Author Archives: ramcquade

January 3, 2015 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Roadrunner

Roadrunner

Yuma’s West Wetlands Park

After finding some information on the possibility of finding some burrowing owls at the West Wetlands Park in Yuma, I arose before dawn this morning and headed into the city to check it out. The park is located just off I-8 and easy to get to. The area that supposedly houses some of these owls looks more like a construction dump site than a natural habitat for these birds. I am guessing that all the 8 inch PVC pipe sticking out of the rock rubble on the site is actually the intended homes for the burrowing owls … and they well could be in there, I just didn’t see any this particular morning. Not too sure how great a photo it would make if I did happen to catch some of these little guys hanging around the end of some white plastic pipe.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Since I was here, and the park had some other interesting areas to explore , I walked on down to the hummingbird gardens to see if there was any activity there.

Roadrunner warming up the engine

Warming up the engine

As I was walking in that direction, I saw a roadrunner come out from the bushes and hop up on a large boulder along the trail. He stood erect, hunched his shoulders forward and exposed the dark, downy feathers on his back to the rising sun … his way of warming up the engine on a very chilly morning, I guess. Intent on getting some relief from the cold, he allowed me to get fairly close for some closeups, something I haven’t been able to do before with one of these guys.

Roadrunner

Roadrunner

Female Costa's feeding

Female Costa’s feeding

When the bushes are in bloom, the hummingbird garden must be something to see, and no doubt would be buzzing with hummers.

Female Costa's feeding

Female Costa’s feeding

This morning there were only a few blossoms here and there, yet there were a fair number of Costa’s and Anna’s hummingbirds flitting about.

Unknown to be, warbler?

Unknown to be, warbler?

I also got some looks at little warblers or who knows what else hopping around in the trees overhead, but they were moving much too fast for me in the very dense foliage. I have a lot of difficulty attempting to identify this type of little bird so forgive me for not attempting to mis identify it. If you are in the area this is a park worth exploring, even if you don’t get to see the burrowing owls.

Coopers Hawk

Coopers Hawk

Since I was out and about, I hopped back on I-8 and headed east to Exit 30 in Wellton to check out a potential boondocking spot a neighbor in Quartzsite had mentioned to me. Heading south from Exit 30 about 4 or 5 miles, you will see several RV’s camped out on the east side of the road just before the road crosses over a water canal. Easy access, flat with lots of decent spots to park, I may head down here when I leave my present location later this week. This Cooper’s Hawk ( I think ) flew in front of me while I was checking out potential sites here.

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January 1, 2015 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Happy New Year!

Female Anna's hummingbird hovering

Female Anna’s hummingbird hovering

I have posted financial results for calendar year 2014 on the ” Full Time Expenses ” Page for anyone who may be interested. I am also updating my 2014 travels map and will post it as soon as I get it completed.

My blog posting/server problems continue so it may take some time to complete this task as well as post any new blog entries, so please bear with me.

 

December 29, 2014 Imperial Dam LTVA, California

Imperial Dam NWR painted desert from Smoke Tree Point

Imperial Dam NWR painted desert from Smoke Tree Point

A Trip to the Imperial Dam NWR

This afternoon I drove out to the Imperial Dam NWR and met Judy ( Travels with Emma ), and signed up for her Sunday AM tour around the refuge. I have followed Judy’s blog for quite a while and always thought I might run into her at Anahuac NWR in Texas where she has worked winters in the past and where I have spent a good deal of time myself, but it never happened.

I’m sure I made quite an impression on her when I asked if she was Emma, of course, that just happens to be the name of her dog, as in ” Travels with Emma “. Most people would probably have been able to deduce from that that it is Judy who travels with Emma, but some of us old folk aren’t quite as aware as we once were. Fortunately, she was kind enough to forgive my transgression and, oddly enough, she actually guessed who I was, as she follows this blog. Small world!

