There is no doubt in my mind that we live in the desert. Many of you see green in a lot of my pics with our Sonoran desert and you may think that unusual for deserts. Well it is. The Sonoran desert is considered the greenest desert of the world. If you've been here, you know it is very brown and dry at times. But what makes the Sonoran desert unusual is that we get regular rain(monsoon), sometimes on a daily basis, during our summer months. Today check out what happens when storms happen on Part 2 of this monsoon series.
This monsoonal weather pattern can cause chaos around here:) We still have those hot hot temps which spark the moisture in the atmosphere and BOOM!!! Some of the best lightning shows begin.
Shorebirds from Mexico and California are thrown off course and end up around our watering holes in Tucson. During the time of this shoot, it was reported that several Brown Pelicans were spotted at several of our parks. So I jumped in my car to get these fun shots.
About three large blocks away, I found the Brown Pelican immediately. Even better were the sightings of the Cormorants(both Double Crested and Neotropic!). Oh it was hot, moist and very tropical this day, but I didn't have to walk very far to find this guy:)
So you may ask, "What happens when these ocean birds end up in the desert?" Sometimes, several have to be rescued right away as they are in poor condition, but during this last storm, 6 were healthy happy and feeding on the fish from our "lakes". These guys are rounded up and then taken over to San Diego where they are released back into the wild.
Brown Pelicans are interesting birds but I liked these shots the most because they show something different. Pelicans do a lot of funny things with their beaks. Observing this particular behavior, I would imagine that this guy was cooling himself off:)
I also found out that a group of Pelicans are called a Pod. Fun! The bonus of finding a Pelican also means that there will probably be some colorful characters around the area as well....like the 3 stooges above. The Cormorants kept the area interesting. Sometimes the Pelican would smack them on the head and they didn't seem to mind:) More tomorrow...
|Living in their rightful airspace of Mexico.|
It is cool when the storms blow in a rare sighting. The Pelicans are neat looking birds and one of my favorites. Great shots of the pelicans and the cormorants. Have a great weekend.ReplyDelete
I would have never thought it would be so green! Great photos of the beautiful pelican feeding! His pouch is almost transparent!ReplyDelete
Just love those pelican photos - really amazing :) One of the things I love about birdwatching is that you never know what will turn up locally even sometimes in your own back garden :)ReplyDelete
Ever read some of the works by Marshall TrimbleReplyDelete
Marshall Trimble - Arizona's Official State Historian . He paints a different picture through descriptions of the state through historical writings and observations by the early pioneers. He has some great descriptions on the numerous wetlands that once existed west and north of your Tucson. Vast grasslands between Toucson and Maricopa which have now been replaced by the alot of moonscape.
I've enjoyed years ago his book on Arizona Roadside history. I remember his writings along with others who mentioned early trappers catching Sonoran Beaver from the San Simon river near Bowie. If you travel east and stop off at Bowie off the Interstate 10 freeway, there is nothing but a wash. Arizona has lost 90% of it's original Riparian Habitat. Much of it was change in climate even way back then when European Investors created obscene Cattle Barron Empires and forced 10s of 1000s of cattle on a landscape unable to sustain it. Grasslands disappeared and any monsoonal storms that blits rain down on the dry hard surface of overgrazed landscape washed the top soil away. The absence of tall grasses which would have greatly slowed down the flow and allowed clean water to trickle evenly into creeks, streams and rivers became muddy disasters.
So I was thinking when you used the term "blown off ourse", maybe they are going by some genomically imprinted instinct which is hard to shake of their old ancestral stomping grounds where in those cienegas swarm millions of native Arizona native fishes which for the most part have disappeared as well.
Let's just say you are welcoming them back home *smile*
Wow!!! I didn't know any of that stuff. I knew we were much greener and that the rivers flowed freely here....until the settlers came. Beyond the threat of suburbia growing, Tucson has taken some steps to reclaim the land again and make it to what it was only 30 to 40 years ago. Some of it is working and it looks great. But places like Buenos Aires Park are bringing those grasslands back. It's kind of exciting to watch happen. I have a post with really old Tucson shots a hundred years ago on the blog but I have to take off for work.....it's pretty neat to see. Thanks for the info.Delete
I'll give you an example of an area that no longer reflects it's namesake.Delete
City or community of SACATON Arizona, as in Giant Sacaton Bunch Grass. Evergreen and beautiful. Once plentiful in this area and harvested for Livery Stables and Stage stop.
