I was able to go out to the Southwest (and Northern Mexico) for 17 days during the latter half of July to do some birding and landscape photography. I began the trip spending six days with Gordon Karre seeing a lot of Southwestern Arizona and at Rancho el Aribabi in Northern Mexico. We spent two days in Madera Canyon, during which we also saw Miller Canyon, Ash Canyon and spent time on Mt. Lemmon with Chris Rohrer. During the trip from Madera Canyon to Miller Canyon we saw a Bobcat (my first ever) cross the road in front of the car. Then, while walking up Miller Canyon in pursuit of a Mexican Spotted Owl, I saw a Mountain Lion walking parallel to us just above us in the canyon and about 70 feet away! When it realized I had spotted it, it nonchalantly loped away. I was definitely very excited to see my first Mountain Lion but would be lying if I did not say I did look behind myself much more frequently during the remainder of the hike.
Gordon and I then sent over to the Chiricahua Mountains to look for some specialty birds, including the Mexican Chickadee which, in the United States, can only be found at high altitude in the Chiracahua Mountains in Arizona and the Animas Mountains in New Mexico. After a very difficult ascension to the very top of the Chiracahua’s, we were able to briefly spot two of these birds, which, becasue of the difficulty of accessing their territory, made them one of the absolute highlights of this trip for me.
Chris, myself, and Gordon at the top of Mt. Lemmon after seeing Olive Warblers
Days 1-6: The Phoenix Valley area and Southwestern Arizona
Juvenile Yellow-eyed Junco (note the dark iris)
Yarrow’s Spiny Lizard
Rancho el Aribabi, Mexico
Mesa Verde and Canyon de Chelley
I have always dreamed of seeing Anasazi ruins and thought it would be at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico if I ever did get the chance. I was fortunate enough to get the chance to see and visit several ruins at Mesa Verde and Canyon de Chelley (pronounced Canyon Day Shay). The only way to get into any of the ruins at mesa Verde is via ranger led tours so I did two of them. The following are some of the images of the these fascinating pueblo dwellers.
One of the things I really tried to prepare myself for (both knowledge and equipment-wise) was landscape photography. I really wanted to learn how to create panoramic photos and how to do quality sunrise and sunset photos. I was pretty much up and somewhere every morning for the sunrise and in place for sunsets as well, providing there were no monsoon storms going on. In some of the following images, I have captured some sunrises and sunsets. For being completely self-taught and new at this type of photography, I was pretty pleased with the results and feel iI did a good job of filtering some of the light while enhancing the land features. The picture of Horseshoe Bend at the top of this blog was also shot at dawn while using ND filters.
Other images of Mesa Verde and Canyon de Chelley.
Monument Valley, Utah
The Grand Canyon
I am adding some more pictures out of two sets I accidentally misplaced. They are both from my time in Southeastern Arizona; Miller and Ash Canyon and the Chiricahuas.