Thursday, September 29, 2011

Devil's Claw

From a hike the other day:
 A pile of devil's claw seed pods near the river bottom.
 I thought the shadows were kind of cool.

And I also thought this tangle of barbed wire was kind of cool.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hole in the Rock

Most people familiar with Papago Park's Hole in the Rock think instantly of this view as you approach from behind the rock.
 I went up around noon on the 21st to see if there was any equinox shadows or somthing that might indicate early inhabitants used this area as a marker.
As one approaches from the rear, the other hole in the rock is visible.  The upper hole. As I walked up I noticed the moon was at a level where it could be seen through the upper hole.
 Here is a closer view

Granted this photo was right about noon - maybe 5 after and kind of shows the point of the hole on a pointed rock sticking up.
So it MAY be an indicator, but the true half-way point of the sun is not at noon on this day.  Much closer to 1 or 1:30, but I couldn't be there then. 
An interesting possibility is the line of the rock shadow closing in on the change in rock at the base.  Will have to see if I can get out there another time and see what happens.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Blue Ribbon Bass

Papago Park was once a State Park, and that was when they dug the ponds and used them as holding ponds for bass.  The hatchery was between a couple ponds but is now only a concrete base. The ponds are still holding bass even though they had originally shipped bass from Papago Park to waterways throughout the state.

Eventually, it became cheaper to purchase from commercial fisheries to stock Arizona waters (including Papago, but Papago doesn't get stocked with bass).
Bunch of fingerlings here - attempting to survive long enough to become 'blue-ribbon bass.'
 Here are some bigger ones.

Nothing huge in these pictures, but there are some decent ones out there. And if you do the catch & release, it doesn't really matter how big they are but rather how well they are biting.

Little Cry

Our little Scampi isn't very vocal. Yet. Here's what he sounds like for now.
video

Funnel-Web Spider

Went for a short walk Sunday and there was an old watering tub filled with reeds.
Among the reeds was a big spider web.
 I might not have thought much about it except I saw the spider run into the funnel as I approached.
Even with a few pieces of web in front making this appear somewhat blurry, I thought it was a cool shot. 
Apparently, there are very venomous funnel spiders in Australia, but the ones found here in Arizona are relatively harmless. They capture prey in the web but take them into the funnel to eat.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our Newest Addition to the Family

Jake picked out "Scamp" at the Humane Society today and tried to make his ride to his new home as comfortable as possible.
 He's a tiny one for 11 weeks old. I may just call him Scampi.
 Looks like he's ready for family life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Few Shots from Work

I've been getting behind in posting.  Pictures are starting to pile up, so I've chosen a few decent ones from the last weeks or so.

Large egret along the shore of one of Papago Park's ponds.

Algae trouble in another pond.

 Still waters
Kinda makes me want to find some really nice skipping stones.

 Design along Tempe's bridge across the canal to start their bike path.  Looks like a fingerprint.  The shadow is from a solar light.

This cloud at sunset almost looked like a mushroom cloud!

 Now that it is getting nicer out and not 110+ every afternoon, it is easier to get out on the trails again.

 A fallen giant.  Saguaros may reach around 200 years of age, but I doubt this one got that old.  Wonder if it blew over in one of our big dust/wind storms.

Dust Storm

This was a smaller dust storm than the big 'haboobs' we had earlier in the summer.  I saw it coming and there weren't any really big winds that usually roll in with the dust.

 The leading edge can be many miles long and as much as a mile or more high.

This one came over the mountains

but only got so thick.

Here's some of the air-born dust reflected in the flash.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Turkey Vulture

Caught this one flying in out of the corner of my eye and could only wish I had seen it circling in for a landing.  By the time I got my camera out it was standing way across a parking lot.
 I caught it taking off, but the camera took so long to process this picture the vulture was gone before I could take another shot.  Too bad I didn't get the full wingspan in - they can be a good seven feet!

Ironwood Grain

The Ironwood tree is a slow grower and the heart wood is quite dense.  This piece is is both root and stems. On its own, it has value as an interesting sort of drfitwood piece to the landscape. Note how it was placed beside the spigot. 
I think the wood grain really makes this piece.  Shame I can't take it home and use it for something here!  This is part of the landscape at Tovrea Castle.




Lock Mantid

This mantid appeared to be guarding the lock the other night.  I took some pictures and then picked up the lock with it still on.  It crawled up my arm but must not have liked the movements, so it jumped to the ground.
I thought the coloration was very interesting.  Brown being a better camouflage than green in a desert setting for one, but the markings on it aren't plain as some are.  Must be useful on a specfic type of bark or leaf litter.