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Spring Is In The Air

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Spring is in the air and our southwestern backyard is filled with color, love songs, nest building, and competition for the attention of the fairer sex. It is the one time of year when we’d rather be ashore than afloat.

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Recognizing that much of the Northern Hemisphere has rather different conditions, which at this stage in the weather cycle could be dispiriting, we thought a few photos of the yard might be welcome.

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Wildflower season is just beginning in the Sonora Desert. Each week will bring a new wave of blooms.

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 And with those blooms come hummingbirds, one of our favorite creatures.

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Morning and afternoon the air is filled with song. This young lady is is replying to a suitor a short distance away.

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Woodpeckers use the metal cap on the chimney as a private boom box, the better to advertise their prowess.

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The gray blue cloudless (boring) skies of winter are occasionally showing a bit of moisture.

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Which helps with the sunrises and sunsets.

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We are seeing the first lizards, now awakening from their slumber. This means snakes –  including those known as Arizona guard dogs (rattlers)  - are about. It is time to watch where we put our hands and feet when walking.

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Each cactus has its own style of flower. This is one of many different agave flowers.

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The grandfather cactus residing outside the bedroom window is in bloom

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As are the ocotillos, waving gracefully in the breeze.

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There is a shortage of prime high perches, so a bit of push and shove goes on. Woodpeckers triumph over cardinals – it is a rule.

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Through all of the song and chatter, our resident hummers keep working.

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After all, they’ll shortly have a family to feed.

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Photographer’s notes:

These photos were taken with a Canon 1DX body mounting the Canon 200-400 zoom (F4) with the 1.4X built in extender. They are all hand held, using available light, typically shooting at ISO 800, at max zoom (560 mm).

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (March 17, 2014)




6 Responses to “Spring Is In The Air”

  1. Kent Says:
    The second to last image of the humming bird feeding is fantastic.

    [Reply]

    Steve Dashew Reply:

    Thanks Kent: That hummer is almost full frame. The Canon 200-400 zoom has a very short minimum focusing distance which made this possible. The local humming bird population is used to the big lens and occasionally we get lucky. Lucky as in maybe one in 10,000 photos to catch one like this. The woodpecker is similarly difficult. They move so fast that you have to be in the right place at the right time. This woodpecker, close and in flight is a first for us.

    [Reply]


  2. Steve R, Says:
    Cardinal? Looks like it is more likely a Pyrrhuloxia.

    [Reply]

    Steve R, Reply:

    P.S. and the singing young lady is actually a gentleman strutting his stuff.

    [Reply]

    Steve R, Reply:

    O.K. – looks like they get called “Desert Cardinals” if I look beyond my field guides.

    [Reply]


  3. Shannon Says:
    Beautiful. I am in Albuquerque so we are a bit behind you in the spring weather but I am hearing & smelling the signs of spring going on outside my window. We will be heading out to Phoenix to see a specialist soon so hopefully I will be out enjoying the beauty of the desert myself before long. In the meantime, it’s great to see some beautiful photos. Watch those rattlers, they are quick when it gets warm enough.

    [Reply]



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