Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bighorn, Pronghorn and Ironwood in Arizona

I have a 10 day vacation coming up at the end of this month and I have decided to use the time making visits to Ironwood Forest National Monument, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
Cabeza and Organ Pipe are about 125 miles from our home near Saguaro National Park West and Ironwood is a short 30 miles from here. I am hoping to get some pictures of Bighorn, Pronghorn, Ironwood Trees and lots more. Stay tuned to Sonoran Connection to see photos from these remote areas. Vacation starts on April 22nd.

Just a note to let you know that I got sick at the beginning of my vacation and almost none of my plan came to fruition. I have not given up on these visits and hope to try again this fall after I return from my trip to New England.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Walk through the Trees at the University of Arizona

I find walking among mature trees very comforting. There's something about a living being that is able to survive in single location rooted for years through all kinds of weather and subjected to all manner of adversity brought on by the presence of human beings.

As a photographer I can never resist trying to capture the significance, the beauty, the complex relationships of these majestic beings in our environment and in our lives. There is not a single day that goes by that I don't marvel at the reaching for the sunlight, the dependence on life sustaining nutrients being delivered to their precise location or the flowers and the leaves that come and go to assure another season of survival.

The Palo Verde here in Tucson is both a blessing and a curse for allot of us. The yellow flowers that arrive each April are so beautiful it's hard to imagine if you haven't seen them for yourself. Some of us unfortunately are victims of allergies but even so the desert would not be the same without these wonderful displays.

I have been meaning to come to the U of A campus for some time now to see for myself what it had to offer in the way of art and science. I am just beginning a 10 day vacation so I decided to take an early morning walk on campus which sits in the middle of downtown Tucson Arizona. Surprisingly there were very few people out and about when I arrived at 5:30 A.M. I actually expected more runners and bicyclists and walkers but for a while there were just a few of us.

One of the things on my bucket list is a visit to the Arizona State Museum and now that I have seen the outside I can't wait to get inside and see what it has to offer. Perhaps this week as I have no plans that are written in stone.

I didn't take time to identify the types of trees on the grounds but rather just enjoyed my stroll and sat on a few benches listening to the birds. There are some really beautiful buildings and some really utilitarian ones but all in all the campus is quite extraordinary. Signs were everywhere exclaiming the accomplishments of the university in the environment and in space and in all manner of interesting subjects. Sports is huge at U of A and there are lots of venues and monuments to the athleticism that thrives here.

The trunks of olive trees from distant lands are quite amazing and there are many examples around the campus to marvel at.

I was surprised and happy to see a monument to the accomplishments of women in Arizona.

Joyce Kilmer's poem "Trees" has stayed with me since childhood.
Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

This is the "Moon Tree". A sycamore whose seeds traveled to the moon on Apollo 14. Read about Moon Trees at The moon tree at the university was planted in 1976 on April 30th which happens to be my birthday.

There were a couple of left over displays from Earth Day and I really liked this one. If you do the math that's 367,920 plastic bottles on one university campus! I wonder how many actually get recycled!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Burrowing Owl in the Morning

We originally set out at 4:30 A.M. to see if we could locate wild horses near Casa Grande Arizona. Long story short we didn't see any horses but the sunrise was quite beautiful and held a few surprises for us.

After taking a left when we should have gone right we found ourselves deep in farm country which was quite nice at that time of day. At one point we spotted this little guy sitting beside the road. I have only seen Burrowing Owls a couple of times so I was very happy to have a chance to get a couple of pictures. I expected to get a couple of distant shots and was surprised that this bird was not giving up any ground. At one point it flew to a nearby post and showed it's annoyance with me by bobbing up and down and scolding me but did not offer to fly away.

Burrowing Owls, so named because they live in burrows in the ground, have disappeared in much of their historic range and you can learn more about the Burrowing Owl at: