Friday, June 27, 2008

Monsoons, Toads, and Tweets

First Monsoon in June .

Well the Monsoons finally arrived. I shot this video yesterday from my back patio. The storm pulled in and released all of its fury. The Distillery fire was closing in fast and had already consumed thousands of acres. I was able to see the flames threatening Rincon Peak as they charred their way up over the ridge just a few miles from here. I have to admit it was starting to get a little scary. Then yesterday morning I awoke to discover that the fire was still heading this way. Thanks to all of the hotshots that have set up camp here in Vail, and the storm that dumped a deluge of rain, the fire is no longer a threat to Vail.

This morning I headed out side to do some weeding. It's a piece of cake weeding after a good soaker, otherwise the dirt is like cement and the weeds are nearly impossible to pull out. After about an hour and a half all the wild birds started barking at me. I guess they were getting thirsty and were not real happy with me being out there. I sat down for a break and noticed this beautiful yellow bird sitting in my Palm. I have noticed a handful of new species coming around, and I cant help to wonder if they are refugees from the fires.

I spotted this Horny Toad, and was ever so pleased that he stuck around long enough for me to get a good shot. Aint he sweet!? I also came face to face this morning with a Colorado Bullfrog. He managed to hop off before I returned with my camera. I got a shot of him last year though...he's over here

Here is a peek at the gorgeous skyscape from dusk last night.
Thanks for visiting my blog!

Hot Quail Chicks

Illustration Friday's topic is "fierce". I doubt if there are too many varmints out there that a Quail chick would find a much fiercer than a big Raptor. Thanks for stopping in and visiting my new blog. I started this space to take some of the load off of "once upon a dolphin". I posted a new video (below) it turned pretty good. I got some decent footage of a hummingbird, roadrunner, and a few new species. If you get a chance to check it out, that would be great. Its only two minutes and some change. I'm concerned about stuttering. So any feedback in that department would be so greatly appreciated.

Delivered as promised. Here is more adorable quail chicks! The video is titled "Hot Quail Chicks", because it has been a scorcher these days. Its been getting up around 110 deg. in the afternoons. About a week ago I had to drain the pond for a few days to let the algae and other scumish stuff dry out. I was worried about loosing fledglings to the man made drought, so I set up a couple of temporary ponds next to it, by simply using large garbage bags and gravel.

This is the last shot
I took of the Lily bud.
This one was shot
yesterday morning.

A lovely suprise. The first of many blossoms to come.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Daylily at Daybreak

Looks like my Daylily's are just aching to burst. The shot below was taken yesterday morning,and the shot to the right was taken early this morning. I cant wait to see the blossoms. The Monsoons started revving up their engines yesterday afternoon. We got a little bit of action yesterday. Saw my first thunderbolt of the season. My Parrot was barking back at the Thunder. We didn't see to much rain though in my neighborhood. I managed to get some great footage of a hummingbird coming in for a landing and a sip this morning. As soon as I get a few more chores done, I may go through some of the footage.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

An Awesome Crab Spider

I've decided to pull some shots from my other blog and post them up here. This is the new home for goodies filmed and photographed around the yard. I'm excited about all of the new critters I've filmed out by the pond in the last few weeks. Unfortunately my hard drive and all of its storage is just about used up. I'm going to head into town and shop for a new external hard drive next week. I get the jitters a little bit now and then about loosing data. So I'm feeling a tad more comfortable about having all of the bird footage filmed on digital tape. Now that I've started getting my feet wet with video editing, I've been pining for a nice high def camcorder.

Dragonfly's have been starting to buzz the yard. I haven't captured ant on tape yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. The Dragonfly posted here is from my illustration portfolio.

It will not be long now before Monsoon season comes barreling down on us. This last week the temps have been reaching up to nearly 110 deg. This dry desert could sure use a good rainfall her and there. This rainbow was shot from my yard some time late last summer.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Handful of Shots

I decided to dig back into some of the shots I posted on flicker. The one above is a blossom from a shrub in the front yard. Its called a "Bird of Paradise" (not to be confused with the tropical variety). I absolutely love the flowers on these.

This is a spectacular sunset from last summer.

Beep Beep! Guess who!? Yeah, this Roadrunner is shopping for some new high tech "Acme" supplies.

Do you think this stick bug has a clue he's being watched?

For some odd reason blogger is not resizing these shots very well. I need to edit their size to get rid if the jaggies. In the meantime you can just click on any of the images to see the original clearer version.

The Birth of the Refuge

This is how my backyard looked around the time I moved in. I wanted to add a bit more interest and perhaps a nice place for the wildlife to stop in for a visit. Palm trees are not really native to the Sonoran desert, so I gave them away.

I got a huge load of recycled concrete chunks from a neighbor who was putting in a new driveway. Then I dry stacked them to form a small retaining wall.

I back filled the wall and bought a nice recycled Agave from a friend who owns "Wild Desert Nursery". She ventures out into the desert to rescue native Cacti prior to developers breaking ground on new housing projects etc.

I wasn't really sure what to do with the gaping hole left behind after the Palm trees were hauled. I was torn between putting in a sunken BBQ pit, or a little waterfall and pond.

I believe the Quail that come to visit in the morning and sip upon the cool water, are grateful for my decision.
You can click on any of the images if you care to see the enlarged view. Thanks for visiting.

New Nest

I usually leave home and arrive through my garage. So I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted a nest in the beams of my front porch.

My Feathered Friends

My Feathered friends part 3

My Feathered Friends part 2

Here is a couple of new clips I put together while trying out Sony Vegas . I've grown so addicted to filming all of the visitors to my pond. Hope you love birds and bunnies! Since completing these videos, I've managed to film even more species. I taped a big Boat Tailed Grackle, and a Roadrunner (beep beep). So I guess a new video will be forthcoming soon.

"Post its" to the Rescue

Yesterday started off on a very sad note. One of the young Dove's playing in the backyard was startled by something. It took off in a flash directly towards my window, and hit real hard. The scene was not very pretty. This was the second casualty in the recent weeks since the sun has been reflecting more on the north side of the house. I was broken hearted. I started racking my brain trying to figure out a swift method to put an end to the carnage. I thought about stringing some crystal beads, but realized that would take way too long. This morning I had a bit of a brainstorm for a quick fix. I grabbed a pile of post its, and painted one side with dots of glittery nail polish. I slapped up a few here and there. It will work for now, but I need to experiment around with similar fixes that do not look so goofy.

I decided that rather than burying the little guy, I'd toss him over the rail. His luck ran out, yet I doubt that the Buzzard who had him for brunch was too bummed.

I've been slacking in the still image department, as I've been spending a good chunk of my spare time taking videos of the visitors to the pond. So I thought I'd add the shot above. I love when the Cardinals come to visit. Especially in the late afternoons when their red feathers become iridescent.

One of my tiny cacti decided to pop out some beautiful
magenta buds. I got this shot not too long after sunrise.
I decided to check back in an hour or two, to see how much
the blossoms had opened up.

Peek a boo! Come on Bee's! The clocks ticking. Get em while they are fresh.

Dang varmints! The Bunnies have been wreaking total havoc on my yard. Wouldn't it be lovely if all they ate was weeds? How do you get mad a cute little critter like that.
Well heads up silly rabbits, as soon as this heat wave subsides a tad, I'm spraying my new repellent. I doubt if you have much of a desire for garlic and chili.

Ooooh! Check out this guy coming in for a landing.

Here is a brilliant red bird. He must be some sort of finch. I'll have to get back with you on that.
Thanks for visiting!