Pic = Giant Sacaton Bunch Grass
And what does Sacaton Arizona just off the I-10 freeway look like today ?
Hardly the once green lush wetland prairie it once was back in time
Sacaton Bunch grass can send roots deep to over 6 foot, so the reason for it being evergreen even in a Sonoran desert environment. I believe Marshall Trimble's book , "Roadside History of Arizona" made some reference to this areas reputation for the giant prairie which is dirt rock dry today.
Mostly it was the ranchers in the beginning who changed the area's Ecology in the beginning, then came farmers and city dwellers which required Dam Building ventures.
I lived in the desert 35 years and never saw a pelican (except at the zoo). But I suppose Tucson's 100-mile closer proximity to the ocean is what makes the difference. This was a fun post, Chris.ReplyDelete
Hi Chris, I have enjoyed both of your storm posts. I don't like thunder storms at all although I'm sure I am in the minority. I would like them if they were not so potentially dangerous. However I enjoyed your photos and video from a safe distance ;-) It certainly seems that it can be quite spectacular there!ReplyDelete
Wonderful photos of the Pelicans, I have never seen them in that sort of pose before...amazing captures!
OH i LOVE pelicans...and your pictures are WOW!!!! especially the ones with his head up and pouch skin stretched...light coming through!ReplyDelete
it's really weird though...i NEVER knew that these water birds would get blown off course and end up in the DESERT!! i guess it's a nice change of pace for them...probably some new variety of fishes...as long as they don't hang out so long that they have to be rescued & relocated! poor things. they must get so confused!
anyway...again, your monsoon lightning shots in your last post were AMAZING!!! and your pictures here are GREAT, as always! have a nice weekend chris! =)
Wow! Outstanding shot of those pelicans! Pretty exciting having such awesome visitors.ReplyDelete
Those shots are a lot of fun Chris. Pelicans sure are goofy birds but in the very best of ways.ReplyDelete
Wow, that is pretty cool! We see a few in winter at the Gilbert Riparian park - very few. Hope they get home safely!ReplyDelete
really cool shots of the pelicans! and love the cormorants, too. :)ReplyDelete
What a happy thing to have happen!! The same happened to Tracy and I once when we were at one of the lakes up at Estrella Mountain Ranch. There was a pelican there! So odd to see. These guys do do some weird things with their beaks. Happy Friday!ReplyDelete
Que ave tan divertida el pelícano!!!.. Y original!!!.. Muy buenas imágenes.. Un cordial saludo..ReplyDelete
A great set of photos. The pelicans are awesome!ReplyDelete
So interesting about the desert that isn't and how birds find their way there but are lost - just amazing creatures. Love those shots of the huge open bills and the last flight shot is just superb.ReplyDelete
You have no idea how long I was stuck staring at your first shot, trying to figure out what I was looking at! (I've never seen a pelican do that before.)ReplyDelete
I never would have imagined Brown Pelicans in downtown Tucson! We enjoy watching the pelicans when we go to the beach. They are amazing divers.ReplyDelete
I've seen a lot of Pelicans in the Carribbean and in Florida but NEVER a picure like this. How special!! At first I didn't know what it was...that is soooo cool.ReplyDelete
Great Pelican photos~I like how the light is shining through its pouch. We have loads of them here in Fl., but I never knew a group was called a pod:) That must have been an amusing sight to see the Pelican smacking the Cormorant!ReplyDelete
A funny bird the pelicanReplyDelete
his beak can hold more than his belly can!
Storms are unwelcome but sometimes they bring unexpected pleasure and clean air after that. Pelican shots are amazing.ReplyDelete
I love the light shining through their beaks?ReplyDelete
Not sure if that's what they would be called, but could you imagine being thrown off course and ending up at your place? Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore.
Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams
Pretty cool shots! And I like Timeless' comment. It reminds me of the life in Phoenix when the original canals had been dug by Hohokam people... another flora and flaura.ReplyDelete
How fascinating! Great to hear they're rounded up though and returned to where they should be. Love your shots! Amazing to see the veins in that Pelicans beak!ReplyDelete
Wowee Chris these shots of the brown pelican are fabulous. I clicked on all the shots to bring them in closer, I must say I'm dead envious of the 'bill action' here. It looks really sweet with the cormorants sitting companionably alongside.ReplyDelete
What great timing, what fabulous captures!ReplyDelete