Saturday, April 15, 2017

Oculus Reparo

Greater Roadrunner
A little over a year ago, I updated my camera gear to a 500 mm lens.  She was a monster, but oh how magnificent were those photos!  

Turkeys put on a display at the Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon.  Photo taken with my cell phone
Now she's in the shop due to the zoom feature (which locked up on me last week). Here are the last of my 500 mm shots.  

My first White-faced Ibis of the year flies over my head at the Coachline Lake in Marana
I kept my emergency 300 mm lens from my last camera but oh.....I so notice the lack of detail in the photos now.  So while I wait for the 2 weeks to pass, migration is happening all around me. 

Rare for the US but common in our southern Sky Islands, the Buff-breasted Flycatchers are quite active on top of Carr Canyon
I have been swamped with work and with visitor's from out of state coming to bird.  It's so easy to escape and join others to find birds when there is a lot at home to get done:) Elf Owl vs Fixing The Ceiling Fan? Or Tufted Flycatcher vs watering the garden?

I might be reaching a new chapter in my life with our local birds in the sense that I don't need to drive two hours to see an American Golden Plover.  Instead, I'm okay birding a local patch nearby my house. 

My first of the year Grace's Warbler on top of Carr Canyon
And while I am without my lens, I'm actually enjoying the fact that I don't have it.  My binos have been all that I've been carrying lately. 

A beautiful Swainson's Hawk takes flight
So, I don't have any pictures of the Golden-crowned Sparrow I saw at a local resident's home this past week(thank you Cathy!). And it was also on that night that my camera lens decided to freeze up on me😠😠 I don't have a pic of the Broad-winged Hawk I saw getting harassed by a Great-tailed Grackle.  These are all rarities that I think require photo documentation, but it's not going to happen for the next several weeks.

Jenny (first person in the pic) tolerates Bill's crazy bird addiction.  When the Elf Owl shows, everyone is thrilled.  Madera Canyon this time of year is AWESOME! 
I went out one evening with Bill and Jenny from Wisconsin to Madera Canyon and helped them locate Elf and Whiskered Screech Owls.  We also got a visual of the Mexican Whip-poor-will.  All three were lifers. 

A bathing female Yellow Warbler at Sweetwater
On the day I saw this bathing Yellow Warbler, I met up with Nathan and Stella from Maryland at Sweetwater.  I'm not sure if Nathan's Dad will talk to me after he drove up a rocky road on Carr Canyon for the Tufted Flycatcher. He was visibly shaken and stayed inside of his car. I forget flatlanders are not used to our intense Arizona rugged landscape.  To him, I offer my sincerest apologies. I had new tires put on my passenger vehicle and showed them that I also made it up the road without incident.  They had a rental and it was really ok.....but still.  Finding some excellent birds can be challenging.  Their reward?  Beautiful views of the rare-to-the US Buff-breasted Flycatchers. 

Green Heron at Sweetwater
While I wait for my lens to return, I'll still continue birding.  

a large kettle of Turkey Vultures lands in the Arizona Cottonwoods for the night
One last note.  If you've been following Las Aventuras for a few years now, you'll recognize these characters:)  This year, our Great Horned Owl team, Mike, Janet, Peter and myself, purchased a new basket for our nesting owls.  

Great Horned Owl at my work site
 We weren't sure if they'd take to the new basket as they began nesting in the Saguaro nearby. 

 BUT, there were a lot of kids walking past that area and the owls decided to move to the new basket.  This year, there are only two owlets  because the first two eggs were placed inside the arm of the Saguaro.  When they moved to the basket, those eggs were abandoned. 

Anyhow, their progress is on track.  My biggest complaint?  That stupid string.  We were so worried that the basket would fall during our windy season in March that we overdid it:)  My guess is that this weekend or the next will be their first venture outside the basket. Both Mom and Dad are trying to push them out to get them on the ground.  Owlets learn to walk first.  Then fly(sometimes into buildings:) and then hang out with their parents before flying off into our nearby wash.  Until next time friends.....


  1. Thanks for this post and sometimes it is good to put doen the camera and just bird watch!! HAppy Easter

  2. I'm sorry to hear of your optical failure, Chris - I know from several past experiences how frustrating this can be!

    Delighted that your work with the Great Horned Owls is reaping its rewards - better a few strings than a string of tears when the cradle falls.

    Best wishes to you both - - - Richard

    1. Hi Richard!! Just got the lens back and am super happy. And you're right about the string. The owlets are doing well and are moving all around our campus now. Soon they'll be gone into the big wide world. Another successful clutch this year and we are delighted!

  3. usual some great photos, even without the 500 mm....I am always reminded of how inadequate my camera that doesn't have exchangeable lenses is (my guess it has no more than 100 mm) Anyway, I try! :-) But, it was such a delight seeing some of our Tucson birds again. We will be back in that area soon just for a few days. Preparing myself for the temperature's steady 45-65 degrees here every day.

  4. Good to hear an update on the Great Horned Owls :) Hope you get your 500mm lens back soon. I make do with a 70-300mm zoom lens but really unless the bird is very close or very big it is not very effective!

  5. Hi There, So sorry about your big lens... I still use the 300 one --and I'm sure I couldn't carry the larger one on long hikes..... Hope you get it back soon... Your pictures are marvelous also and I love the new basket.... Glad they took it for their nestbox...


  6. Hello Chris, it is great you are able to take out visitors to your wonderful birding spots. Wish I was there too. Sounds like you had some great owl sightings, I would be able to rack up some life birds there. I hope you get your lens back soon. Happy Birding.

  7. great gear does make a difference, but also some problems comes with it.

    Great shots and range of birds. Hope you get your lens back fast. :)


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