Imperial Dam NWR painted desert from Smoke Tree Point

Imperial Dam NWR painted desert from Smoke Tree Point

Imperial Dam NWR from Smoke Tree Point

Imperial Dam NWR from Smoke Tree Point

Imperial NWR Painted Desert From Smoke Tree Point

Imperial NWR Painted Desert From Smoke Tree Point

Drove out Red Gulch Mine Road on the refuge to the Smoke Tree overlook and got some shots of the painted desert, no wildlife though.

More Hummingbirds

I spent a few hours this morning sitting out in the sun with my photo gear waiting for hummingbirds to appear at the feeders.

Anna's hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbird

When we got talking about birds and photography, Judy happened to mention that she wondered if maybe I had misidentified a few of my hummingbird shots in the last few posts. Turns out she is one very observant lady, I believe she is correct. A few of the images I labeled as Costa’s hummingbirds were actually  ( male ) Anna’s hummingbirds.

Costa's hummingbird

Costa’s hummingbird

Costa’s have very distinct violet chin feathers and cap with long purple side feathers, whereas the Anna’s throat and cap are red. When I got this half way decent shot of the Costa’s today, I could really see the difference. I should be able to do better with the males, with the female hummingbirds, I will say up front that most times I am only guessing.

More Anna’s

Anna's hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbird

Here is where I got confused, note the purplish sheen to the throat, but also note the lack of extended chin feathers. The Anna’s throat and cap appear anywhere from red to purple to yellow to orange depending on the angle of the light hitting those iridescent feathers.

Anna's hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbird

Anna's hummingbird

Anna’s hummingbird

December 26, 2014 Imperial Dam LTVA California

Imperial Dam LTVA

Imperial Dam LTVA

Imperial Dam LTVA and Wild Burros

Imperial Dam LTVA

Imperial Dam LTVA

My campsite in the Northwest territories of the Imperial Dam LTVA ( long term visitor area ) is nowhere near as appealing as the ones I occupied north of here around Quartzsite and it is so very much more expensive! I had to pay $40 for a 14 night permit to stay here where I have been getting very used to paying nothing. Stiil, pretty hard to seriously complain about spending less than $3 a night to camp here, and for that small fee, trash dumpsters, water, and dump station are conveniently provided.

As always, click on any image for a larger, sharper version.

Imperial Dam LTVA

Imperial Dam LTVA

Imperial Dam LTVA

Imperial Dam LTVA

But as you can see, this place is best described as barren desert, not much in the way of foliage and I can see one lonely saguaro way off in the distance to the north. And although no one is uncomfortably close to my site, there are definitely a lot of folks staying here.

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird

I have my hummingbird feeders set up and I have spent just one very chilly morning sitting out there trying to get some shots of the Costa’s hummingbirds …..

Costa's Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird

Verdin

Verdin

and this single little verdin that comes in and commandeers the hummingbird feeder several times a day, defending it from the hummers I am trying to attract. His beak obviously doesn’t fit into the hole provided for the hummingbirds to feed, so this tiny guy tilts his head and somehow laps up all the nectar that spills or leaks out around the feeder port and collects in the bottom of the ” flower “.

 Wild Burros

Wild Burro Road Block

Wild Burro Road Block

I drove about 7 1/2 miles out the Ferguson Lake Road from my campsite to the Fishing and Hunting Clubhouse on the shore of the lake today. This is a nice ride through the desert on a pretty good dirt road except for the final mile when you get close to the lake and encounter several rather hairy 20% ( or more ) short ups and downs, though I was able to navigate them with the Prius.

On this short trip I made my first encounter with these desert dwellers, wild burros, descendants of miners’ escaped or abandoned pack animals many years ago, or so I have read.

Wild Burros

Wild Burros

I wonder who trims the bangs on junior ?

Wild Burro Family

Wild Burro Family

Wild Burros

Wild Burros

These last two were seen pretty much right in the area where everybody is camped and I since have seen burros walking through the camping area on a couple of occasions, so I’m not sure just how “wild” they really are.

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