degree weather since the butterflies weren't out and about like I had thought they would be.  So I went into the shade for relief....and listened.
Female Anna's Hummingbird
No one was around and I was the only guy in the gardens which was actually quite nice.  What I discovered was that the world was indeed very active but only in the shade.  It wasn't obvious at first but after sitting and listening to my surroundings, I was able to locate a lot of critters.
 These colorful bugs are the immature, wingless nymphs of the Giant Mesquite Bug or Leaf-footed Bug (Thasus neocalifornicus).
While looking at some art, I discovered some "natural" work(above pic).  I thought it was fake at first until I took a closer look.  We have some cool bugs in this desert...especially during the monsoon season.
And birds aren't dummies.  This Cardinal was hiding in the reeds.  Unfortuneatly his red gave away his location.  His girlfriend was also there but didn't stick out like this guy.
Even this Anna's Hummingbird played it safe as she flew and hovered around flowers in the shade.
Queen Butterfly
I did find this Queen butterfly on the Texas Mist.  I was hoping for more shots, but this is okay.
And water from the fountain was quite popular with the birds.
Stay cool!
 More tomorrow....


  1. Hola!!!.. Bonitas imágenes, sobre todo me parece una belleza el Cardenal rojo.. Qué color!!!.. Saludos..

  2. wow!! what gorgeous pictures!! when i saw the first cardinal shot...with his head feathers all spiked up...i thought "what a shot!" and then i saw the NEXT cardinal shot...perfectly perched with the slatted shadows...awesome!
    and then there's that bug again! the mesquite markings...and colors...i still think he looks a bit velvety.
    the butterflies, hummers in flight, thrasher!! GREAT! stay cool and keep snapping these awesome pictures of life around you!

    happy sunday!

  3. These are beautiful shots! Patience and quiet pay off!

  4. I love this post. Beautiful shots. I love being out in nature somewhere all by myself. It's a gift. The hearing becomes more acute. Love it.

  5. You are very brave to be out in the middle of the day in the heat. I took a walk yesterday up to the road to get our mail and it was 95 and it felt much worse than Phoenix on a 106 day. Of course the humidity was at least 90 percent also! Love your pictures you took however. I never saw a cardinal in all my years in Arizona!

  6. All of the photos are wonderful. I especially like the one of the cardinal!

  7. i love the queen butterflies. so pretty.

  8. Beautiful, Chris... Amazing what we can see and hear --when it's quiet and there's nobody else around... Even in that heat, you had to have been loving being there... Great set of pictures.

  9. Smart idea for all of you to stay in the shade when it's 106. Yuck.

  10. Sometimes it pays to be a shady guy, and sometimes it's downright necessary!

    Way to keep at it!

  11. Lovely photos - the butterfly is truly beautiful and I like the cardinal! Its amazing what you can see when you just sit and watch - the high temperature sounds horrendous, sitting still in the shade the best idea :)

  12. You really DID find quite a lot in the shade. Even here in Canada, nature slows down in the middle of the day. I'm not sure I would find as much as you did. But hey! I should try it. Not today, though, as I can hear thunder coming this way.

  13. The Curve billed Thrasher is a smasher and the queen butterfly, well, what a great blog.

  14. You got some great pictures while you were out. Sounds pretty hot to me though - I think I might have stayed in the shade :)

  15. Lovely photos. That cardinal looks like the humidity got to his hairdo!

  16. 106 degrees Wow. Good to see you found do much to photograph in the shade, especially like the trasher - great name.

  17. Every thing here is so beautiful...
    Thanks. BShell

  18. Great photos and interesting that you were able to find that many birds - and other creatures - moving around in the shade. Even though I am only in the sub-tropics I don't even try in the mid-day heat! Early mornings and late afternoons are far more productive times for me!

  19. Well today is a day off and though I'm bushed, I'm pushing myself for a reply here. I was up and getting ready for work when your post instantly appeared in the middle of the night.

    In 2008 when we came out from Sweden with my wife and two kids we went to Tucson for various stops. "The Blue Willow" was number one for getting the day off to a good start.

    We went to the Arizona Sonoran Living Desert Museum. It was 102 degress which actually works for me. But what impressed me and the native Swedes was the great variety and abundance of life out there. I'm not just talking about behind cages, but all around in the open. Birds in every shape, variety and colour. All sorts of animals and reptiles. The funny thing was that these don't appear to be bothered by the heat, nor do they seem to notice the 40+ (100s) Celsius temps.

    We compared that to the insaness of the wet and green here in Sweden and they admitted compared to Sweden there was more abundant life to be seen. As I've written about before in my Industrial Forestry piece, there is little life as a result of the mismanagement of things here. Where you do get more abundant bird life is in and around cities where people live, but they are of the pesty type of critters which exploit the filthiness and clutter of human activity. Birds like various forms of Ravens, Magpies, Sparrows and domestic pigeons. I can't blame them, they just do what they do. It's people who are at fault.

    This winter these critters will suffer badly. There is no fruit on the trees or shrubs anywhere in gardens or the wild. I post this later. Wish I could trade backyards.


    1. Hello there! You touch upon several of the talks I had while I was back in WI. This warming trend has had an affect on lots of wildlife. Milder winters have created an bubble for warmer birds to migrate, but the sad part is that when the winters are harsh, these birds suffer from frostbite and have to be rescued or they freeze to their deaths.

      I know the Blue Willow!!! It's one of my favorite morning places here. It's a great escape to motivate me and work in the garden. The potatoes remind me of the kind my Grandmother used to make and it makes me smile.

      The Desert Museum. Such a terrible title for such a wonderful place. It's really not a museum at all. Well some of it is somewhat, but the incredible array of wildlife around this area is incredible. I agree with you 100 percent. Everytime I go, there is so much more outside to see than what is on display:) Although right now, I'd probably head out super early:)

      I hope that in the world of kharma and things that make us smile, you are able to return to the deserts of the Southwest....or near them...a canyon or mountain. I know you miss it dearly and I wish I could send you a hologram from Star Trek that would allow you to escape into the desert climates of CA, NM, and AZ for a few brief moments. I took moving for granted when I was younger and am glad I did it when I did. The older you get; the more committments are made and while I wouldn't say we're stuck in our life situations....they sure make for difficult transitioning to new homes. My wish was to live in Mexico towards the south near Veracruz or Chiapas but money decided much for me....and retirement. In 5 years, the tables begin to turn for me. In another 12, a new chapter will begin. Right now, I plan vacations to keep me dreaming:) I LOVE Tucson and am very happy to be here. It was a great compromise between the US and Mexico. I think one of my core beliefs with this blog is to show that the desert is alive and exciting. It's all here for me to work on my photography and educate myself. I think Sweden for you is how I feel about my home state of Wisconsin. I do love the place, but it's not Tucson:)

      I'll share something with you that I don't think I've ever mentioned on this blog. I was living in Northern California at the time and had to come back to Tucson for something. I was driving down the beautiful CA coast and then I got into Yuma. I started to get excited and then I entered Tucson and I felt sadness....I really really missed the town more than I ever realized. It wasn't an "oh I miss Tucson" was, "Oh I made a mistake leaving here." And eventually it would hit me in Cape Verde during some work with schools and I had to get back no matter what. Today, 11 years later, I'm here for good:) Anyhow, hopefully you got a little sleep or maybe a "siesta" in in order:) Take care! Chris

  20. Good heavens Chris, you found a veritable treasure trove full of birds and other winged creatures. Well done indeed it certainly pays to be still, quiet and patient. Marvelous images.

  21. You found lots to take pictures of! How amazing. I do notice all the birds have their mouths open trying to stay cool.


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